Building Your HRIS Requirements

Discover the essential steps in building your HRIS requirements. From defining your organizational needs to selecting the right HRIS software, our comprehensive guide will help you streamline your human resources processes efficiently

Brett Ungashick
OutSail HRIS Advisor
July 4, 2023
user comparing HRIS systems

Before you start your HRIS evaluations and open yourself up to time-consuming sales calls and demos, it is important to have a clear idea of what you are looking for out of an HRIS.

Building out your functional requirements can be challenging, especially for those who do not have an HRIS or are operating on legacy platforms, and therefore do not know what to expect in the marketplace.

OutSail's free services help teams build out their requirements within minutes, and then uses that data to show buyers which vendors are the best match. If you're kicking off this process, it may be worth reaching out: Contact OutSail

If you prefer to build your requirements yourself, this article will provide a step-by-step guide to building an effective requirements document:

1.) Start High-Level

In general, we recommend that buyers start their requirements gathering process with the big picture in mind. Talk to your teammates and stakeholders and get an understanding of what buying priorities are most important to them.

A few of those high-level criteria could include: user experience, reporting capabilities, cost of ownership, product roadmap, vendor's track record and viability, integration capabilities, customer support model and more.

2.) Determine Scope

Once a team is clear on their high-level needs, the next step in the process is to determine which modules will be in scope for the purchase.

The typical modules available in an HRIS include: Payroll, HRIS/Employee Records, Benefits Admin, Onboarding, Time & Attendance, Applicant Tracking System (ATS), Performance, Comp & Succession and Learning

3.) Select Must-Have's and Nice-to-Have's

Now that you know what modules are included, go through each category and determine what functionality you will need in each area. The list below should help you get started:

  • Employee can check pay stubs
  • Direct deposit capabilities
  • Automated tax calculations  for federal, state and, local
  • Ability to calculate lived-in versus worked-in tax rates
  • Ability to work on pay runs  prior to payroll closing
  • Ability to make past-dated pay changes without support
  • Ability to make pay changes  mid-period and have changes pro-rated
  • Wage processing - voluntary, involuntary, garnishment & levy
  • FMLA tracking
  • Ability to pay international employees
  • Integration with general ledger
  • Automatic updates from HRIS/Benefits for data changes
  • Simple method for off cycle  pay
  • Expense management linked to payroll
HRIS/Employee Records
  • Central record for  personal and demographic history
  • Unlimited custom fields  with data validation
  • Org chart functionality
  • Document and file  repository
  • Ability to track federal, state and local requirements in system
  • E-Signature functionality
  • Allows for various user types (payroll, recruiting, admin,  manager, employee)
  • Customizable workflows and  approvals
  • Offers a mobile app for employee self-service
Benefits Admin
  • Automatic feeds to/from  carriers
  • Two-way integration with  payroll for deductions
  • Two-way integration with HRIS to update life events and personal  information
  • Automatic enrollment  notifications and reminders
  • Total compensation statement
  • Employee portal for  benefits, wellness, tools, resources, etc., ACA reporting
  • Support for multiple benefit plans/carriers
  • Includes COBRA  administration
  • Automatically converts  applicant ATS data into new hire HRIS data
  • Ability to trigger new hire  paperwork to employee at various stages of onboarding
  • Ability to virtually "meet the team", learn about  company culture/values, watch training videos
  • All new hire paperwork and  demographic stored in the HRIS
  • Ability to notify various stakeholders (IT, HR, new manager and  facilities) at different stages of onboarding
  • Automatic assignment of  unique employee numbers
  • Interfaces with I-9 eVerify
  • Asset tracking (computer,  badge, etc.)
  • Onboarding can be done fully remote
Time & Attendance
  • Time data is  automatically fed to payroll / benefits in real time
  • Supports an unlimited set  of PTO types
  • Supports leave management of all types (FMLA, state regulated,  ADA, personal, etc)
  • Ability to support varying  pay rules by location and function
  • Multi-level approval workflows for managers
  • Timesheet functionality for  hourly workers
  • Mobile app for requesting and approving time requests
  • Biometric clock-in  capabilities
  • Geo-fencing capabilities
  • Contactless clock-in  capabilities
  • Designate FMLA events
  • Ability to handle job  costing
  • Workflow for requisition  approval,
  • Pushes jobs out to 3rd  party job boards
  • Customizable candidate stages for different job postings
  • Branded career page where  new jobs are automatically posted
  • Searchable candidate database for managers and HR
  • Predictive/AI candidate  matching
  • Ability to pull candidate data from LinkedIn
  • Quick apply from  LinkedIn/Other career sites
  • Hiring team can collaborate via chat and commenting  functionality
  • Customizable scorecard tool  to support standardized hiring decisions
  • Job description database
  • Automatic feeds to vendors  (background check, drug screen, etc)
  • Electronic offer package
  • Ability to support employee  referrals
  • Ability to support external recruiter submitted candidates
  • Support for in-person /  on-campus events
Performance, Comp & Succession
  • Performance review  metrics and questions can be customized by department and role
  • Ability to support 360  reviews between managers and employees
  • Supports custom goals and tracking towards those goals
  • Goals can be cascaded from  the executive level down
  • Functionality built to support 1 on 1's and ongoing coaching
  • History of 1 on 1s, goal  progress and previous reviews is available when filling out reviews
  • Ability to create development plans
  • Ability to identify high  potential employees
  • Approval workflows for comp decisions
  • Industry benchmarking for  compensation
  • Total compensation analysis
  • Automatic reminders for  renewals, expiring certifications, annual trainings
  • Trainings identified in  performance automatically assigned
  • Automatic registration for training
  • Ability to support training  in person and online
  • Ability to take training on mobile devices
  • Includes a library of  training content
  • Gamification within courses
  • Micro-learning courses
  • Easy method for building multi-media courses
  • Ability to test knowledge  and retention after course completion
  • Ability to convert existing materials and presentations into new  courses
  • Reporting of training and  metrics
  • Data from all modules can  be accessible in one place
  • Library of pre-built  standard reports
  • Ability to report on historical data
  • Audit trail reporting
  • Ability to generate compliance reports (EEO, OFCCP, ACA, FMLA)
  • Graphic reporting, in  addition to xls, csv, etc
  • Simple method for building dashboards
  • Ability to automatically  schedule/send reports to stakeholders
  • Data can be compared against benchmarks or peers
  • Multi-factor user authentication
  • Support for SAML, SSO and  other authentication mechanisms
  • GDPR compliant
  • ISO and SOC data security  compliance certifications
  • Data encryption at rest and in transit
  • Complete audit trail of  user authentication, access and actions
Why is it important to understand executive priorities when advocating for HR tech investments?

Understanding executive priorities allows HR professionals to tailor their communication to align with overarching organizational goals. By emphasizing how HR tech contributes to company growth, profitability, and strategic positioning, professionals can gain executive support more effectively.

What are some effective communication strategies for conveying the value of HR tech to non-technical stakeholders?

Simplifying complex technological concepts, using relatable examples, and active listening are essential communication strategies. By presenting information in a clear and concise manner and addressing executive concerns thoughtfully, HR professionals can effectively communicate the benefits of HR tech.

How can HR professionals showcase the value and return on investment (ROI) of HR tech to executives?

HR professionals can showcase the value of HR tech by focusing on quantifiable outcomes and key performance indicators (KPIs) that resonate with executive priorities. Providing concrete evidence, such as numerical data and success stories, demonstrates the impact of HR tech on the organization's bottom line.

What strategies can HR professionals employ to build long-term relationships with executives?

Building long-term relationships with executives requires regular communication, transparency, and collaboration. HR professionals should provide updates on HR tech implementations, seek feedback, and organize educational sessions to keep executives informed and engaged.

How can HR professionals navigate challenges and obstacles when advocating for HR tech investments?

HR professionals can navigate challenges by conducting thorough research, addressing executive concerns directly, and remaining adaptable to feedback. By demonstrating a genuine interest in executive priorities and showcasing the practical benefits of HR tech, professionals can overcome obstacles and secure executive buy-in.

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Brett Ungashick
OutSail HRIS Advisor
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Meet the Author

Brett Ungashick
OutSail HRIS Advisor
Brett Ungashick, the friendly face behind OutSail, started his career at LinkedIn, selling HR software. This experience sparked an idea, leading him to create OutSail in 2018. Based in Denver, OutSail simplifies the HR software selection process, and Brett's hands-on approach has already helped over 1,000 companies, including SalesLoft, Hudl and DoorDash. He's a go-to guy for all things HR Tech, supporting companies in every industry and across 20+ countries. When he's not demystifying HR tech, you'll find Brett enjoying a round of golf or skiing down Colorado's slopes, always happy to chat about work or play.

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