Essential Questions to Unmask the HRIS Implementation Process

Discover the key to successful HRIS implementation: careful planning and strategic questions. Understand the intricacies of integrating a Human Resource Information System with existing workflows and responsibilities. Learn how to evaluate your team's implementation capabilities and if it is worthwhile to hire 3rd party support via OutSail

Brett Ungashick
OutSail HRIS Advisor
May 13, 2024
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Implementing a Human Resource Information System (HRIS) is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution for its success. Rushing into it without a deep understanding of its intricacies can lead to sub-optimal utilization, wasted resources, and frustration among stakeholders. The implementation phase lays the foundation for how well the HRIS will serve the company's needs, so it's crucial to approach it with strategic planning and thorough follow-up.

Successful HRIS implementation requires transparency, aligning expectations with system capabilities and organizational objectives. Discuss potential challenges and adaptability early on to foster a culture of openness and preparedness for a smoother transition.

Before implementing an HRIS, organizations should identify the most important questions to ask. This includes considering different implementation strategies, such as "lift-and-shift," parallel operation, or phased rollout, and understanding how the HRIS could impact existing workflows and employee responsibilities. Addressing these concerns proactively will help customize the implementation approach to fit the unique fabric of the business.

The Importance of Understanding HRIS Implementation

The HRIS implementation process lays the foundational steps for how a new system integrates and operates within an organization, requiring a thorough understanding to ensure long-term success.

Why Implementation Matters

The effectiveness of HRIS technology implementation pivots on meticulous planning and execution. A smooth implementation is vital as it affects all subsequent HR functions and the ability to harness technology for strategic decision-making. Poorly implemented HRIS can lead to data integrity issues, disrupted workflows, and could negate the benefits that the system was intended to provide.

Common Oversights in Sales Pitches

During the HRIS sales process, sales representatives often focus on the features and benefits of the system but might not fully address the complexities of implementation. Elements such as the time commitment necessary for a successful rollout, potential for business disruption, and the scope of training required for end-users can be downplayed, which might lead to unrealistic expectations for the organization.

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Critical Questions to Ask During the Sales Process

When embarking on a new HRIS implementation, ask pointed questions to unveil essential details that will determine the smooth execution and success of your project. Clear understanding at the outset can prevent costly misunderstandings later on.

Scope of Responsibilities

"What are our responsibilities during implementation versus what are yours?" It is essential to clarify the division of roles between the company and the HRIS vendor. Explicitly defined responsibilities ensure accountability and prevent any overlap or gaps in the implementation process.

Project Management Structure

"Do we have a dedicated project manager, or will we interact with a series of specialists?" A dedicated project manager typically means more consistent communication and a single point of accountability, which can greatly influence the HRIS project management's efficiency and cohesiveness.

Training and Support

"What level of training and ongoing support is available to us?" Continuous HRIS training support is vital in achieving high user adoption rates and benefiting from the HRIS system's features. The quality and availability of training can significantly affect how well the system is utilized post-implementation.

Timeline and Milestones

"What is the expected timeline for implementation, and what are the key milestones?" Buyers should be aware of the software implementation timeline to align their internal resources and prepare for upcoming milestones, ensuring a smooth transition and minimizing disruptions.

Handling Data Migration

"How will our existing data be transferred, and what security measures are in place?" The strategy and security of HRIS data migration are crucial, as data integrity and protection are core to the trustworthy operation of HR systems.

Costs and Hidden Fees

"Are there any additional costs associated with implementation that are not included in the initial quote?" Thoroughly investigating potential costs and unexpected fees prevents budget overruns and ensures financial planning is on target for the new system's successful deployment.

Evaluating Responses and Red Flags

When assessing vendors for HRIS implementation, it is critical to gauge their responses meticulously. The quality of the answers you receive can determine the smoothness of the software implementation process.

What to Look for in Answers

In vendor responses, one should expect detailed explanations that demonstrate an understanding of one's specific organizational needs. Responses should align with the operational objectives and offer a clear roadmap of how the HRIS will optimize HR functions. Satisfactory answers should also:

  • Clearly articulate the implementation timeline and delineate each phase.
  • Offer a comprehensive training plan for staff to ensure full utilization of the new system.
  • Detail the support and maintenance services available post-implementation.
  • Address data security and compliance with regulations.

Red Flags to Watch Out For

Certain responses may wave a red flag, signaling potential problems ahead. Examples include:

  • Vagueness in explaining the implementation process or timeline.
  • Over-promising, such as assuring an unrealistically quick implementation without considering the nuances of your organization.
  • Lack of clarity on post-implementation support.
  • Ignoring questions about data migration challenges and strategies.

By being diligent in evaluating answers and watchful of red flags, organizations can anticipate and mitigate obstacles during the HRIS implementation.


Successful HRIS implementation requires a thorough investigation of the process. Companies should ask the right questions about features, scalability, user-friendliness, and support mechanisms to ensure that the chosen system aligns with strategic business objectives.

Seeking expert guidance from professionals like OutSail can streamline the selection process. A well-chosen HRIS can provide long-term benefits to an organization's human resources capabilities.

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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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