5 Steps For Selecting The Best HRIS System

Discover the perfect HRIS system for your business with our comprehensive guide. Follow these 5 essential steps to ensure you choose the best Human Resource Information System tailored to your needs

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

Selecting a new HRIS is a process that most HR professionals don't go through very often.

Some of this can be explained by the fact that things are working well, and you shouldn't fix what isn't broken.

But, on the other hand, quite a few teams don't go through the selection process because it's overwhelming:

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Building a requirements list can be monotonous and time-consuming. Cultivating a shortlist opens Pandora's box of follow-up sales emails. Comparing vendors can be challenging when all claim to be "the best option on the market". Getting executive sign-off can require threading a tight needle of want, need and vision.

Despite all these challenges, we know from research that the right HRIS is a huge benefit to organizations and employees

Having helped hundreds of teams with their buying processes, here are a few of the practices OutSail uses to make the process less overwhelming, more efficient and more effective.

1.) Start High-Level.

It's really easy to get bogged down in specifics and functionality, but save the details for the later part of your evaluation.

In the early stages, it's important to zoom out. Take some time to imagine what a better operational experience would look like.

Here are some of the questions you'll want to think about: "Where is the business heading?", "What processes are holding us back?" "What are our buying priorities - design? automation? support? integrations?"

2.) Build Out Your Requirements.

Once you have a sense of your high-level priorities, it's time to translate those priorities into actual functionality.

The first step of the process is to think about which modules you want included. Here are the broad categories we consider: Payroll, HRIS, Onboarding, Benefits Admin, Time & Attendance, Performance, Succession, ATS and Learning

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Once you have your high-level categories established, it's time to start building out your required functionality. Our team has developed a simple Requirements Builder tool that can help teams do this in 3-5 minutes.

3.) Curate A Shortlist.

Now that you have a sense of what your winning solution looks like, it's time to head into the marketplace and see who stacks up.

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You won't be able to pick winners just by their websites, but you can start to eliminate vendors based on a few things:

  1. Missing functionality. Go to a vendor's website and see if they make all of the modules you need.
  2. Size match. Ask about a vendor's target market and look at their showcase customers. Do they work with companies your size and in your industry?
  3. Reviews. Online reviews can be as misleading as they are helpful. But make sure your finalists have at least a few dozen reviews with some positive takeaways.

Keep in mind that OutSail will provide a vendor shortlist report with pricing and pros/cons at absolutely no cost to your team. Get your vendor recommendations for free

Blog: 10 Best HRIS Systems for Mid-Sized Companies

4.) Start With Three Finalists.

Don't overwhelm yourself at the start. Begin with three vendors that look to have the highest probability of success. If you don't like one, you can always add more later.

Also, make sure your standardizing the review process and asking questions that are important to you. You don't want a vendor to go on and on about a shiny new feature that distracts from your real needs.

We've found that HR team who come into evaluations with scorecards can increase their chances of finding a winning solution. A good scorecard, like the one we built below, can help keep track of functionality, make sure you ask the right questions and automatically weigh certain priorities more than others.

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5.) Check Reviews and References.

Once you're moving close to a decision, it's always a good idea to ask your vendor of choice for references. Specify that you want to speak with customers who are of a similar size and industry and have been live on the system for over a year.

In addition to getting references through your vendor, you'll also want to do some research on your own too. Look to online review sites, such as G2Crowd or Capterra, where you can narrow reviews down by industry and size.

Also, be sure to dig around in your network and social circles to see what peers have to say!

Why is selecting the right HRIS system important for businesses?

Choosing the right HRIS system can significantly improve operational efficiency and enhance the employee experience. It streamlines HR processes, improves data management, and enables better decision-making.

What are the challenges businesses face when selecting an HRIS system?

Building a requirements list, navigating vendor options, and obtaining executive buy-in can be challenging. Additionally, comparing vendors and deciphering marketing claims adds complexity to the selection process.

What are some key steps to follow when selecting an HRIS system?

Start with a high-level assessment of business priorities and operational needs. Then, build out specific requirements and curate a shortlist of potential vendors. Evaluate finalists based on functionality, size match, and reviews before making a decision.

How can businesses ensure they make the right decision when selecting an HRIS system?

Utilize tools like scorecards to standardize the review process and prioritize essential features. Request references from vendors and conduct independent research through online review sites and professional networks to gather insights from peers.

What resources are available to help businesses select the best HRIS system?

OutSail offers a free vendor shortlist report with pricing and pros/cons to assist businesses in their selection process. Additionally, online review sites like G2Crowd and Capterra provide valuable feedback from users in similar industries and company sizes.

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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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