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Tips on evaluating Human Resources Technology

Congratulations, you have your company’s support both in terms of resources and financial backing to go ahead and purchase a shiny new HR system.  You know that it is going to make your processes and procedures modern, digital, and overall, so much better!  Now it’s time for the fun part 😊!

By now you would have participated in demos from various vendors.  You may have already begun to eliminate software choices that have not met your initial expectations.  Perhaps the price point was completely out of line with your budget or in comparison to other companies’ product and service offerings.  So how do you objectively examine these options you have in front of you?  An HR Technology implementation is a big deal and you want to make sure you take all the steps required to avoid making a decision that you could regret for a very long time!  

Whether you are implementing a piece of technology that covers one or two processes such as recruiting or performance management, or a full-scale Human Capital Management system, there is a lot that you need to consider.  As you start the selection process, you will need to take these factors into account:

  • What are the reporting requirements?  To answer this, you need to be able to determine a few things:
    • Does the leadership want to have access to certain information?
    • Is data going to be used to make significant business decisions? From time / cost to hire and turnover rates to diversity and skills planning, there are endless areas that can be reported on that can be used to make data-driven business decisions. 
  • Ensure these are crystal clear so that you can ensure the capabilities exist in the systems you are reviewing.  Customization is usually an option; however, these can be pricey and complex depending on the specific requirements.
  • Related to the reporting is the science behind the fields in the system.  There are a lot of new HR systems being introduced these days in the market.  A lot of these are free or very low-cost in comparison to most HR Technology solutions.  In general, these come with subscriptions to other services such as HR Consulting, Benefits Administration, Compliance training, etc.  When reviewing these systems, if you notice a lot of freeform fields or basic customizable text fields, then this could be a signal that there will not be a lot of functionality or smart capabilities in the system.  It may be designed as a “data-dumping” system to complete perhaps one or two basic HR tasks.  These types of systems may be great for low-budget solutions, but do not expect to have the full functionality of an HCM provided by reputable vendor.
  • Who will host the system?  Will the vendor host the data or will it be stored on internal servers?
    • If your organization wishes to host the data internally, then it is imperative that there are sufficient IT resources and the necessary infrastructure to host the technology on-site.  
    • If the vendor is hosting the data, you need to ensure that your company knows where the servers and back-up servers are stored.  Some companies have specific requirements due to privacy.  There are privacy laws in Canada designed to protect individuals and you need to ensure legal requirements are met.  Here is a link to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner in Canada’s website where you can review the related legislative requirements:
  • Ease of use is a huge determination on how a technological implementation will progress and how high the adoption rates will be.  Being able to not only see how the administrative side to the system works but also having other users such as employees and managers test how their “self-serve” experience will be is a major indicator if the product is a good fit for the company on a whole. 
  • Time and complexity to implement is also a major factor to consider.  Depending on if the organization already has other software in place, transferring data and ensuring business continuity during the process need to be evaluated carefully.  Sometimes a company that has no software to start off with has an easier time to implement new solutions as there is only basic employee data uploads required and no need to keep two systems going at the same time (parallel testing).
  • If the system has multiple components such as recruitment, time-off management, performance management, etc., you should consider if a phased approach is possible.  This would allow each module to be implemented completely and properly before moving on to the next phase.   
  • The last area to review is Security.  Roles and permissions are very important, especially if your goal is to enable and empower leaders to manage their staff effectively and efficiently.  You will need to be able to grant supervisors, managers, etc. with the appropriate access (data & functions), and that the system can handle the kind of sercurity profiles required in your organization.
  • Now, does it all feel right? If you have done all of your homework, ensured that stakeholders are all in agreement on the solution to select, then you are ready!   Time to sign contracts, establish timelines and develop an implementation plan.

Now, I am sure that you have a lot to process but I hope that this has given you a good in-depth look at how you can evaluate vendors.  Making sure you take the time to compare the organizational requirements with the capabilities of each system will ensure that you select the best solution.

Good luck on your journey! 

Culture Up HR Solutions is a full-service HR partner.  If you are looking at starting an HR tech implementation and need a resource either to guide the process or be that extra support during your project, contact Culture Up HR Solutions today to see how your implementation can be a great success!

Originally posted in March 2021!

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