April 14, 2023

HRIS Migration Process: Your 2024 Implementation Checklist

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Tags: HR

Key takeaways:

  • HR teams often play an active role in migrating HR data into a new HRIS system, even if IT handles most of the hands-on work.
  • Following an HR data migration checklist will make the process go smoother and ensure that no essential data is left behind in the transfer.
  • Those involved in HR data migration need to consider storage and privacy regulations in the migration process.

Migrating your human resource information system (HRIS) is a project that you’ll encounter at some point in your HR career, probably more than once. While this task may seem daunting, following an HR software data migration checklist can make the entire process easier for everyone involved. 

The role of HR in HRIS data migration

The HR team plays a significant role in the HRIS migration process, even if much of the hands-on work will be handled by the IT department or a third-party team. For one, the HR team should be one of the main decision-makers when choosing what platform they will be migrating to. Depending on the scenario, HR may be responsible for making a case as to why the team needs to upgrade to a better platform and why the hassle of a migration is worth it.

The HR team also handles much of the initial data prep and determines what information will be migrated over, even if they don’t actually do the data transfer themselves. The IT team might also consult with the HR team to determine what data set to use for the test migration and to double-check that all information is backed up, so no data gets lost.

Read more: HRIS vs HRMS vs HCM: What Is the Difference?

HR data migration checklist

These guidelines can be followed for any type of HR software, including a payroll migration checklist, as well as more general HR core software:

  1. Select your new platform
  2. Set your migration budget
  3. Explore data migration tools
  4. Decide on a transfer method
  5. Create a migration plan and assign roles
  6. Prepare your HR data
  7. Do a test migration
  8. Finish migrating all data

1. Select your new platform

Before proceeding with the HRIS migration, you need to select your new HR software platform. Each software should provide its own documentation and tools to assist with the data migration process. Consult these resources before starting, so you will be aware of any challenges in the transfer process that you need to account for.

Read more: The 5 Main Types of Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS)

2. Set your migration budget

The data migration process can range from totally free to quite expensive, depending on how much data you are transferring and which HR software platforms are involved. Some platforms require you to pay for HR software implementation support as part of the contract, while others simply offer it as an option. When preparing to switch to a new platform, be sure to budget for the migration itself on top of the other software costs.

3. Explore data migration tools

Many HR platforms offer built-in tools that make transferring your data as seamless as possible, so see if that’s an option first. You can also seek out a third-party tool such as Cloudsfer, AWS Database Migration Service, Azure Migrate, or Google Cloud Migration Services if you need more resources to assist with the transfer. Your IT team can help you figure out what data migration tools will be most helpful for your specific scenario.

4. Decide on a transfer method

You have multiple options available when it comes to data transfer methods, including public internet, a private/dedicated network, and a physical transfer. Each of these options offers different advantages and disadvantages when it comes to cost, speed, security, and time. Your IT department or third-party migration team can help you choose the best method that meets your HRIS migration needs while still remaining within budget.

5. Create a migration plan and assign roles

Once you have all these decisions made, it’s time to create an HRIS migration plan and assign roles. Various tasks will likely be split between the HR team, IT team, and third-party migration staff if you are using outside support. Make sure that each task is clearly assigned to someone and has a deadline associated with it. This ensures your teams don’t forget tasks while collaborating throughout the migration process.

6. Prepare your HR data

Now you are finally ready to prepare the HR data for migration. First, you need to determine what data to transfer and what information is outdated or unnecessary. Then prepare the data you want to transfer by copying and cleaning it. Ensure the data source is formatted properly to be compatible with the new system and that all the data will map correctly.

7. Do a test migration

Once you’re ready to start the HRIS migration process, don’t migrate all your data at once. Instead, choose a small amount of data to transfer as a test, and double-check everything once the test transfer is complete. If there are any errors, your IT team will troubleshoot them and keep testing until they can complete the migration process without issues.

8. Finish migrating all data

Once you have confirmed that your data migration process is error-free, your IT team or your third-party support moves the remaining data over. Once the HRIS migration process is complete, they should check everything again for errors before moving on to the next phase of implementation.

Best practices for HR data migrations

As you embark on your data migration journey, keep in mind some key best practices surrounding storage, privacy, and task delegation.


First of all, you must abide by all federal laws for employee recordkeeping when deciding what files to migrate. Most files need to be kept between one and seven years depending on the type. For instance, background checks, credit reports, and financial records must be kept for one year and securely stored and disposed of, while payroll records, W-4s, and time cards should be kept between four and seven years.

This means that even if an employee has not worked for your company in several years, you might still need to transfer over some of their old personnel records to ensure compliance with federal laws. Keep the old system for at least a year in case some critical data doesn’t make the migration and your team needs to retrieve it.


You should also follow all employee privacy laws and best practices when transferring HR data from one platform to another. In order to ensure that the HRIS migration process is compliant, HR staff should  oversee data preparation and transfer to IT or the third-party migration team. The IT team doesn’t necessarily have the knowledge or skills to ensure compliance with laws or best practices, so HR team members should be an active part of the process.

Task delegation

Clearly delineate HR’s and IT’s jobs to avoid role confusion and stay in open communication with each other throughout the process. To reduce the chance of error, stick with the data migration plan and, even if things are going smoothly, don’t skip steps.

Choosing a new HRIS system for migration

While the HR data migration process isn’t without its complexities, it’s worth implementing or upgrading to a new HRIS solution that will suit your company’s needs now and in the future. 

Consider the most important HR software features you might need to narrow down your list of options, then create a strategic HRIS migration project plan to ensure your team can start using the right tools as quickly as possible. In addition, don’t forget to consider best practices around proper data storage and privacy to ensure compliant HR data migration. 

Looking for your next HR software platform? Check out our HR Software Guide to discover our top suggestions.

1 GoCo

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Elevate your HR with a modern, easy-to-use HRIS designed for small businesses. GoCo is a secure, compliant hub for sending, digitally signing, and organizing your sensitive HR documents and data. Manage records, performance, time off, onboarding, benefits, and more – all in one place. With the best support in the industry, every GoCo customer is assigned a dedicated Customer Success Team that is readily available to provide guidance and ensure a smooth and reliable HRIS experience.

Learn more about GoCo

2 Paycor

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Paycor’s HR software modernizes every aspect of people management, which saves leaders time and gives them the powerful analytics they need to build winning teams. Paycor provides a full suite of HCM solutions with a single source of truth for employee data, so users never have to switch platforms, log-in to multiple systems, re-key data or open multiple spreadsheets. Everyday processes become simplified, allowing organizations to focus on their most important work.

Learn more about Paycor

3 Bob

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Meet Bob, the modern HR platform for modern business. With Bob, HR teams get everything they need to operate efficiently and engage employees in one HRIS. Use automation and workflows to save hours on HR admin time. Connect employees from anywhere with a social media-like homepage that drives culture with communications, kudos, and recognition. Centralize all people data in one place for a holistic view. Share accurate reports for stronger insights and better decision-making.

Learn more about Bob

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