Your company’s HR department is responsible for many important tasks, so you can imagine that migrating to a new HRIS has to be particularly stressful for the department that will end up using the new system the most.
Implementing a new HRIS is an additional process to the normal day-to-day activities of most companies, and it can add a good bit of additional work to people’s to-do lists. This is why many companies of all different sizes hire an HRIS consultant during this change.
An HRIS consultant is essentially an HR expert that a company hires as an independent contractor to make everyone’s lives easier while onboarding a new HRIS. While companies usually hire them to assist with implementing a new system, HRIS consultants can also help a company find the right software solution for their needs, secure that solution by talking to vendors, educating employees on how to use the new system, and more.
But with such a broad offering of services available that could help in a number of situations, many companies remain unsure of the best time to hire an HRIS consultant or don’t realize the value of doing so.
To find out when and why you should look into hiring an HRIS consultant, I talked to three experienced HRIS consultants, Peter Warman of HR Tech Insights, LLC, Dave Driscoll of Navigate, and Neil Morgan of MorganHR, Inc. I edited their following responses for length and clarity.
HRIS consultants are helpful when implementing a new HRIS solution, but they’re also great for helping you get the most out of your current HRIS.
An HRIS consultant can be useful at various times. The consultant can help a client make better use of its existing HR technology because he or she knows best practices through working with other employers who are facing similar issues with the same or similar HRIS. The consultant may also have other useful insights into HR administration or employment laws.
An HRIS consultant can be extremely resourceful in assessing an organization’s current state environment (people, processes, data, and technology) and helping the company to define its vision for how a new HRIS technology will serve to drive transformation, efficiency gains, and ROI across their organization.
An HRIS consultant, acting as an independent advisor (preferably agnostic to technology), can support a company through its technology selection via RFP coordination, facilitation of vendor demonstrations, and ensure that the decision process aligns with the organization’s original vision for the future state.
While the best time to hire an HRIS consultant is with the implementation of a new HRIS, there are many other times when hiring an HRIS consultant makes sense. Many modern HRIS applications can be customized to fit your business needs. Implementing the first few customizations shoulder-to-shoulder with an experienced HRIS consultant helps to not only implement solid customization but also to learn the skills to further customize the application using in-house resources.
Hiring an HRIS consultant will actually save you money in the long run, both by keeping implementation on schedule and on budget and by making you aware of issues that could cost you later.
A consultant guiding a client to the right HRIS decision will save employees’ and HR’s time. The client will also avoid potentially costly problems, such as those resulting from non-compliance. And, the consultant can support negotiations with vendors so the client gets terms that are as favorable as possible.
In scenarios where organizations run lean functional teams and/or lack the resources or institutional knowledge, an HRIS consultant will ensure the implementation is managed according to scope, timeline, and budget A deployment arriving on time and on budget aside, an HRIS consultant whose focus includes organizational transformation and change management can ensure that end-users at every level are prepared to align to the “new way of doing things” and speed up the rate of adoption, thus serving to support ROI realization.
The initial implementation of a new HRIS is a one-and-done exercise that often requires deep product and process knowledge gained through experience over many, many HRIS implementations. This is where an experienced HRIS consultant is most valuable.
HRIS consultants don’t exist to replace your current HR staff. Rather, they serve to augment HR’s capabilities and supplement their work with specialized expertise.
HR professionals may not have the expertise or capacity to assess their company’s HRIS needs, build a business case, evaluate potential vendors, make decisions, or oversee an implementation. HRIS consultants serve to drive projects that don’t fit anyone’s job description — working across silos to assess current practices, develop requirements, evaluate vendors, obtain consensus, and many other tasks necessary for a successful implementation. Also, a consultant can provide a valuable outside perspective, revisit approaches that may be outdated, and use expertise and dedicated attention to help ensure good results.
An HRIS implementation is a significant undertaking, and HR staff still have their “day jobs.” An HRIS consultant can effectively transition an HR team through critical implementation milestones while shouldering project management, change management, business readiness, and/or other implementation-critical activities that would otherwise fall to the internal HR team. This reduces the risk of “functional lead strain” (overwhelmed by implementation-specific and daily responsibilities), project delays, and cost overages.
The value proposition around HRIS consultants typically involves skills and time. They bring skills honed across dozens of HRIS implementations to the table. Additionally, HRIS consultants can be a temporary extension to your team when you don’t have enough bandwidth to deliver based on the project timelines.
The best way to engage HRIS consultants is to ensure that your team is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with them throughout the implementation. There is so much knowledge and experience to be gained from these consultants, and the best way to learn from them is to work right alongside them. A knowledge transfer meeting at the end of a project captures ten percent at best of the skills and knowledge that were used to deliver a technical consulting engagement.
An HRIS consultant can help you make a decision on a software solution, but you can make life easier for both parties by narrowing your search down to a few options first.
If you’re in the market for a new HRIS solution, we can help you find the best solution for your business. To learn more about HR software, visit our Product Selection Tool to compare different HRIS solutions by industry, price, and features.
If you’re in a hurry, give us a call at 877.702.2082 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with one of our unbiased Technology Advisors for a free, five-minute consultation and a shortlist of the best vendor options for you.
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