What to Expect from the HRIS Buying Process

Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) are comprehensive solutions that simplify a suite of HR functions and have a major impact on business operations. They are powerful tools companies use to manage everything from payroll to performance goal setting and tracking, so adopting a new HRIS should be approached with caution and an action plan.

In this post, we’ll provide some advice regarding what kind of timeline to expect from switching to a new HRIS and the steps you should take along the way to ensure success with your transition.

Implementing a new HRIS can take anywhere from six to eight weeks or longer from start to finish. We break this process down into four main steps:

  1. Evaluate (1-2 weeks)
  2. Implement (3-5 weeks)
  3. Launch (1 week)
  4. Review (a few days)

Evaluate (1-2 weeks)

Perhaps one of the most important steps of implementing a new HRIS is evaluating your business’ HR software needs. Consider these questions:

  • Are you looking for a payroll service, a way to schedule employees, or a comprehensive HR solution?
  • Do you want a software that can integrate with your accounting software or your project management software?
  • How many people are in your company?
  • What is your budget?

With these considerations in mind, here are the steps we recommend taking to help guide your decision:

Workday is going to offer different features and be more expensive than a mid to small sized business solution such as BirdDogHR.

Implement (3-5 weeks)

The actual implementation of your new HRIS is the longest step of switching to a new system. This step includes its own set of sub-steps including:

  • Planning the implementation from start to finish
  • Migrating data from your old system to the new one
  • Testing and gathering feedback
  • Training employees using the new system

If you aren’t careful, implementing the new HRIS can easily cause the whole process to fall apart. Avoid this by creating a detailed plan and sticking to it, but remain flexible and anticipate any adjustments you may need to make. Watch out for these common pitfalls:

  • Not gathering employee feedback (or gathering feedback but not listening to it). Employees will ultimately be your litmus test for gauging the new system’s effectiveness. Are you hearing complaints of people who feel overwhelmed or confused? Don’t ignore them or tell them it’s something everyone has to power through — try to track down the reason they’re feeling that way and pivot accordingly. This might mean a longer implementation period, but it’s better to take longer and keep people happy than to rush the process and drive them away.

Don’t ignore employees or tell them it’s something everyone has to power through — try to track down the reason they’re feeling that way and pivot accordingly.

  • Relying solely on the software vendor for project management. HRIS vendors work with many companies and have a general sense of what does and doesn’t work, but every company is different. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t heed the vendor’s advice at all, but remember that implementing the new software is a two-way street — success will require collaboration between you and the vendor.
  • Underestimating how long data migration will take. Transferring data from your old system to the new one can be tedious, especially if you must do it manually. Budget for this. When possible, consider pulling a few employees from other tasks to exclusively work on transferring data, or — better yet — hire a few data entry contractors to provide some help during this process. Your employees will thank you.

Launch (1 week)

Here comes the moment you’ve been waiting for — pulling the plug on your old system. Take a deep breath and know that you’ve prepared for this. By this point you should be finished migrating data over from your old system, and hopefully your employees will be more comfortable with the new one. It may look like you’re in the clear, but it’s not time to set cruise control just yet. Remember these points as you make the leap to your new HRIS:

  • New systems have bugs. You probably used your old system for long enough to sort out most of the kinks (or to devise a complicated system of workarounds), so it might feel jarring to run across issues in your new system. To counter this, use a system for reporting and keeping track of bugs and tend to them swiftly. You’ll be up and running smoothly in no time.
  • Give people time to adjust to culture shift. Yes, people will likely complain and give you some pushback. “The old system worked fine, I don’t know why you had to go and change everything.” Well, here you are. The best you can do is make the most of your present situation. Just like any change in company culture, this shift will take some getting used to. Be patient with people and understanding of their complaints.

Review (a few days)

By now you might be content to never look at an HRIS again, but it’s important to take some time at the end of implementing your new system to reflect on how it went. If your experience was smooth, what made it that way? If you encountered a few bumps along the way, what caused them and how might you avoid hitting them again? Taking time to review will not only help you better manage the software as time goes on, but it will better prepare you for adopting other types of new software in the future. Consider these factors:

  • Identify areas where you might require long term support. As your business grows, your software needs are bound to change. For instance, your new HRIS may not come with an applicant tracking feature, but as you take on new employees, you may find that it’s quite difficult to screen and interview all the new applicants you’ll be receiving. Staying in regular contact with your vendor will help to set you up for success.
  • Integrate third-party apps. Many HRIS solutions allow you to integrate other software you use. Many businesses like to integrate their accounting software with their HRIS, but other helpful integrations exist that will extend the usability of the HRIS. Keep an eye out for these and use them as you see fit.

Switching to a new HRIS is equal parts exciting, stressful, and time-consuming, but with reasonable expectations about how long it will take and a good plan in place, you can count on a successful switch to a new system.

Further Reading

Case studies can help you make your decision, but they’re no substitute for expert advice and recommendations.

Contact TechnologyAdvice at 877.702.2082 to get a free, 5-minute assessment of the HR software features you need and fast recommendations tailored to your requirements. Or visit our HR software product selection tool to get started in just 3 fast steps right now online.