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Thinking About Switching HR Systems? Hold Off on Signing That Contract!

This situation is all too familiar: your company depends on an HR system for critical employment data and management of the employee lifecycle, but your current system just does not measure up to your needs and expectations. Despite a hefty prior financial investment and developing endless workarounds, you end up using only a fraction of its features, bogged down by tedious manual tasks and frustrating inefficiencies.

In these situations, organizations often find themselves contemplating changes to their Human Resources Information System (HRIS). “Out with the old and in with the new” might appear to be the most straightforward solution for tackling multiple issues and starting fresh.  However, while the allure of a new HRIS may seem appealing, the decision to switch systems is not one to be taken lightly. Before diving headfirst into the process, it is essential for organizations to pause and carefully evaluate whether alternative solutions exist to address their HR needs or if a new system truly is the right decision.

Before making the decision to switch HRIS systems, consider taking the following steps:

  1. Survey a wide cross-section of users (including administrators, managers, and employees) of the current system to understand what is working and what is not. Is the system the problem or do people just not know how to use it effectively? Obtaining this insight in the beginning can go a long way in providing direction on how to proceed.
  2. Formulate a comprehensive “wish list” of items you would want in a new or upgraded system. Not sure where to start? Use this basic checklist as a starting point.
  3. Carefully research potential hidden costs and challenges associated with switching HR systems such as the upfront and monthly Implementation Fees, Data Migration Challenges and Training/Adoption of the new system. 
  4. Explore other options! Is your system due for an upgrade or enhancement that would expand the current functionality? Could you partner with a company that has expertise in optimizing and customizing HR systems for a fraction of the cost of implementing a new system? Would more training for all users help eliminate some issues?

After evaluating the alternatives, you determine that switching systems is the right decision for your team, and you have narrowed your focus to two or three vendors. But how do you know which one is “the best” fit for your organization?

  1. Go beyond the sales pitch and start asking detailed questions about the functionality and limitations of each system.
  2. Consider inviting a cross-section of internal users to the system demonstrations to provide their input and perspective.
  3. Ask for referrals from the vendor or seek them out on your own through networking.
  4. Refer to your initial wish list often and identify how each system aligns with your wants and needs.

Not sure what to ask to understand how the system really works? Here are some ideas: 

  1. What level of mobile functionality does your HRIS offer for both administrators and employees?
  2. What features come with the base model of the system, and which are available for an additional fee?
  3. How has your system improved efficiency or streamlined processes for others in our industry?
  4. What initial training is provided by the vendor for practitioners, managers, and employees?
  5. Need more ideas? Click here for a list of additional questions that will help you dive even deeper.

Congratulations! After weeks of careful consideration, you have signed the contract and will be transitioning to a system designed to streamline your current processes and reduce team frustration! However, making the decision was only the first step. The project’s ultimate success or failure will now depend on the level of commitment you put in. Here are some tips to avoid “buyer’s remorse” and keep the implementation on track.

  1. Have a dedicated internal point of contact/project team. Selecting the right project team is crucial. The project team should represent a cross-section of subject matter experts who have a comfort level with technology.
  2. Be proactive and prioritize the project. The implementation of a new system requires dedicated resources, planning, and commitment to ensure successful integration and adoption within the organization.
  3. Be an active partner! Most vendors have comprehensive implementation schedules designed to get you up and running by the stated deadline, but they need your input and participation to correctly implement your system. No one knows your business or processes like you do, and they rely on you for accurate information and feedback.
  4. Be proactive and stay “one step ahead.”  It is important to acknowledge that once you have chosen a vendor, they may or may not initiate discussions about implementing best practices, compliance or refining current processes. Your team will need to drive these conversations throughout the implementation process and beyond.
  5. Be realistic. No system is flawless, and no one solution will solve all your current problems. Be flexible and keep an agile mindset.

While the idea of switching HRIS systems may initially seem appealing, it is essential to carefully weigh the costs, challenges, and potential risks before making a final decision. A new system may not always be the solution, and the “grass is not always greener” – a wrong or poorly implemented choice can be costly! By thoroughly assessing your options, dedicating the appropriate resources and considering future impacts, organizations can make informed decisions that align with their goals and maximize their HR technology investments.

How HR Works Can Help

With backgrounds in Human Resources, the HR/Payroll Technology Consultants at HR Works understand what you are trying to achieve from your system day in and day out. Whether you need guidance choosing a system, support with implementing a new system, or ongoing support, outsourcing to HR Works helps you get the most from your HRIS technology investments. Contact us today for more information about how HR Works can support your HR/Payroll technology needs.

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.