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The ultimate HR software buyers' guide

Melissa Jones  |  17 July, 2017

When you’re looking into investing in new technology for your business you are going to want to do your research. It is important that you buy a product that meets the needs of your business both now and in the future, giving your your business the room it needs to grow. If up until this point you’ve been managing your HR admin on excel spreadsheets or a plethora of paper then the HR software market can look like a minefield. This guide will give you some pointers on what you need to do when buying HR software.

Get the advice and tools you need to purchase an HR software with this Ultimate HR Software Buyer's Guide

What is HR software?

Online HR software solutions are used by businesses to simplify and automate necessary HR administration. They can be described using many terms such as HR software, HR system, HRMS (Human Resources Management System), and HRIS (Human Resources Information System). There are many HR functions that HR software helps to manage including employee documents and data, holiday booking, absence tracking, and company and employee performance. You might be looking for a software that manages just one or all of these HR admin tasks.

Where do I look for HR software?

With so many different softwares available, it might be wise to kick off your search by asking your networks what they use. Other small businesses may be able to recommend different HR softwares which will give you a good starting point on what to research. Failing that, conduct a google search for some of your specific requirements such as absence management software or document management software. In doing so, you know you’re likely to get results for something that you need rather than looking at a number of HR softwares that have a lot of features that aren’t relevant to your business requirements.

Should I take out a trial of an HR software?

The majority of HR software is cloud and subscription model based which means it offers you a lot of flexibility. To showcase this, most HR software offer you a free trial period. Trialling an HR software can give you a good insight into not only the interface of the product but also lets you tour the features of the product. Seeing it in action can be very informative in your decision making process, so it is recommended that you trial the product first - especially when it is free to do so.

Handling HR software demonstrations

It is advised that you narrow down your potential suppliers to between 3 and 5 before you go ahead with sitting through demonstrations of the software. If you are going to give up your time for someone to demo the HR system to you, then you don’t want to sit back and wait for them to dazzle you. Decide what your top 3 priorities or requirements are and before you let the salesperson get into their spiel, ensure that you voice your needs. By doing this, the vendor will be able to tailor the demo to your needs, or they’ll be able to tell you upfront that the software doesn’t meet your requirements.

During the demo, use detailed score cards to record each demonstration and how well they meet your needs. It can be quite hard otherwise to remember which HR software had which features.

Measuring the ROI of an HR software

As with any investment, you want to know if investing in HR software is going to be worth it. First you need to consider the cost of the software itself. On top of that, it is worth forecasting for the long term and whether you would need to upgrade in the next three to five years. Then you need to decide how it is going to benefit your business. By understanding the number of processes, people and departments that implementing an HR software will affect, you’ll have an idea of how the usage of the HR software will map out. The ROI could manifest itself in a number of ways including; a reduction in costs, increase in time freed up by automation and increase in productivity are the most common.

Investing in HR software can initially seem overwhelming, especially if it’s not something that your business currently uses. What is key about the buying process is that you stick to your requirements and know exactly what you want to get out of implementing an HR software. Do you need time back that is currently spent on manual processes or is there a particular HR function that you think could be improved?

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