Last updated: 4th August 2022 at 11:25am

…Plus, top 5 tips SME businesses should consider when selecting a system

The following article was written by Helen Armstrong, Founder and CEO of Silver Cloud HR

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Traditionally, a Human Resource Information System (HRIS) was simply a piece of software or online solution that acted as a centralised database of employee data and performed core HR processes.

Now, an HRIS can be so much more. As well as the benefit of automation and employee self-service to help streamline HR processes, the right HRIS also provides leaders/HR leaders with invaluable insights into their employees working lives.

From productivity levels and engagement to mental wellbeing and potential for growth, the kind of insights available via sophisticated HR systems really can transform the employee experience for the better, enabling leader/HR leaders to work collaboratively with the workforce to achieve both company and individual goals.

Selecting the right HRIS for your SME

Some organisations, notably SMEs and start-ups, may feel that the sophisticated technology on the market today is designed solely for large multi-national businesses. But with the variety of software vendors available, HRIS has never been more accessible.

And as any SME knows, it’s important to plan for growth, so future-proofing your HR systems and processes now will pay dividends in the years to come.

But what should you be looking at when searching for a new HR system and how on earth do you begin to shortlist solutions?

Here are our 5 top tips for approaching any HRIS selection project, regardless of the size of your organisation:

1. Clarify your business case

The benefits of HR digital transformation should be compelling enough to achieve cross-board buy in from the start. But in reality, unless you can make your business case for a new HR system watertight, your plans for HRIS plans may never make it off the page.

Take a holistic approach to your business case, focusing on the needs of the business, rather than the individual. Try to focus on the end user in your reasoning and also take into account the ‘cost of doing nothing’.

2. Research the market

Try not to get bedazzled by the first piece of software you see; research, evaluate and compare. Seek the support of a selection consultancy if you need additional help to wade through the market. This online vendor directory is a good starting point if you need to see who is out there and the types of organisations their software is most suitable for.

3. Identify the scope

Identifying the scope and guiding principles for your selection project through meetings members of the leadership team and your HR support is an essential early step.

Gathering information from all stakeholders is key to determining which modules are required, whether an integrated or stand-alone solution is needed, how you will address recruitment, learning and performance management going forward, any data and analytical requirements and what other IT considerations need to be made.

4. Gather your requirements

Fully define your requirements and prioritise; as an SME your budget may be limited so you need to ensure your core needs are covered and budget met. Engage with the people who are closest to the business, i.e. departmental leads. Their views are key to the selection of the system. Not only will they be responsible for initiating various HR processes, they understand the data needs of their department.

You’ll need to establish: – What are managers’ experiences of current HR processes? – How easy is it for them to access employee data? – How is employee data used to make department business decisions?

5. Contact vendors

Don’t make assumptions when reviewing potential vendors – there are so many examples of “I thought that was included” – check the fine print and if you don’t see something mentioned, ask about it. Ask other key decision-makers, close to the project, to check through inclusions too.

TIP: When looking at potential vendors, bear in mind that an RFP process may be required which needs to be budgeted for and added to the timeline.

For more advice on selection an HRIS that is right for you, download Silver Cloud’s 12 Steps to Selection Whitepaper.