Your people are your organization’s strategic advantage—but there’s a lot of competition for them on the market right now.

Especially true with ‘in-demand’ industries, like technology, there are simply more open roles than there are qualified people to fill them, giving your employees many choices when it comes to where they want to work. Organizations are realizing they need to do more to actively engage and retain their best people, so they can continue to meet their business goals.

Because of this, we’ve seen a shift in HR departments from people administration to people operations and strategy. While the administrative work is still very much necessary, organizations today also need to focus on building a strong employee experience.

The right HRIS can help in that regard, by improving efficiency and productivity for People Ops professionals, so you have time to focus on the more strategic aspects of your roles. If you’re in the market for new Core HR technology, read on for some tips to choose the best HRIS for your organization.

Prioritize your needs

Every organization’s needs will be a little different, depending on things like the size of your organization, where you’re located, and what else is in your HR tech stack. Begin your search for an HRIS by understanding what your unique needs are. It can be helpful to set up an evaluation taskforce to get input from other key stakeholders and users.

What are your goals for a new HRIS?

The first step is to understand why you’re looking for a new HRIS. Some common goals are to:

  • Build a more strategic HR function, focused on engagement, retention, and productivity.
  • Support rapid headcount growth without sacrificing the employee experience.
  • Create a central system of record to keep employee records accurate and streamlined across talent platforms.
  • Ensure GDPR compliance if you have employees in the European Union.

You’ll want to see how each HRIS you consider helps with these goals.

Which HRIS features will support your goals?

As you consider your goals, pair them with the features and functionality that support them. Make a note of which are must-haves, and which are nice-to-have.

Here are some features to consider:

  • Integrations: Improve efficiency by selecting an HRIS that integrates with the best-of-breed HR tech stack you already know and love. Go beyond the obvious integrations with your ATS, payroll solution, and benefits provider, and also consider background checks, time and attendance, feedback and performance, learning and development, and productivity and communication tools. Consider whether single sign-on is important and if you would like an HRIS that seamlessly integrates with G Suite.
  • Employee onboarding: Improve your new hire experience with an HRIS that syncs with your applicant tracking system to trigger a strategic, engaging new hire onboarding program.
  • Org charts: Help employees understand your organizational structure by providing them with access to a dynamic organization chart. Look for a system that reflects real-time changes such as employee departures, title changes, and contact — saving you time and hassle updating multiple systems.
  • People directory: Help your team stay connected with their location, team and other groups — at work, at home, or on their mobile — through a people directory.
  • Time off tracking: Provide an easy time off request and approval experience for employees and managers, while giving administrators visibility with a globally integrated calendar. A great PTO tracker will allow you to create custom policies to track and manage employee time off with visibility and consistency.
  • Intelligent workflow and notification engine: Streamline processes and reduce non-compliance risk with intelligent workflows that assign tasks, trigger personalized emails, and send reminders when tasks are not completed.
  • Email Templates: Save time and streamline communications with custom email templates that can be sent to individuals or groups of team members.
  • Calendar integrations: Sync relevant information to your calendar, such as new hire start dates, activity due dates, birthdays, and anniversaries.
  • eSignaturing: Save time and money by eliminating the need to print, sign, and scan paperwork.
  • Reporting: Make data-driven decisions with configurable, permission-based reporting and dashboards. You should be able to generate things like headcount reports, growth charts, salary averages, work anniversaries, and shirt sizes.
  • Account provisioning: Save your IT and Operations team time and money by automating the setup of key systems, such as G-Suite, Slack, Okta, Onelogin, and more.
  • Permission settings: Keep employee data secure by providing access only to those who need it. For instance, allow your Payroll team to see employee salary information, but don’t allow your IT team to access it.
  • GDPR compliance: Maintain compliance with GDPR if you have employees in the European Union.

Effective HR management isn’t just about administration and compliance—it’s about building an employee experience that helps you attract, engage, and retain talent. Look at these features not only from the lens of your key stakeholders but from the perspective of every single person in your organization.

What happens after you choose a solution?

  • Implementation: Consider your ideal timeline to implement a solution and the kind of support you’d like. For instance, whether you’d like the vendor to guide you through the process, support your data migration, and advise on best practices moving forward.
  • Customer success: Different vendors can offer varying levels of customer support. Consider what you’ll need to be successful, whether it’s an online knowledge base or a dedicated customer success representative.
  • Product updates: Consider each vendor’s product roadmap, and how future integrations and features align with your needs.

Build a thorough evaluation process to choose the best HRIS

Your HRIS is the core of your HR tech stack, and a thorough evaluation process will help ensure you choose the right one.

  • Create your shortlist: Once you’ve prioritized the features and functionality you’d like to see in an HRIS, build a shortlist of products to demo. A network of HR professionals can be invaluable here, to gather feedback on what users like and dislike about each HRIS they’ve used. Also, browse vendor websites and third-party review sites to narrow down your choices. Some organizations will send a formal Request for Proposal, in which they ask the vendor to complete a questionnaire about the product functionality and features. Use the information you gather to create your shortlist.
  • See your shortlisted products in action: Schedule demos with your shortlisted products to get a detailed understanding of how they work. Keep your goals and prioritized features top of mind, and make sure you see each of your top priority features in action. It can be helpful to bring in key stakeholders at this point to make sure they will sign off on it, and actually use it—although you can also arrange an additional demo for this purpose.
  • Customer reviews: If you haven’t done so already, read through product reviews on sites like Capterra and G2 Crowd, to get a better sense of what to expect from the product, from people who actually use it. If any additional questions or concerns come up, you can always reach out to the vendor for further discussion.
  • Customer reference: Some organizations will request to speak with a customer reference with similar goals and needs. A product’s existing customers can provide useful insights and best practices, and paint a realistic view of the possible benefits and shortfalls you may experience. Keep your own priorities in mind, and be prepared with specific questions that will help you determine whether the software meets your organization’s specific goals and needs.

Final thoughts on choosing the best HRIS

Investing in HR technology to improve your employee experience is a critical business decision—and one that’s unique to each organization.

It’s not about finding the solution with the longest list of features, it’s about finding the solution with the right set of features for your needs. So round up an evaluation committee, prioritize your must-have features and functionality, and get some demos scheduled. We certainly hope Sapling will be on your shortlist.


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How to Choose the Best HRIS