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There are a number of important steps that should be taken when selecting a new HR system. Most of these are also step your organisation will take when you are looking to purchase other things, but there are of course subtle differences. The main steps are to:
Working through these steps will ensure that the HR system you implement is the right one for your organisation, that the features and benefits you are looking for are all included, and that the costs match the budget you have.
Talk to the stakeholders within your organisation about your plans. Speak to senior management, line managers, the HR team, the finance team, and employees. How would an HR system help them?
Individual employees will help update the system, and may access information themselves; the system can help managers plan their activities and support their teams; senior management can benefit from an overview of the workforce.
Produce a list of features and benefits you are looking for. Some will be essential; the rest desirable. Having said this, some are given (all provide a centralised place to record employee records). Ideally you should have fewer than 5 essential items on your list.
Think about the type of information you manage (perhaps with paper forms, a legacy system or spreadsheets); think about processes (on-boarding, appraisal, booking holidays, etc.). How can a system help you manage these?
Browse supplier's websites for information about products that are available. Compile an initial list that includes all of the suppliers that you feel can provide the essential features and benefits you have identified.
Discuss outline costs with suppliers, and make sure that your organisation is in principle able to invest in the project. Remember that there are additional costs to consider (for example, your time during the implementation).
Produce a business case that you can present to your management team. This should demonstrate how the implementation will improve the way you manage employee information, look at the costs and the cost-savings, etc.
A well thought-through analysis of the problems, and a good look at how an HR system will improve things will help you to gain the backing of the management team.
Produce document detailing the features, benefits, functionality, services and other support you need from your supplier. Suppliers will be happy to work through your list and provide detailed feedback on individual points.
Arrange initial product demonstrations. at this stage, to save time, you may decide to do these via WebEx. A short (45 minute) session will give you a good understanding of what a system can do.
Establish a short-list of at least 3 suppliers based on the information you have collected. Make sure the suppliers can provide the features and benefits that you are looking for (at the price you are able to pay).
Arrange detailed product review meetings. Make sure that those with a direct interest in the project are included in these meetings. Ask the suppliers to send comprehensive proposal documents that detail exactly what their solution will provide.
Refer back to your list of essential and desirable items. Speak again to stakeholders about their needs. Undertake a thorough review of the supplier presentations and their proposals and select your system. Make sure that you have a clear understanding of all of the important aspects of the different options.