A business critical tool | 6 key questions to ask when evaluating HR software

6 key questions to ask when evaluating HR software

The global HR software market is expected to grow to just over £7 billion by 2022. The rise of cloud software and a demand for increased automation of basic HR processes have bolstered the market to record levels. Coupled with growing business need for detailed analytics and simplified reporting; HR software is quickly becoming a business-critical tool.

Now, more than ever, HR software is a critical tool for business success. In a recent survey of over 500 HR and business leaders, a staggering 81% of C-suite leaders say they would not have operated effectively during the pandemic without HR software.

To boot, 83% of HR leaders say HR technology has enabled them to be more flexible and responsive to changing business and employee needs while helping their business become more resilient.

As more and more businesses look to introduce HR software, it is critical that throughout the evaluation and purchase process, you are certain that the system you choose is right for your HR team and your business as a whole.

In this article, we take a look at some of the key questions you must be asking when evaluating HR software in your business.

1. How is it delivered?

The last decade has seen HR technology make a complete u-turn. Legacy HR software that is hosted on-premise and manually updated by clients has become a distant memory for many organisations in favour of cloud-based models.

In today’s modern workplace, the prevalence of cloud-based systems (think Zoom, Skype, Dropbox, Google and Slack) makes the decision between on-premise and cloud systems an easy one. But for those businesses that have not yet adopted cloud-based systems, the decision can be a difficult one. It is important to think about where your company is today, and where it will be in 5 years when making the decision between SaaS and on-premise systems.

Understand how the software is delivered and the implications this service model might have on your business. Systems are likely to be either Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) (whereby the system is readily accessible via the internet, without the need to install or maintain the software yourself) or on-premises (where software is often installed right on the user’s computer through CDs or USB drives and the user is responsible for the daily operation and maintenance of the system).

2. How much will it cost?

Probably the question on everyone’s lips when making any kind of business software purchase is: how much will it cost?

The majority of HR software vendors will have a fixed price per user depending on the level of access and features required. Vendors may offer a modular system where you can add or remove the features your business needs as and when required – much like you would a bolt-on for your mobile phone.

Importantly, find out what is included in this fee and whether there are any additional costs for things like implementation, support or training. How much are any additional modules and how easy are these to add or remove? If you’re looking to integrate your existing systems with HR software, find out whether there are any costs associated with this and factor these into your evaluation process.

3. How is the product supported?

The provision of support can play a huge role in the success of any business software. This is especially true for HR software since all of your employees will be using it. In some cases, you will likely need to lean on the vendor’s support team for additional help and guidance.

During your evaluation process, be sure to ask HR software vendors about the support they provide, the hours they operate and how long it takes to get queries resolved. Find out how support is accessible, too. Can you get help over the phone or is everything handled via an email or ticketing system? How soon could you expect any tickets to be acknowledged? It is key that the help you need with your HR software is available to your any your employees when you need it.

4. Is it scalable?

Having a system that can grow with you is probably one of the biggest questions for vendors when you are evaluating HR systems. It is important to understand whether the system can scale with your business’ plans and meet your needs as your business changes such as international growth or bringing external functions such as recruitment in house.

Have the “What if...?” conversation with your HR and wider leadership team to ensure that every base is covered when evaluating vendors to make sure the system you choose is right for your business – now and in the future. Relay these to your vendor to understand whether your chosen HR software can join you on your journey.

How easy is it to add or remove employees? Can modules be added at a later date when required? Can the system account for international requirements if you plan to grow globally?

5. How is your data secured and backed up?

How your vendor collects, stores and secures your data is a crucial part of HR software. HR software will house some of the most sensitive data any organisation will ever hold. From personal information and addresses to bank details, sort codes and account numbers; the software you choose must have the most rigorous security measures in place to safeguard this data on your company’s (and your employees’) behalf.

The security of your data must be front of mind throughout your HR software evaluation so it is important to understand the protocols and procedures in place to ensure its safety. Be sure to find out where and how your data is stored, how data is backed up and how each vendor approaches information security internally.

6. How long does it take to have a system in place?

Implementing HR software doesn’t happen overnight. It takes preparation, planning and some forethought. Implementing HR software is a project, not a single task. For this reason, you might choose to phase your implementation, introducing elements of the system that tackle your biggest pain points first. This will enable you to get some ‘quick wins’ under your belt before moving onto the functionality that requires more complex implementation but has a longer-term pay off.

Take the time to find out how each HR software provider supports you throughout implementation. Are you left to fend for yourself or does your vendor offer a dedicated implementation manager, handy project management software and regular catch ups to progress your project? If you’ve not implemented HR software before, the latter can be a serious game-changer.

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