The backbone of any company, an HR department can be a catalyst for a brand’s growth and success. A tech-supported, effective HR unit will help you improve employee experience, which translates into better engagement and higher performance.

One of the tools that businesses use to empower their HR units is a Human Resource Information System, or HRIS. The advanced HR software has the potential to significantly ease the workload by automating a number of activities — from recruitment to onboarding to payroll management. Keeping manual efforts to a minimum, an integrated HRIS frees up time to concentrate on more strategic goals.

But before you invest in an HRIS, take time to do your research and choose the right solution that would add tangible value to your brand. Some of the readily available software suits boast extended functionality, while others may have a more competitive price. But if you have unique business needs, a basic off-the-shelf solution might not cut it, and you will still need to pay for the functions you don’t use.

Whichever option you decide to go with — ready-made or custom-built — consider these key factors to get more bang for your buck.

Determine your objectives

First things first: to make the right decision, you need to have a clear understanding of your business goals. Every organization is unique, and so are your business needs and strategies.

Apart from standard objectives — like eliminating paperwork and streamlining workflows — you might want to focus on advanced analytics and data-driven reports to support your decisions. Having a list of objectives will help you understand the tangible and intangible benefits of bringing HRIS to the table. Besides, the more detailed and structured your list is, the easier it will be to prepare technical specifications for your engineering team to build a custom HRIS.

Define the processes to automate

Once you are clear on your goals, get down to specifics and identify the workflows that you could easily automate with an integrated HRIS. For the system to produce positive results, you need to know exactly where to apply it. Ask yourself: what are the most time-consuming mundane tasks your HR workforce is dealing with? Is it manual update of employee information, leave tracking or attendance scheduling?

Think beyond the obvious HR functions that can be easily automated. In a large company, an HRIS can also help you with succession planning, access management, and regulatory compliance. Smaller companies can implement HRIS to reduce staff needs and cut overcharges. Whatever the size, your business may have unique processes that would require customized modules to match.

Consult your team

When considering to implement a new system into your existing framework, it’s only natural to consult end users first. By engaging your HR team in the software selection process from the beginning, you will get first-hand information that would be invaluable when screening out unsuitable vendors.

Your HR employees can share valuable insights into what they would like to see in a future system, what functions are critical for them and what features can be excluded to make the system easier to use.

Research the market

With everything done right, you’ll have an exhaustive checklist with specific requirements to your future HRIS, including core and extended functionality, any unique business processes, and future needs.

This checklist will come in handy when assessing potential vendors and weeding out those that don’t match your current needs or long-term goals. Even if you have internal IT staff to maintain your business IT infrastructure, learn about the system support and updates before committing to any vendor.

Request a trial version

Once you’ve narrowed an array of third-party vendors to a reasonable amount, it’s time to see their offerings in action instead of taking them at face value — and a trial is the way to go. Many vendors offer free trial plans so you can test drive their solutions in real business settings and see if they fit your framework.

Since any third-party solution is designed to cover the most basic organizational needs, ask if your vendor is open and ready to customize the software to your demands. But remember that customization expenses may well exceed the solution’s price tag, and you may end up with expensive, cumbersome system that would only complicate your HR operations — something that wouldn’t happen with a solution tailored to your specific needs to begin with.

There is another case when engaging a web development company to build a custom HRIS is a great idea. If you already use some sort of payroll management and record-keeping system, you would want to integrate it in your future HRIS, or maybe even build your HR management system around it.

Wrapping up

Running your business like a well-oiled machine requires all your teams to collaborate and stay in sync. If your HR department is swamped with paperwork and lacks streamlined workflows, it will drag down your overall company performance as well. To avoid this, empower your HR unit with the right tools that would effectively back your business processes and support your HR needs.

About the author

Olga Ezzheva is a technology writer at Oxagile, a provider of software engineering and IT consulting services. You can reach Olga via email or connect via LinkedIn.

Featured image via Unsplash.