How to Select and Implement an HRIS You’ll Love

An Expert HR Panel Discussion

HRIS solutions offer a large number of benefits for companies, including saving valuable HR time, attracting top talent, and even saving the company money. However, choosing the right HRIS for your company can be a long and costly process. But despite the time and money put into selecting HR software, a huge percentage of HR professionals still regret their decision. Part of the problem is that there are so many HRIS options available that it can be difficult to find the solution that best fits your needs.

In order to address the challenges associated with finding the right HRIS, Dave Rietsema, CEO of HR Payroll Systems, assembled a panel of expert HR practitioners. Mary Dale, Stacy Hostetler, and Norm Johnson, all HR professionals with years of experience in the industry, offer their insights into the HRIS selection and implementation process. Their experiences will help guide you through determining your HRIS needs, how to review different HRIS solutions, and choosing the right system. The panel also focuses on common pitfalls that may occur during HRIS implementation that you should avoid.

The recording of the webinar is above and transcript below.

Dave Rietsema:

Hello everyone. And thanks for joining our webcast today. My name is Dave Rietsema and I’m the founder and CEO of HR Payroll Systems, which helps busy HR professionals find and select the right software. I started the company in 2012 after working in HR for about a decade. So I really understand the challenges HR professionals face when trying to find the right software. I’d like to welcome you to this special presentation and I’d like to start off by telling you why I wanted to give a webinar on this topic.

Dave Rietsema:

I read a white paper early in the year, that was frankly, kind of jarring. And according to Kelton Global, 85% of decision makers regret their choice of an HCM provider. To me, that number is just shocking given all the time and money HR and other departments invest into these projects. And so clearly there are parts of this process that are broken and I wanted to assemble today’s panel so you can make the right decision for your organization.

Dave Rietsema:

Today I’m joined by an expert group of HR practitioners who have selected and implemented systems throughout their careers. Between the four of us, we have 47 years of HR and recruiting experience and we’re looking forward to sharing some of that knowledge with you today. Mary Dale, would you give us a quick intro, tell us a little bit about your company, what you do and a fun fact about you.

Mary Dale:

Hi there, I’m Mary Dale. I am the vice president of human resources for Convivial Brands. Convivial Brands is the parent company of a family of brands to include Design Design, Style Life, Verdant Graphics, Tableau, and the High Five Grand Rapids. Our corporate office is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but we have employees across 43 States in the US, and we do business in all 52 States, as well as outside of the country.

Mary Dale:

Most of our products are designed to make life better for those that we serve or those who buy our products or bring joy to those who attend an event at one of our venues. One fun fact about me is that I did not intend to become an HR practitioner. I was actually recruited over 17 years ago to an organization, a search firm that placed accounting and finance professionals. And that’s where I got my start in human resources.

Dave Rietsema:

Awesome. Thank you, Mary and Stacy, tell us a little bit about you.

Stacy Hostetler:

Perfect. My name is Stacy Hostetler. I’m currently in career transition, but with that my history in HR starts really back in the beginning of the 2000 era timeframe for retail management supporting AAA national headquarters. And then my most recent experience with Solera which was a 12 year stint. So a lot of fun HR times. Most of it in talent acquisition recruitment, and recently as well here with some global connections to overseeing our implementation of the ATS side of the HRIS platform.

Stacy Hostetler:

So we’ll be excited to talk through that here in a little bit. Fun fact about me. I have two daughters who were on the path to a pretty exciting career in gymnastics, but with some injuries we’ve now led to diving. So keeps me busy, but that’s me.

Dave Rietsema:

Great. So if anybody’s looking to hire a recruiter or HR they can reach out to you, Stacy. I’m sure you have LinkedIn, right?

Stacy Hostetler:

Yeah. Absolutely.

Dave Rietsema:

Okay, perfect. And Norm, tell us a little bit about you.

Norm Johnson:

Sure. So I’m currently the director of human resources for Giant Communications in Northeast Kansas, where I telecom providers. So internet, telephone, cable, that sort of thing. I’ve been an HR for about 10 years. I basically got into HR when someone came into my office and said, “Hey, you just finished your bachelor’s degree, right?” And I said, “Yeah.” And they said, “Was it in business?” And I said, “Yep.” And they said, “Do you want to be in HR?” So I started and I really enjoyed it. I really love HR.

Norm Johnson:

Fun fact about myself. I’m currently undergoing the process to become a licensed private investigator in the State of Kansas. This is so I can help other companies do the investigations that they need to do such as sexual harassment and discrimination, et cetera.

Dave Rietsema:

Great. Thanks. And I saw an interesting credential. Can you tell us what THRP means?

Norm Johnson:

Yes, actually. At one point here recently I was working for a native American tribe as their human resources rep. THRP stands for Tribal Human Resources Professional. So there are certain laws that impact tribes differently than they impact non tribal organizations. So the THRP designation basically denotes that I understand those differences and where laws intersect or what they do and don’t affect.

Dave Rietsema:

Okay, great. Thanks everyone for your intros and for being part of this amazing panel today. When it comes to making a decision about HR software, there are many factors to consider, and frankly, it’s quite impossible to walk away with absolutely everything you would need to know in a 50 minute webinar. So here’s how we’re making sure that you get the knowledge that you need. We’ve divided the content into three pillars, planning, selection, and implementation. To make the best use of our amazing panel of experts. I’m going to be spending most of our time today asking them questions. Let’s get into our first pillar, which is planning. Whether you’re just researching or there’s urgency behind selecting a new and better HR payroll software, it’s going to require you to change the systems that you’re using now. This endeavor takes careful planning to ensure the project is successful, which brings us to our first pillar – planning. Norm, when you worked for Golden Eagle Casino, you went from inputting employee data into spreadsheets to implementing an HRIS. Can you share what you did to prepare for this change and how that planning was beneficial for you?

Norm Johnson:

Sure. So first I’d like to say that it is very difficult to work from one Excel spreadsheet, right? So I had a team of four people, all of us using the same Excel spreadsheet. So obviously because it is what it is, only one of us could be in the shoot at a time. So I would be in there trying to edit something when someone else might need it. And if I had saved it, but didn’t close it and left for lunch, then the rest of that team was kind of out of luck and couldn’t use it. Not to mention the document was enormous. So it had all of the information that an HRIS might hold. So that’s kind of when we made the decision that we needed an HRIS, we had to do something, and obviously you don’t want to do anything without planning.

Norm Johnson:

So first I had to define what I wanted from the system, what I truly needed this system to have, and then kind of what I expected it to have on top of that. So I needed it to have a way for us to securely upload data, securely upload documents, control who can access those documents, right? Those are needs. Some expectations were I would like it to have an integrated ATS, an Applicant Tracking System and within that, I would like it to be able to integrate directly from that program. So when someone applies and goes through the process and are selected, their information automatically carries over into the system.

Norm Johnson:

So I made that list of pros and cons to kind of prepare my search. But I also knew that all of that information in that Excel sheet would eventually have to get into the HRIS, so I began formatting it all so it would make sense to upload into another system. We also began digitally scanning all of the paper files we had and storing them on a secure drive.

Dave Rietsema:

Got it. So a lot of preparation work to get everything ready for this new system. And Mary, your organization had a particularly challenging time with your existing vendor. And so you made the decision to switch to a different HRIS that was going to be a bit more responsive for you, at least the customer service. Can you tell me what the planning looked like for you at Metron?

Mary Dale:

Yeah, so first we looked at what stakeholders outside of the HR department that would need to be involved in the process. And more importantly, in the selection process. So the IT team, the accounting team, members of the operations team. Then my HR team created a list of current bottlenecks or manual processes that we were looking to improve as part of this new implementation process. From there, we looked at our HR roles and one was to improve the talent attraction and applicant tracking process that was manual. We had multiple locations and people were all working off, you know, paper forms. And so we were interviewing or contacting the same candidates across the board, especially for locations that were close to one another. And so there were inefficiencies in that process, but it also made us look like we weren’t communicating internally to candidates who were applying for our jobs.

Mary Dale:

So that was one thing that was a goal to improve. We were also implementing a pay for performance model that would be tied to compensation, as well as our budget and the review process. And so we were looking for a system that would tie all of those things together. And then we had a really high volume of turnover – pretty significant. And so we were getting ready to implement a new employee engagement process and program, but we wanted a system that we could use data from to measure our progress. Was this new program working, was our turnover improving, and we wanted real time data. So those were three goals that we had. And so as we began looking at systems, we wanted to ensure that they had modules that certainly aligned with our goals and could improve some of our inefficiencies and remove some of our manual processes.

Mary Dale:

From there, we set up demos and attended different conferences where vendors were at. So we could take a very short look at their process. And then once we shortlisted the vendor process, then we began to contact other HR professionals in the community to actually see the systems in real life. Not in a demo site, not something that a sales rep was showing us, but something that other HR professionals could show us, the software in use and how those modules worked. And then we identified our budget, what time constraints we had, and what types of training that would need to be involved. We were in the midst of open enrollment, so how we were going to balance some other major projects and things going on, and then who would be the team that would work on that project. And lastly, what would be the return on investment for the product that we were implementing?

Dave Rietsema:

Sure. How many employees did you have at Metron, Mary?

Mary Dale:

We had around 850 employees at eight locations. And today I believe they’re at 19 locations because they merged with another organization.

Dave Rietsema:

Great. Stacy, when you were at Solera, you were tasked with implementing the recruiting piece of an all-in-one HCM. What are some of the ways that you planned for the future implementation of the recruiting module, because I know that you owned that implementation piece.

Stacy Hostetler:

I did. Yeah, it was very tricky, but definitely very challenging. You know, a lot of what Mary and Norm have said. A lot of disparate processes, a lot of disparate systems in many ways. Many areas of our business as we were spread out globally across 92 countries, how many of these countries or regions are working off of spreadsheets? So really tricky to pull what that needed to look like together. While we had North America running off of a pretty solid platform, we weren’t global. And so in order to really pull that all together, it was a matter of me having to go through that kind of research and discovery with those other regions and find out what it needed to look like for them.

Stacy Hostetler:

And also meeting with their legal teams, right? Because regionally specific, it was very different. And some of those regions, EMEA, APAC, LATAM, not all the same as how we operate here in the US and so that definitely took some planning on our part. So working very closely with some key members of those teams in those regions, and really defining that process. So a lot of workflows came out of that. What does the approval process need to look like for job requisitions? Who needs to be engaged in that process? And with that, I think it was also a matter of now we have to pull the data in so that we could make sure it was fully aligned.

Stacy Hostetler:

Norm mentioned too back to some of the pieces that he mentioned, where we had to make sure that some of these pieces were going to now all flow together ‘till we have ATS that’s great, but it now has to flow into the HRIS portion. So a lot of documentation being uploaded, a lot of these workflows needing to make sure that they stayed intact. So it was a lot of process involved.

Dave Rietsema:

Sure. And it’s kind of interesting how you took the opportunity during this stage to work on things outside of the system, like establishing what your workflow should be on a global scale for your company. So you kind of, I would say you sort of killed two birds with one stone because it also helped to unify the company, but then you used software to really implement those changes.

Stacy Hostetler:

Absolutely.

Dave Rietsema:

Mary, over your career, you’ve worked on over a dozen HCM projects. Can you explain how you’ve gone about getting executive buy-in? I know that this is really a challenging part for HR practitioners and I’ve seen it’s a common place where projects can stall. So how do we go about getting buy-in from the C-suite?

Mary Dale:

Yeah. So I will say that a lot of HR professionals select their software and then try to get other people to buy in at the very end of the project. And I think it is so important to get your key stakeholders in, on the evaluation process, right at the beginning. Include them in your decision-making process and ask the software provider to give them a demo to address any concerns or features that they may need to see that would improve their workflow or process.

Mary Dale:

One of the key things that I see is one a lot of IT executives get concerned about the additional cost on their server or storage. And so if the particular software that you’re looking at is stored in the cloud, and isn’t going to require that additional space, address that upfront because most of the time with a lot of HRIS systems nowadays they’re stored in the cloud. And so those concerns could be addressed and alleviated right up front.

Mary Dale:

Also involve your accounting professionals. How will this particular software really interface with their ERP system? You know, importing and exporting data into the general ledger is going to be key for them, but more importantly, involving your operations executives, helping them see how this new system won’t just benefit HR, but will benefit their managers, supervisors, as well as top executives to get access to key information, to better manage their team members, whether it be through apps and looking at absenteeism reports, looking at turnover and really identify ways that you can help improve their workflows and not just your own.

Mary Dale:

Beyond that, I think it’s really important to look at the goals of the organization over the next year and how this particular software will support those company goals. So whether it be getting quicker access to data, eliminating maybe additional heads in the department, especially as individuals are being impacted by COVID you know, companies can’t afford to have as many people doing the work. And so are there efficiencies and processes that this software will not only improve, but eliminate the need for those extra people pushing through those workflows.

Mary Dale:

And then lastly, how is the software going to help your C-suite make long range decisions? You know, is there information that this system is going to provide and allow them to gather to really look ahead for both workforce planning as well as whatever goals they want to set going forward for the company, whether it be growth, et cetera.

Dave Rietsema:

Yeah. And I love how you talk about advocates and getting people within the company who can sort of help you to sell this idea. And timing is everything with executive buy-in, you don’t want to start with reviewing all these systems and get to a contract and then find out that you don’t have the sign off from the C-suite. So that’s great.

Mary Dale:

[inaudible 00:17:07].

Dave Rietsema:

Thanks, Mary. Let’s get into our second pillar, which is selection. So choosing the right HR software comes down to understanding what each vendor has to offer. And let me be the first to say that it’s important to avoid picking a vendor just because of their name or because a colleague likes that software.

Dave Rietsema:

One company’s goals and objectives can be a lot different from another’s. There is no one-size-fits-all HR solution. The selection phase needs to include lots of research and comparing as to what each vendor offers. Mary, can you share with us how you went about evaluating the vendors you were considering for your new HRIS? What was the approach that you took and some of the criteria that you considered?

Mary Dale:

Absolutely. And in fact, I totally agree with you, Dave. It is the biggest mistake that I see people make on Facebook all the time in some of the HR groups, asking people what software they would go with rather than compiling a list of really the modules that they can’t live without, that are going to meet their goals. Every company has different needs. And so really starting with that needs analysis is more critical than whether you liked the software or you liked it at a former company.

Mary Dale:

Each company’s needs are very different. And so what we did is we went through that needs analysis, created that list. Like I mentioned before, based on our rules for HR and some of those manual processes that we really needed to eliminate. And then from there, we looked at solutions that had modules that addressed all of those specific needs that we had. From there, we demoed various systems and immediately eliminated systems who didn’t have strong modules in those particular areas.

Mary Dale:

From there I contacted several HR leaders in my community and asked them if I could come into their place of work and actually see and demo their system and see what it looked like after implementation. Most vendors put their best foot forward and give you all of the best bells and whistles in a test site, but they don’t take a deep dive in into those modules and show you what they really look like. And so having those HR partners to contact to say, “Hey, I hear you’re using the system. Tell me more about it. Tell me about your implementation, tell me what’s working for you. Let me see how the reporting flows through, et cetera.” So we went through that process with our top three and talked to a variety of people.

Mary Dale:

From there we brought in some of the executives in the organization and looked at opportunities modules that maybe didn’t just address HRIS concerns, but adjust maybe some of the scheduling concerns that operations had. And so we had individuals from other teams look at our top two vendors address any pitfalls or issues that they would see from their point of view or their lens. And then from there we looked at cost, what one system could do over another was the cost difference. If one was more expensive than the other worth the particular increase in costs, but more importantly were certain modules, things that we needed. So at Metron we decided to implement two separate systems. The system we ended up going with for HRIS system while it had a really robust talent acquisition product.

Mary Dale:

The product that we were using was $27,000 less. And so for us, we had budget constraints. We are a medical company that was reimbursed by Medicare and Medicaid. And so we didn’t have extra income to pay that kind of money for a specific module. And so we were looking at how we could afford some of these additional modules or products. And so we decided to keep that external system and then start from the onboarding process with the new system.

Mary Dale:

And in addition, we wanted to look at what system would provide ease for our employees to use. Were there apps that they could use on their phone? What systems or products would the managers be able to use? Would they be able to use an iPad when they’re on the go? So that self service for both parties, as well as what the implementation support was going to look like from the provider. So a lot of factors went into that assessment and planning process before we even selected a vendor.

Dave Rietsema:

Yeah. And it really is so important. You made a good point too, to think about what employees need and employee experience when it comes to this software and having apps and tools that really helps them to access information they need to do their benefits enrollment online. There are so many factors to consider and sometimes we’ll focus just sort of on the HR, what does HR need, but it’s really what do our employees need as well? So that’s great. Norm, tell me a little bit about the checklist that you used to shortlist the HRIS vendors that you were considering for Golden Eagle Casino.

Norm Johnson:

You already talked about having needs and expectations. Right? So checklist item one was the needs. If I went through a hundred HRIS’s, if any one of them did not have any one of the things I listed as the need, it was gone. The second thing I had to address was scalability, especially in really volatile environments, businesses can grow really quickly, or they can shrink really quickly. And I had to make sure that the HRIS was going to go with us. Either it could grow and we could have 100 new employees tomorrow and it would be okay and we could afford it, or we could lose 100 employees for whatever reason and we would still be okay and we wouldn’t have ourselves in a bad position there. I wanted to make sure that my expectations lined up. So if again, once I had all of the HRIS systems had my needs and I was positive that all my needs were met, I would then go through my list of expectations.

Norm Johnson:

So if I expected it to have an integrated ATS, I made sure that I selected the ones that did for final review. And I basically just married up all of their features with what I wanted out of an HRIS system. Once I had my finalists, if you will, for my HRIS selection, I then reached out to my network, which in HR, I mean, you have a huge network in HR, even if you don’t know you have it right now, you do.

Norm Johnson:

So SHRM is there, HRCI is there. I could guarantee you if someone came through my door right now, my office door and said, “Hey, I’m, so-and-so with, I’m an HR rep at a company down the road. I need help.” I would help them. Because that’s what we do in HR. We help each other. So utilize your network, call around, talk to people, contact your local SHRM or HRCI chapter, do whatever it is you have to do, because that truly is a defining factor.

Dave Rietsema:

Yeah. Leveraging your network is huge. Huge. Thanks Norm. Mary, can you provide a few unique questions that you would suggest asking perspective software vendors? I think we often ask sort of what are your features, how do you handle this? What are some unique questions that we can ask vendors?

Mary Dale:

A couple that I typically ask is what is the implementation timeline and what resources will be available from the company specifically the software company to help support that implementation. Far too often, you get charged an implementation fee, but software companies are not willing to always provide you with that timeline and that should be a red flag for everybody. And especially if they’re not going to have resources specifically on site or available to you during the implementation process.

Mary Dale:

A second question would be, would the company have a designated customer service team or context once the implementation process is done so that you have support when you need it, because there will be problems after your implementation or you’ll have questions because they can’t possibly train you on everything. Or if they do, you’re not going to remember everything upfront.

Mary Dale:

Additionally asking them about what modules have been updated within the last six months to a year, but more importantly, what other modules or upgrades are they going to have coming in the next six months to a year? It’s really important to understand that the modules that you’re going to be using is it their first reiteration of it, or have they been an expert in that area for a while?

Mary Dale:

Far too often people say that they have a specific module, but it’s very elementary. And they’ll say, well, it’s coming the more robust feature, but how long is it going to take for that feature to be developed or pushed out? And then lastly, really understanding, asking them are all of their modules fully integrated? Far too often, many will say that they have expense reporting features or timekeeping features. But unfortunately, sometimes behind the scenes, there’s five or six companies that are behind the scenes rather than being fully integrated. And that can cause a lot of problems with reporting or inaccuracies of data, depending on how you run that information. And so it’s really important to understand which features are truly part of an integrated system and it has been an add-on product behind the scenes, because that can cause problems in the future for you.

Dave Rietsema:

Integration is huge, integration is such an important factor and it deserves getting some attention. Norm, well, it seems obvious why should an HR professional avoid rushing to choose a software vendor? And I see this sort of on a daily basis, we have a lot of people that approach us, who maybe they had a really bad customer service moment or event with their company, with their vendor, or there’s a law that came out and they don’t have the features right away to address that. So how do we balance and avoid rushing?

Norm Johnson:

So first of all, avoiding the rushing is huge because ultimately whatever HRIS you pick, whatever software you pick, that reflects on you and your ability to lead an HR department, or if you are not a leader within that department that still reflects on your ability to make a sound decision that financially impacts the organization you work for. So organizations are like a big puzzle, right? And each department has their own piece. HR is a piece, sales is a piece, marketing is a piece. And we all have our own function. But when you put that puzzle together, the picture it builds is revenue. And if HR is threatening that revenue by making bad decisions, that’s reflecting on the HR community as a whole. So putting the right foot forward, being confident in your decision is vital to sitting at the table with the C-suite.

Dave Rietsema:

Yeah. Let’s take the time and make sure that we find a solution that is going to work in the long run because it does reflect on us as HR practitioners. Replacing one HR software or system and moving to a new one can be a seamless experience if you have done your planning and carefully vetted vendors. Have reasonable expectations during this time, ask questions, take advantage of training and support that you’re offered from the vendor. And I will say that this pillar in particular implementation is the trickiest of them all and requires a lot of organization and coordination internally.

Dave Rietsema:

So let’s really take some time to talk this one through. Mary, what advice would you give to our audience members who are planning to move their employee data into a new software system? What does that data migration piece look like?

Mary Dale:

Yeah. So one of the things that I think happens every time I’ve done several implementations and what happens is the company or the organization you’ve decided to partner with will send you a spreadsheet and they’ll ask you to fill it out or export data from your prior system. One, if your prior system has garbage in it, you want to be mindful of the data you’re transferring over because garbage in is garbage out. And so that’s one thing you want to consider. The second piece is really understanding what that spreadsheet and the particular items that you’re filling out, what information does that drive in the system that you’re implementing. Far too often, we fill out spreadsheets, it gets implemented into a system and then when we start to use the system, we find that the data is in the wrong spots.

Mary Dale:

Or we find out that, gosh, if I would’ve known it meant X, I would have put something different in there. And so asking those who are part of the implementation team from the software program to walk you through the software, once again, to show you where each of the fields that you are filling out on the import spreadsheet, where they’re located in the system and what information it drives is so critical so that you don’t have to do rework after the implementation process or during the testing process because you didn’t know what you were importing from that perspective.

Mary Dale:

And then in addition to ensuring that the data is accurate and that you’re not uploading garbage into the system, it’s really setting up multiple training sessions, not only for your employees, but for your managers and your administrators and not just doing it right after the implementation process, but having a best practice or a manager training six months after to really go over those features that are a little bit more complex, that when someone’s just starting off using the system, they’re not going to remember all of those bells and whistles, but once they’ve actually started using the system, they’ve gotten used to it, it’s so much easier to provide those additional tools and resources and training to them so that they’re using the system at its maximum capacity.

Mary Dale:

The worst part of an implementation is providing so many bells and whistles and then not having anybody use them. And so training is really a key component, but making sure there’s that follow-up training after the implementation process as well.

Dave Rietsema:

Yeah, that’s key. Training is key. Norm, from your experience, how can companies reduce implementation time?

Norm Johnson:

So first of all, being prepared is key, right? So making sure all of your documents are uploaded, making sure your spreadsheet is ready to be uploaded into the system, making sure all of your information is correct. Now the whole time you’re selecting an HRIS, you have time. Right? And we don’t waste time. So the whole time you’re selecting that HRIS, you can either be doing yourself, if your department have [inaudible 00:31:56] or you can have your team be getting this information ready to upload.

Norm Johnson:

Once that’s done and you have your HRIS selected, it should be just as easy as putting it in an assessment, pushing a button. I also can’t tell you the value of getting everyone on board. So if you have the C-suite and the managers and whoever else at your company is considered a leader ready to use the system when it’s implemented, then it’s going to go a lot smoother. So the HRIS system we use right now managers are able to get in and view their employees information. Well, that’s a key point of what we do here because managers can approve PTO. They can approve time cards, they can approve all kinds of stuff through that system. But if the managers aren’t bought into it and you implement it, they’re not going to want to use it and they’re not going to learn very quickly.

Norm Johnson:

So getting buy-in and being prepared, reduces hiccups and increases your time to implementation.

Dave Rietsema:

Yep. So important that buy-in happens through all stages, right? It happens at the beginning when we’re selling to our peers, this idea of a new system as well as all the way, like Mary said all the way, post-implementation where we’re following up to make sure that everybody’s maximizing their use of the system.

Norm Johnson:

Absolutely.

Dave Rietsema:

Stacy, I know implementation is your specialty here. So what are some ways to ensure that testing and training go well? You implemented a system for a company that was global very complex, a lot of moving parts. So how do we make sure that the training and testing go well?

Stacy Hostetler:

Great question. You know, Mary and Norm really hit the nail on the head. So to piggyback on what they mentioned, there’s a lot that goes into that planning and you definitely have to have your data organized. So that’s where Mary really touched on. You know the data is critical, your garbage in is your garbage out. And so if you don’t have everything in tuned with how that spreadsheet is set up, you don’t have somebody teaching exactly what it needs to be and its purpose. Then everything is going to be misaligned in so many ways.

Stacy Hostetler:

And so you have that aligned, you’re organized, you’re working with all the other people who are perhaps and in my case, in global offices, you have to really partner very closely with them often and then I would say, as you start your testing phase, likely you’ll go through a couple of different testing phases within a sandbox environment.

Stacy Hostetler:

And if your implementation team is as good as they really should be, then you may even have more than one sandbox environment. You know, it could be that there’s one sandbox environment that really allows you to move things back and forth and make changes as you need to truly testing. And then there’s other sandbox environments that can be refreshed. So your data is constantly being up-to-date as you’re continuing to upload new data. And so that can be a critical piece too, but going through a couple of different testing scenarios, which in that could take five to six weeks in between, as you mentioned earlier, as we started this, I can’t remember what you called it, the third piece to our conversation, the implementation.

Dave Rietsema:

Pillar. Yeah.

Stacy Hostetler:

Pillar. Thank you. You know, that beginning, I think, as you gave the intro was very important too. There’s so much to the data. There’s so much to testing. There’s so much to implementation and it can be such a critical piece to make or break. So going through those phases, testing every bit of your data along the way, working through your normal job, as you need to. That was one of the things you mentioned as we began this pillar. And so, there is a really big key piece to it is going to go through weeks of time where you go through testing, you’re working very closely with all those who are doing testing in other regions as well getting feedback, and then providing that feedback back to the implementation team. That then plans for your next round of testing. And so you’ll go through these phases every few weeks, as I mentioned, maybe five to six weeks doing our jobs as we are in HR in between that period of time.

Stacy Hostetler:

But then ultimately we get to the end and we have our final upload of data into that sandbox environment before we do go live and we’re moving into the live production environment. That prod environment really needs to mirror that last piece of sandbox where you were. And so that switch over is a critical piece. Now keeping my [inaudible 00:36:20] some elements of HR, as we all know, can’t really stop. Recruiting is one of them. It’s very agile. It’s always going. And there’s other areas that are very much the same, right?

Stacy Hostetler:

So a lot of updates with your data that you have to continuously manage. A lot of pieces that you have to know are still in motion. So dating your data as you continue to move through those transitions just before you go live. And then again, to piggyback on what Mary said, training is a critical piece. And so again, in my case where I was traveling around, even over into Europe, taking a lot of large groups of those key players, your customers, your internal customers who are going to be using this platform, ensuring they know every piece of it, they understand workflows, they understand the purpose of why we’re doing this, what it’s going to look like and how this is really going to benefit them. And that’s really your ROI.

Stacy Hostetler:

So that returns huge. It’s critical. We do need that buy-in, but a lot of that does have to happen before we have that go live, hit the button. We’re now moving forward and we’re live in everything that we’re doing. So there’s a lot to it. In recruiting too it’s not just the data and your ATS platform, but you also have the external side where candidates are going to see that, right? So then you have your candidate experience, which is another key piece that can make or break the name of the organization. That candidate experience is really big. So it is very, very important that all of that is aligned and tested through completely with your candidate experience side, the agency side, the internal portal side, all those pieces really need to be managed and ready to go.

Dave Rietsema:

So much coordination and organization. I think that’s why implementation is such a tricky part of these three pillars is because there’s just so much going on. There’s data, there’s training, there’s working with internal stakeholders, there’s a lot going on, but I think these tips are going to be helpful to the audience who are going through this. If you find yourself researching soon HR Payroll Systems free software matching service helps you to evaluate your needs and explore possible solutions.

Dave Rietsema:

We were established back in 2012. Like I said, I worked in HR for about 10 years and we’ve helped over 5,000 companies over the years. So, all right. Let’s open up for Q&A. So we have a question from Alicia, how big does an organization need to be to have an HRIS? This is a tough one. Anybody want to try answering that one?

Norm Johnson:

Sure. So I’ve actually implemented an HRIS for an organization that’s small as 30 employees. Like I said earlier, it’s important to find a scalable HRIS because keeping your data organized is key, not only for keeping your personnel information organized, right. But also for compliance reasons. So if you can’t know what documents to retain and throw out, if you don’t have your information organized. So even if you only have three or four employees, I would recommend some kind of HRIS system.

Dave Rietsema:

That’s good. And I think it really, it varies too what industry you’re in how much turnover you have. I think there are a lot of factors. I often see companies, they’ll start with like a payroll software, very light payroll software. I tend to see in the work that we’ve done, we have lots of data around this. And most companies start looking for an HRIS at around 100. What we found is that’s when companies really feel a need to, but certainly we have tons of companies that approach us that only have 25 or 30 employees. So I think it varies depending on the company.

Mary Dale:

Dave, I think also I will also share that I think my current company Convivial we’re in 43 states. So regardless of the number of employees that we have, the number of states and complexities with taxes that have to be filed all the quarterly, all of the labor law posters that would need to be posted, but we don’t have work sites in every state. A lot of our employees are on the road or work from home. And so an HRIS system does more than just provide solutions based on the number of people you have. It’s some of the complexities, whether you have multiple federal tax IDs, you’re in multiple states. So it’s important to not just look at the number of people but those things, those functions that are really going to allow you to make sure that you’re not violating any state or federal laws and that you’re providing necessary information to your employees in real time.

Dave Rietsema:

Yeah, certainly multi-state companies have more complex needs. I have another question from Catherine. If you’re looking for a solution, an industry specific solution, what would be the recommendation on where to start?

Norm Johnson:

I would recommend reaching out to your network. Like I mentioned earlier, chances are you have people in your network who have done this before and who have attempted to implement something like this. So even if you don’t use a HR specific network, like SHRM or HRCI, you might use a network that’s specific to your organization. So those are all over the place, right? They’re all over the US I’m sure you can join virtually if that’s necessary, but if you reach out to them, chances are someone out there has done this before and they have an answer for you.

Dave Rietsema:

Yeah. If you don’t learn anything, but this guy’s network is a 100% key to all phases of these projects, especially when you’re talking about the selection phase. All right. I think we’re at the end of our Q&A time. So I’d like to thank our panel guests today and our valued audience. I’d also like to thank our generous sponsor PDS. If you have any questions, feel free to email me directly. My email is [email protected], and check out our vendor match tool by visiting hrps.co. Thank you all and have a fantastic day.

The post How to Select and Implement an HRIS You’ll Love appeared first on HR Payroll Systems.

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