Is your business ready for Human Resource Information System (HRIS) Implementation? To maximize ROI for your organization — and avoid costly pitfalls — you need to take a strategic approach to planning and HRIS implementation that will ensure you select the right system, optimized for your business.

Determine Which HRIS Features Your Business Needs

A wise first step when selecting technology is to evaluate your business needs and the pain points you need to solve.

Meet with HR, payroll, and time and attendance staff to develop a clear picture of the hours they spend on manual processes and how much more efficiently they could operate through HRIS implementation. Request that your staff think outside the box and imagine how they could be most productive, how they could achieve 100% accuracy, and how their workday could be easier. Use this information as a description of the ideal system that will make the greatest impact and provide your business with the best value.

Use a Checklist

You will likely meet with a number of potential HRIS providers, and it won’t take long to realize their offerings can vary widely. Take an organized approach to provider selection by creating a checklist based on the HRIS features you are looking for. Use the checklist to compare offerings from multiple providers so you can make the best decision for your business.

In addition to the services you need for HR, payroll, and time and labor make sure your checklist includes capabilities and expertise the provider should have to provide your business with the greatest value. For example, evaluate HRIS providers for:

  • Expertise in your industry or with your specific type of business to ensure the ability to easily manage compliance or tax issues
  • Ability to scale as your company grows or as you require new functionality
  • Technology tools that improve accuracy
  • Integrations with third-party solutions
  • System security and data backup and protection
  • Customer support provided by a dedicated team, not through a case number-based service model

In addition to making sure a prospective provider has the capabilities to meet your needs, you should also investigate the company’s reputation. Read reviews, testimonials, and , Speak with other customers, if possible, to understand what the provider’s customer service is like. Also meet with your sales representative to discuss the implementation process and make sure it will be handled by qualified professionals. You can request information on the HRIS implementation process to ensure the provider has a proven, systematic plan for successfully onboarding your business.

A Word about Price

As you compare prospective HRIS providers, you will, of course, discuss cost, but it’s important not to let your final decision come down to price. With HRIS, it’s smart to remember that you get what you pay for. It’s better to focus on the value the system will provide your business. It’s possible, for example, that a system with a higher cost will actually save you more money by reducing the demand for labor and increasing accuracy. So, compared to a lower priced competitor, it may be the better deal. Make a decision based on what’s best for your business rather than simply looking for a bargain.

Work with Your Provider on an HRIS Implementation Plan

Once you select an HRIS provider, the next step is to develop an HRIS implementation plan. Discuss timing: you may choose to transition to the HRIS system at the beginning of the year or the beginning of a quarter or you may want to plan to have the system live in advance of the next healthcare open enrollment period. Be practical about timing to minimize disruption to your business. You should also designate a project manager for the transition to the new system, who will be responsible for providing information and data to the new HRIS provider.

This is also a good time to inform employees about the new HRIS system and build buy-in. Explain the benefits such as employee self-service that provides them with easy access to their records and will save them time. Building anticipation can help with a greater adoption rate later.

HRIS Implementation and Go Live

Your provider should be able to supply you with an HRIS implementation checklist that will systematically take you through the necessary steps to transfer data and take your system live. They should also offer an effective HRIS implementation communication plan. At Paypro, we take this one step further with our Project Tracker Application, which gives your team and our team real-time visibility into the status of the project. We give you access to the project site, where you can see all tasks, issues, correspondence, and documents. Our tracker eliminates having to deal with a flood of emails on the project and reduces the chance that key personnel will miss information on important milestones.

During implementation, it’s important for you to take time to check everything for accuracy, including:

  • Taxes, Medicare and Social Security
  • Retirement plan and insurance deductions
  • Employer taxes
  • Federal and state tax filing forms
  • Year-end documents: 1099, 1096, W-2, W-3
  • Employee bank accounts and routing numbers

You will also want to run a preliminary payroll cycle to test your new system and train personnel how to run a test payroll, a tool they can use to check payroll for accuracy at any time before its initiates live checks or direct deposits.

HRIS Implementation Timeline

Here’s some of the best advice you will receive about HRIS implementation: Don’t rush. A well-planned, systematic approach will help you overcome HRIS implementation challenges and avoid failure.

Will HRIS Implementation Be a Failure or a Success? 

You may also opt for a phased implementation that rolls out specific features and functionality of your HRIS system live according to priority. By rolling out “must-have” features first, you can provide value immediately and encourage adoption.

As you can see, HRIS implementation takes a significant investment of time, so you want to ensure the system you launch gives you functionality you need and works the way you intend it to. Here are some tips that will help you avoid HRIS implementation failure:

  • Follow a realistic timeline. Rushing or skipping crucial HRIS implementation steps will result in headaches from having to correct problems in the future.
  • Maintain communication between your staff and the HRIS provider’s team at all times. This will ensure the accuracy of data and processes and eliminate delays from having to correct inaccuracies or reconfigure the system.
  • Get it in writing. Don’t assume that what a sales representative promised you will trump what’s written in your contract. Make sure the system will equip you with the functionality you need and it will work as intended.
  • Only work with a company with dedicated account reps. A successful HRIS implementation depends on dedicated professionals with your success at heart. Don’t attempt to work with a company that makes you try to handle it alone.

Some companies will go through months of implementation only to the find that the system they signed up with will actually not fit their needs. They may stop at that point, abandoning the transition to HRIS altogether and never go live. Don’t waste time and resources — invest wisely by working with a provider committed to your success.

There are many ways to measure HRIS implementation success. You can establish KPIs to monitor employee adoption and use or conduct polls among employees to collect their feedback. But perhaps the best way to gauge success is to collect data on the time and costs the new system saves. If your HR, payroll, and time and attendance staffs now use streamlined processes that make them more productive and save time and money, your HRIS implementation is sure to be a win, now and for years to come.