Looking at a new HR system? Slow down, take a few deep breaths first!

Buying HR software is a huge, disruptive series of events that changes your work life and that of those around you. The cost financially is huge, the potential for blown budgets, high stress, and poor decision making infinite. The change impacts can be immense. The direction you take in buying HR Technology will have different paths – one with gentle hills, wide roads and just the odd speed bump to navigate. The other, a steep winding track up a mountain where you constantly teeter on the edge of the sheer drop below!

The impulse is to talk to vendors too early, so take a deep breath, and assess what you need first:

Know what your organisation needs

Knowing what you (or your executive team) want, and what the organisation needs, might be two different things. Talk to your employees, HR team, marketing team, IT team and finance team. Dig deep into what they need to do their jobs and make the experience better for employees.

Know where you and the project are heading

Develop your roadmap. Include the process re-alignment, service delivery model, data design, implementation and optimisation activities. All these activities are large projects in themselves.

No mention of software yet. No vendor conversations.

Get the right people on your team

It’s not rocket science, but make sure you have experienced and smart people on your team. At the risk of sounding like an HR nerd, you want a mix of capability, competence and capacity with people who have been there and done that, and those that want to learn. Have the guts to hire consultants to get it right the first time and guide you in your thinking. It is a false economy to scrimp and save on good resources.

Work out how much it will cost

Do your business case for the overall project which includes your internal costs, not just the software or subscription purchase. I know it sounds crazy saying ‘Don’t talk to vendors yet’, but there are other ways you can go about obtaining estimated costs without fully engaging with vendors at this stage. Remember, all that glitters is not gold.

Talk to vendors LAST (still no mention of the actual software)

Yes, that’s right. Do your demonstrations last. Once you know what you need, what the project looks like, who you need to help you and how much it will cost – THEN, do a scan of the market to see what products might work for your organisation. Have conversations with the sales people, customers and look at online reviews. Vendors will actually appreciate that you’ve done your research and know what you want as it helps them to better understand your needs and find a suitable solution.

This all sounds scary, and it can be, but with good planning and by involving people that can help you along the way, you can achieve a great outcome for the business and for you personally.


If this article resonates with you, and you need some help and guidance, feel free to contact me.

Thank you for reading. I write about HR, Employee Experience and the digital workplace. Connect with me to talk about what you need to know as a HR professional in the digital world, HR technology, my year in New York or dogs. Find me on email sarah@mooreatwork.com and on twitter @SaraMooreatWork.