5 Signs You’re Ready for a New HR System

We’re all looking for signs. Signs that it’s going to be a good day, signs that a meeting will go well, signs that we’re going to get that big promotion we’ve been dreaming about. It’s human nature to look for indicators that something either should happen or will happen. HR technology is no different.

When it comes to the systems we use to track and manage the employees in our organizations, there are many factors that come into play when deciding whether the one we have is sufficient.  I’ve seen plenty of organizations wait far too long, though, as if they were waiting for a red flag to wave saying, “it’s time!”

If you’ve had a system in place for several years, what are some signs that your organization is ready for a new HR system?

  1. You can’t provide the type of reports your leaders need. It could be that the HR system you currently use was never intended to provide highly detailed reporting.  Many were built with some reporting functionality, however, as HR leaders know, reporting requests are often specific and need to be timely.  Ad hoc reporting is available today from a wide array of vendors, so if this is a pain point for your organization, a new HR system may just do the trick of having the information you need at your fingertips.
  2. You have team members entering everything manually. One of the most prevalent complaints I receive from HR leaders involves having applicant tracking systems that do not interface with the HR system. This one inability creates hours of re-entering candidate data when they are hired. This can lead to inaccuracies that can cause problems with I-9s, background screens, payroll and more. Having a new HR system that has an ATS included — or at least has the ability to smoothly interface — reduces the chance of errors due to manual data entry.
  3. You use Excel more than your HR system.  Like many of you, I’ve worked in organizations where using Excel to manually create work-arounds for system deficiencies is part of the daily routine. Now, I am a fan of using Excel for many things, but a HR system it is not. If you find you are running your organization’s people processes via Excel, it really is time for an upgrade.
  4. You’ve created work-arounds for many of the typical things employees ask for. This is another common indicator.  Whether your team is manually creating total reward statements or somehow providing manual benefit summary statements, the key is having an HR system that will automate and provide accurate information to your employees.
  5. Your vendor says your system will no longer be supported. Talk about a red flag, this is a big one.  If you’ve never received this call from a vendor, consider yourself lucky.  Especially when times are lean and less money is spent on HR technology, organizations tend to keep systems past when they should. Once a vendor tells you that updates or ongoing support will no longer be provided to the version of the software you have, it’s time to upgrade or purchase a new solution.

There are other signs your organization is ready for the change, and these are just a few to get you started.  What other signs have you seen in organizations you have worked for?  How did you handle the approach to either upgrade or purchase a new solution?

Trish McFarlane, Vice President of Human Resources Practice
and Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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Trish McFarlane



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Trish McFarlane