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Tips for buying HR software

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Key processes for finding the right HR solution for your business needs

Human resources (HR) software is a technological solution that streamlines HR processes with automation and increased management tools. HR software supports the HR team by automating payroll processing, talent management, recruitment processes, benefits administration, and oversight of sensitive employee data.

Many HR teams have come to rely on HR software for increased productivity. Without the use of a software tool, it is estimated that HR managers can spend nearly 40% of their time on payroll tasks, preparing job descriptions for future candidates, and completing interviews. With digital support, HR managers can instead focus their time on cultivating company culture, trusting that core HR functions are taken care of.

With the proven value of productivity and employee engagement, many HR solutions are available for companies to consider when selecting the right human resources management system (HRMS) or human resources information systems (HRIS) tool. In fact, the HR software market is valued at over $14 billion. This article will provide key factors to consider when seeking the right HR platform for your business.

The right HR software is essential for business

As mentioned above, HR software has become necessary for efficient business operations, particularly for HR departments that oversee many crucial business functions. Software solutions that support HR needs can integrate many facets of human resources, such as integrating payroll software with performance management functions. For many businesses, HR software needs to be highly customizable for the specific human resource management needs that a company has.

Once a company (a small business or large corporation) has determined that HR software aligns with HR needs, companies will begin to explore the various options with software vendors. There are many factors to consider when when purchasing an HR software solution. This article can serve as a playbook for what to look for and help you determine the best HR software fit for your company.

A map for what you are looking for

Know your business

The first step in determining the right HR software for your company is to understand your overall business structure, operations, and workflows to see where the software can support you the most. Your business needs may vary from what software can offer, so it is important to identify these needs at the start of the software exploration process. When determining the most important business needs, it may be helpful to consult with the HR department to gauge what gaps exist and how automation with an HR software product can fill identified needs or gaps.

Impact on the business

If your company adopts a particular HR software, you should understand how you will measure the positive impact of the software on workflows within the company. HR professionals can help determine metrics or data points to track as the software is implemented into the overall business workflows. An HR system can save time through automation, for example, and so being able to measure the impact on the business will help ensure it is the right fit for your company.

Scope and complexity

Software solutions offer integration at all levels of business operations. With plenty of options and choices, you will need to determine to what degree the software will be implemented. Will it function as an app or a full stack program? Will the software support HR in basic tasks, or do you need the digital tool to encompass all HR needs? More importantly, understanding who will be the user of the software program is essential. The more people using the HR software program, the more you will need to consider user interfaces and user experience in your decision-making process.

User requirements

Once you determine the software users, it is essential to identify the key features or key functions you want to be a part of the software vendor you select. For example, if you work for a large company that needs support in recruitment and onboarding tasks, look for an HR software program that includes an applicant tracking system (ATS) where candidates can be screened automatically. Workforce management may include options for employee self-service where employees can access the portal as well, including their data or pay stub information. The number of employees who access the software can change the scope (or price) of the package, so this should be identified early on in the search process.

Relationship to other HR technology

A key benefit of certain HR software is when it can include many important features (enrollment support for benefits, employee retention analysis, time off reporting, etc.) along with other software programs that a company uses. For example, some software products with payroll processing features also support the integration of accounting tools. This way, HR professionals can see the full picture of HR and how the business is functioning overall with just a click of a button.

Impact on employees

When considering HR software, it is critical to consider how the software will impact the employees directly. Certainly, there is a strong case for how HR digital tools can benefit the company at large. However, considering the experience for employees with the software is equally significant. For example, will employees need additional training in learning about the software? Or, will employees have access to ongoing IT support if needed? Once it is fully integrated, how will the company ensure that it is fully adopted by all employee users? Having a plan of implementation ahead of time is a useful step of adding HR software to your business workflows.


HR solutions offer pricing plans and structures for companies of all types. However, outside of the external sticker price, there may be additional costs hidden from the consumer. When considering HR software options, make sure to ask about any implementation costs, software upgrade costs, monthly membership fees, or training support fees. Typically, software products offer monthly fees and can increase with the number of employees accessing the software program. If you are a non-profit organization, it may be worth exploring if the vendor has any discounted parts of the pricing plan or product implementation.

Researching the market


With so many vendor options, it is important to research what products could have the biggest benefit to your company. As you find vendors that offer HR software products, consider asking for a demonstration to see how the product works. Demos provide a real-time opportunity to see the user interface and how the solution can optimize aspects of your HR department. Hands-on experience is invaluable to gaining a sense of the benefits or drawbacks a particular HR solution may offer. During the demo process, you can ask questions about specific features or customizations that can be completed on the back end of the software design.


As you understand what product offerings exist and learn about their alignment with your company, you can develop a shortlist of companies to follow up with. Then, you can compare these top vendors with one another, including the advantages or disadvantages of each. In this later stage, you will want to review any contract or licensing requirements as a user of a particular HR software product. If your company sees any part of the terms or conditions that they want to revise or add, negotiating with the HR solution vendor is an option to consider.

Final decision-making

As you narrow your search for the right HR solution, it is important to consider the most important aspects of implementation: cost, timeframe for adoption, contract length, included features, and other important factors that will impact the overall evaluation for the best product fit. With the help of your HR team and other business leaders, you can see what products check the most boxes and offer the greatest value in optimizing your HR department workflows and HR management processes. When making the final choice of HR solution and HR software, make sure you have a detailed understanding of how the vendor will support the overall software implementation process.

Next steps

Are you ready to bring digital solutions to your HR team and HR department? Are you ready to take the next steps in adopting the right HR solution at your company? Are you ready to remove the manual, time consuming aspects of HR operations?

Heartland is ready to help.

Heartland helps nearly 1,000,000 entrepreneurs make and move money, manage employees and engage customers with human-centered technology solutions that allow them to rise above the daily grind and lead their businesses into a brighter future. Learn more at heartland.us