An introduction to HRMS RFP’s

You’re looking for a new HRMS. The business case has been made. And signed off. You know exactly what you need by way of functionality and the HR processes that this new tech must support. You have a budget. You almost certainly have a project plan (even if all the details have yet to be added). The next step is to go to the market and invite some proposals from vendors.

Of course, you could simply make a few calls to random names you’ve googled and ask them to pop round and show you what they’ve got. You could, but if that gets you the best system for your needs and budget then clearly you are among the luckiest people on the planet and should just go out and buy some lottery tickets immediately.

What is a request for proposal?

Instead, what you do is put together a Request for Proposal (RFP). A clear statement of requirements that lays out what you want, why you want it, and how you intend to evaluate systems as part of the selection process. It’s in response to the HRMS RFP that interested vendors will then submit a proposal – because they believe that their system is the one you need (or they believe they can convince you of the same, which is not always the same thing).

Put simply, you know what you want and your HRMS RFP is all about communicating that clearly to vendors so they can present their products in the best possible context – i.e. show how they can give you what you want – and all be judged against the same criteria in your selection process. In other words, your RFP should create a level playing field on which it’s much easier for you to decide which will be the best HRMS for your organisation.

How do you know if you have a good HRMS RFP?

For a start, when your potential vendors read it, they’re left in no doubt about the state of your business’s HR technology needs now and in the future. They know what HR processes you have and intend to implement and can focus on showing you how their product will support you (and if they can’t show that, then you won’t shortlist them, simple).

Another indicator of success is that when the proposals are reviewed, they’re of a high quality and narrowing them down to an initial shortlist is actually difficult because they all, on the face of it, match the requirements. That’s a sign that you made those requirements clear.

Recommended Reading: HRMS Vendor Directory - Once your HRMS RFP is ready it will be time to start researching vendors

It’s also worth bearing in mind that your HRMS RFP is part of the legal bidding and contracting process – in essence, this first formal communication between you and the ultimately successful vendor is the foundation of the future contract between you. Another reason to make it a precise and unequivocal expression of what you want.

Finally, the process of putting together your RFP has another benefit… it forces you to review your HRMS requirements and if they’re at all unclear or muddled, you have to lick them into shape because muddled requirements means muddled proposals from vendors, and when that starts to happen, you’ll find yourself heading back to square one anyway. You might as well get it right first time and the RFP process ensures you’re crystal-clear on what you need from your next HRMS.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall