How to get better responses to your HRMS RFP document

The more you can standardise the format and shape of vendor responses to your HRMS RFP, the easier your selection decision, and any discussions with individual vendors, will be.

Firstly, your HRMS RFP should list all your requirements, including priorities and timescale of implementation, ensuring that each vendor provides the basic information about their product in an easily-comparable format. One way of doing this is to provide a limited range of initial responses to each requirement, such as:

  • Basic, out-of-the-box option

  • Available as a standard ‘bolt-on’

  • Only available as a custom option

  • Available via a 3rd-party partner

  • Will be available in the future (the question is when?)

  • Not available

You can allow room elsewhere for the vendors to wax lyrical about the subtle nuances of their products, but this type of arrangement will make your shortlisting much easier.

Recommended reading: HRMS selection survival guide - 9 steps to selecting the best HRMS

Other key information that you will want to demand of all vendors includes:

Timing and scheduling – you’ve been clear on your timescales, you need them to put into writing what they can deliver by when, and with what resources.

Key personnel – you need to know the names and backgrounds of any key personnel. After all, if a vendor promises expert implementation consultancy as part of their package, you want to know who you’re getting, what experience and skillset they have, and therefore be able to legitimately challenge any role changes later on when the project is under way.

Cost – this is where you expect them to lay out the details of their licensing structure, both a total figure and a breakdown that clarifies issues such as number of users, customisation, ongoing maintenance and support, upgrades, and the payment terms.

The more you can standardise the format and shape of vendor responses to your HRMS RFP, the easier your selection decision, and any discussions with individual vendors, will be.

Having established the basics of what the system can do, when it can be delivered and who will be carrying out the delivery, there are a couple of further issues on which you need a response from all vendors (or at least all vendors who want a chance of making your shortlist).

The first addresses a key risk factor when entering into a long-term relationship with any supplier: viability. After all, whatever form of license you agree, your hope is that this HRMS will serve your needs for a number of years and you need to be certain the vendor will be around to support it. So, your HRMS RFP should request from financial information to be reassured that they’re in reasonable shape as a business; namely, financial results, product investment levels and client acquisition rates.

The second point is the need for references. A minimum of two (preferably three) references from previous (ideally existing) customers should give you some additional perspective. Your HRMS RFP should request the name of the business, basic details of the service/product provided (so that you know it’s comparable to your own requirements) and a contact name for following up.

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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