Three HRMS RFP myths to iron out of your selection team

An RFP is a critical document that can impact the work of your HR team along with managers and employees for years to come, depending on the HRMS chosen. Many HR teams are infrequently involved in an RFP process so skills can be lacking. Here are three common HRMS RFP myths all-too-frequently believed by your HR team, along with ideas for improvement.

1. Open-ended questions help showcase vendor potential

Many HR resources are skilled at asking open ended questions to inspire clever solutions or to solve workplace disputes. A recruiter’s classic behavioral interview style of ‘tell me about a time you did x’ will lead to interesting vendor responses on an RFP but will not bring you closer to your goal of choosing an HRMS.

Recommended reading: learn how to produce the perfect HRMS RFP document using our step-by-step HRMS RFP guide

Freeform questions on an RFP place the ball in the vendor’s court and allow the vendor to put a marketing spin on any answer. On an RFP you need clear criteria that is understandable to the vendor and allows for a quantifiable answer so that you can compare between vendors. Rather than asking a general question, such as ‘Explain your application’s self-service functionality’ it is better to break it down into an easier question like, ‘How many employee self-service transactions are delivered?’

2. The vendor knows what you want

A rookie mistake during the HRMS RFP process is not giving the vendor the basics of what you are expecting as part of their RFP response and as a part of the project. Are you expecting a project plan, test scripts, core HR training documentation and a trainer to deliver sessions? When deliverables are not specified a vendor will provide a response that includes items that are easiest for them to include,  which may or may not fit your needs. I have seen vendors re-use materials provided on a previous client’s implementation as they are available and at hand.

Look at your in-house resources and expertise and provide a list of required and requested deliverables based on where you would benefit the most from a vendor’s expertise.

3. The vendor should provide as much information as you demand

As you are putting together your list of project deliverables, it is relevant to review what you are asking a vendor to submit with the RFP. I have seen customers who ask for a full HRMS implementation plan along with a strategic review of whether self-service would be a good fit for their company along with case studies of why or why not.

A vendor should not be a source of free consulting advice during the RFP phase. A high level project plan would be an expectation and I’d request to see the detailed level under one phase as an example of their planning methodology. If you’re struggling with strategic questions it is better to bring in an HRMS consultant with dedicated time to help you with your scope and to help prepare your RFP.

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Heather Batyski

About the author…

Heather is an experienced HRMS analyst, consultant and manager. Having worked for companies such as Deloitte, Franklin Templeton and Oracle, Heather has first-hand experience of many HRMS solutions including Peoplesoft and Workday.

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Heather Batyski