How detailed should my HRMS requirements checklist be?

It’s a good question when you’re drawing up your request for proposal (RFP) to invite interest from HRMS vendors: just how much detail should you include?

The simple answer, although true, isn’t exactly helpful: your requirements list should be ‘just detailed enough’.

After all, if your HRMS requirements are too broad, you’ll probably receive a lot of interest from vendors with products that are inadequate for your business needs - or worse, you could end up buying inadequate software. On the other hand, too much detail is not only off-putting but you could search forever and still not find a perfect match.

The density of detail will be different for every organization but there are some key tips which will help you find the right level for you.

1. Ask the right people

With any HR technology, the danger is that the selection process is left to the ‘experts’; i.e. the HR team. Now, while HR should undoubtedly be involved, and probably lead the project, they’ll need to engage with a much broader group of stakeholders to fully understand the full requirements, how HR data is used across the business, and just what all the different users of the HRMS will want to see. For most organizations, as well as HR, input will be helpful from Finance, IT, the C-suite, and representatives of managers and supervisors, and the employees who will be accessing the system.

Possible methods for gathering this information may include:

  • Surveys or questionnaires to key teams and departments
  • Brainstorming sessions with colleagues
  • Focus Groups with key stakeholder groups
  • 1-2-1 interviews with key personnel

Identify and prioritize your HRMS requirements using this fully customizable requirements template 

Ask each stakeholder or group of stakeholders to prioritize their HRMS requirements. One thing is sure, if you include every requirement from every stakeholder, your RFP will be too detailed. Identify each group’s top three priorities and work from there.

2. Check what the market has to offer

As well as consulting internally, do some external research. Even if you think you already have a good idea of what’s out there in the HRMS marketplace, it’s worth ensuring your information is up to date. You may find that there is nothing that will give you what you want, in which case that’s a good reality check. Alternately, you may be aiming too low, finding an array of emerging features that would offer you some unanticipated efficiencies. A few hours online checking vendor websites, HRMS comparison tools, and video demos should give you a fair idea of what’s possible. Now link this back to your stakeholder requirements and revisit your list. If any requirements are unavailable or simply not possible, remove from the RFP and talk to that stakeholder group again. If there are any unanticipated features which you think are just what you need, consult with the appropriate stakeholders and consider adding to the RFP.

Also, use your professional network and reach out to contacts in a similar line of business to you; find out which HRMS they use and how satisfactorily it performs. Again, use the information gathered to fine-tune the detail of your requirements list.

3. ...but don’t be led by vendors

Building on #2, part of your HRMS requirements research might include contacting and talking to vendors to get a better idea of  what their products can do, prior to drawing up your shortlist and inviting them to give you a proper demo. Use these discussions to refine your RFP’s list of requirements. Why not ask the vendors what level of detail would suit them? After all, you do want to see their product in the best possible light. However, be warned, expect them to be in selling mode. Some vendors will tell you that you need whatever their product does best. Whereas your reality is a mirror of that: you want an HRMS that is best at doing whatever it is you need!


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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

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