How to get the best response from your HRMS RFP

Your RFP (request for proposal) is your invitation to HRMS vendors. It should be crystal-clear on your HR technology requirements (as opposed to requiring vendors to use a crystal ball to divine them!) and its goal is a set of focused proposals, each explaining how a vendor’s system can precisely meet your HRMS needs. It also acts as your reference when comparing different HRMS software in detail, acting as a core reference document, stating what it was you wanted in the first place.

Sending a clear RFP

Clarity is critical. The aim of an RFP is to give vendors a template set of business requirements that you need to be met. All proposals can then be more easily judged in relation to those requirements. Given the importance of clarity, we recommend you adopt and expand on a base template, such as:

  • Introduction and overview – timing and scope.
  • Current business context – explain your business, including numbers, locations, key customers, broad future strategy.
  • Process requirements – the HR processes you want to automate or support with the system.
  • Technical issues – deployment issues such as whether you want your system to be online or on-site.
  • Response instructions and format – providing a standard response form or format makes your job of comparing systems a lot easier and more quantifiable.

At this stage, think detail. More detail means you gain a better understanding of your own requirements and can, therefore, select for them with more confidence. And in terms of response, gives vendors a better chance of impressing (or not) you with their system.

Shortlisting suitable vendors, then sending RFP

Ideally, you’re only going to send your RFP to HRMS vendors whose systems stand a chance of meeting all of your criteria - it’s better to be faced with a difficult choice of four ‘matches’ than a single, ‘not-bad-really’ Hobson’s choice.

For more information on putting together an HRMS RFP, check out the HRMS World RFP guide and template.

So, while you will use the responses to your RFP to draw up a shortlist of those systems you want to see demonstrated, the first shortlist is of the vendors you’ve decided to send the RFP to. How to find them? Search the internet, use HRMS software comparison engines, ask your network, check out online demo videos, and look for reviews and recommendations. As you’re searching for likely options, apply the criteria you’ve already drawn up. For example, do they specialize in small businesses, or does the system include payroll, or is it an open source HRMS… according to your own priority criteria.

In fact, why not provide a picture of your ideal vendor to go with your system requirements? Think about what you need in terms of experience, HR and technology expertise, financial situation (you don’t want them to go out of business the day after installation), and references from clients with requirements similar to yourself.

Remember, when it comes to getting great responses to your RFP, keep it clear, keep it detailed, and keep it focused.

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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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