Five signs your HRMS needs an upgrade

You only need to take one look around a train carriage at a sea of cracked smartphone screens to see how resistant many of us are to upgrading or changing technology. For every person queuing up outside an Apple store at midnight to get their hands on the latest iPhone model, there are tens of us who’ll ‘make do and mend’ until our devices are on their last legs. 

Unfortunately, organizations often show the same reluctance when it comes to upgrading their HR management systems (HRMS). Many HR teams prefer to cope with underperforming systems, or even introduce workarounds, rather than take the plunge and begin the quest to upgrade their HR software. 

But there will come a point where your need for a new HRMS will be inescapable; here are five sure-fire signs that your software is due an upgrade. 

1. Your data is wrong, and errors are multiplying in volume and severity

One of the key functions of HR software is to help your organization manage people data – be that addresses, salaries, timesheets or anything else – more effectively and accurately. So if you’re regularly finding errors in your data, and if your pay runs are frequently incorrect, it’s time to take action and upgrade your HRMS to one that will facilitate and enable integration between your critical HR systems. Your first priority should be to integrate your HRMS with your payroll software, and your time and attendance software, if you have it. That way, your HRMS can act as the ‘single source of truth’ for your people data, with timesheets feeding in hours worked, and pay details being outputted automatically and securely into your payroll software. The end result should be a pay run that’s quicker and more accurate – which is great news for your employees, and even better news for your HR team. 

2. You’re more likely to use a workaround than the HRMS itself

How far are you using your current HRMS to its fullest potential, honestly? Have you developed workarounds – for data storage, tracking job applicants or even for compiling reports and analytics – so you don’t have to use the system itself? If you’ve created your own series of complex, inefficient processes to help you get your job done, then it’s time to upgrade your HRMS in favor of a system that you will use more fully to make your working life easier. For example, you might have got used to manually sending email reminders when appraisals are overdue, but many systems will send out such notifications automatically. If you make a list of all the HR tasks you could use an HR system for but don’t, you might find that you’re spending a lot of time and effort on unnecessary administrative work. 

3. Your HR system doesn’t include self-service functionality 

Almost all good HRMS will include self-service for employees and managers, enabling them to complete tasks such as update their personal details, book holiday, and enter and approve absences without HR’s intervention. So if your old HRMS doesn’t include this functionality, it’s time to step into the future and choose new HR software that will empower and encourage your staff to take responsibility for their own information – as well as enable you to spend more time working strategically. You’ll also want to choose an HRMS that works from any location and on any device, so flexible workers, and those without access to desktop computers, will be able to enjoy the benefits of self-service, too.  

4. You’re struggling to collate, analyze and interpret data effectively 

If you’ve taken a best-of-breed approach to choosing HR software, but haven’t integrated these tools together via your central HRMS, it’s highly likely that you’ll be struggling to gain a holistic view of your organization’s people and their performance. Upgrade your HRMS to one that can integrate effectively with these systems via API, and you’ll gain a more comprehensive picture of the impact of your HR initiatives – whether that’s being able to monitor how wellbeing benefits affect absence rates, or how training courses correlate with an increase in performance. Linking different datasets will help you make more intelligent recommendations and decisions, and improve your ability to communicate the impact of your HR team to the wider organization, and to senior leaders in particular. 

5. Your vendor’s service isn’t up to scratch

The final nail in the coffin for an outdated, unsuitable HRMS is likely to be poor support from your vendor. If they’ve stopped providing updates to your system, or simply don’t respond to or resolve queries in a timely fashion, then it’s time to look elsewhere for a vendor who take the time to understand your organization and needs in detail, and work in partnership with you to deliver better, more strategic HR. 

Remember, an HRMS should always be an enabler, not a hindrance – so if your HR software is stopping you delivering the best possible outcomes for your organization and your people, it’s time to put together a requirements list, review the market and find an HRMS that best meets your current and future needs.

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Cathryn Newbery

About the author…

Cathryn Newbery is a business journalist and former People Management deputy editor now working as head of content and community at UK HR software provider CIPHR.

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Cathryn Newbery

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