Implementing an HRIS: When is the right time?

This is a question that is often asked when our clients consider investing in a computerized human resources management system (HRIS).
We are not talking about changing the payroll system here, but about adopting an integrated tool to manage the employee lifecycle within the company, ideally from their candidate status to retirement. Payroll can be included in the chosen solution, but it is not always the case; if the current payroll solution meets the needs, there is usually no advantage in changing it.
The timing for implementing a computerized HR management tool generally depends on the answer to the question "why," which will vary according to several factors. It is a good practice to consider this before the annual review of your strategic planning and to share the result of your reflections with your management team.

Here are some points to consider when initiating a possible implementation process:

  • What is the current workload of our HR team? Are our people mainly engaged in clerical processes, or do they perform value-added tasks? Due to the reduction in available workforce, companies have a significant advantage in optimizing their processes to allow humans to perform value-added tasks. Whatever can be automated should always be, not only for efficiency reasons but also because making tasks more interesting will have a positive effect on your retention factor.
  • Do we have all the desired HR processes in place? Implementing an HRIS greatly helps in establishing structures. So, if we want to add or enhance processes, such as matching the required skills for certain positions with the skills of our staff (very useful if your turnover rate is high), strengthening our recruitment process, or standardizing our performance evaluations, it's a good time to consider implementing an HRIS. But be aware that the system won't establish the structures for you! The work on processes must be done beforehand.
  • Are our existing processes integrated? We usually have HR data in several systems; in our payroll system, in our ERP, in Excel, in Visio, on paper documents, etc. This increases our risk of errors with every data copy, but we also waste a lot of time that could be better invested elsewhere. Not to mention that we do not value the skills of our HR staff.
    What are our growth prospects? If we plan to double the workforce in the next three years, the workload in HR will be greater than if we aim for a growth of 5 to 10%. Having an HRIS means providing ourselves with the means to achieve our growth objectives while standardizing our processes; it's about preparing for the future.
  • Here are other questions that will help fuel your reflection:
    Does our current work organization put us at risk of losing information?
    Are we able to ensure the total confidentiality of sensitive data?
    Do we have other major change processes underway?
    Are we considering this type of tool as a driver for implementing a new corporate culture?

So when is the right time to invest in an HRIS?

The tool allows small businesses to equip themselves to streamline their clerical aspects and standardize their processes. Some do it during a growth phase, or during a merger or acquisition. For many, this choice is dictated by the strategic investment plan in resources because the HRIS is the ultimate tool to optimize recruitment, integration, and talent management within the company.
Talents, isn't that your main asset? The sooner you invest in an HRIS, the sooner you will be able to make the investment of time and money profitable. One thing is certain; those who wait to be forced into action struggle to make up for lost time and leave efficiency gains to their competitors.
If you want assistance in thoroughly exploring the question, do not hesitate to contact our team of HRIS analysts."

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