Investing in a human capital management (HCM) software platform is a smart strategy to help organizations streamline the recruitment, onboarding, tracking and development of your most important asset – your employees. But picking the right platform can be a daunting task. Human Capital Management Consulting Manager Micah Zirnhelt shares some things to think about as you begin to research what solution will best meet your needs.
I spend a lot of time talking with companies who are in the midst of selecting an HCM system. A question I often get asked is, “What would you look for if you were the customer?” That’s tricky because as with just about anything related to human resources management, the answer is, “It depends.” But, with that being said, I want to share some things to consider as you embark on this undertaking.
- Think about integration. Every system must talk to some other system. Most modern HCM systems will allow you to integrate payroll, time, applicant, performance, benefits and human resources into a single system. If the one you are looking at doesn’t include all the pieces you need, or if you have a legacy system that you’re going to retain, make sure you understand how your new system is going to talk with those other systems. Understand how it’s going to interact with your general ledger and ERP systems. Learn about communications with benefit carriers and other vendors. System integration can be time consuming and expensive, so it’s best to try to keep as much in one place as you can. Keeping everything is one place may not always be possible but making sure that your planning process takes this into account will improve your implementation experience and avoid budget surprises later.
- Acknowledge how you’re unique. There is nothing that every company does exactly the same as every other company. Take a step back out of your seat and take a high-level view of your company and what you do that might be different from others and make sure you’re asking about that. Have an unusual vacation policy? How about complex schedules or non-standard overtime calculations? Maybe you have unique benefits plans that aren’t standard for your industry. Bring those kinds of things up early. It may not always be feasible to see how your unique requirements will function during a system demonstration, but make sure that you are clear on your needs so that both you and your vendor can help you determine how to address those special cases as you move through implementation..
- Plan for growth. Not just growth in the number of employees, though that is an important consideration, especially if your company is expecting staffing growth in the coming years. Think also about future system expansions. Often you may not want to implement all that a system has to offer right from the beginning, but it’s important to consider what you might need a system to do, not just today but five years from now. An HCM system is a big investment and you don’t want to have to replace it just because you decided in two years that you need additional features that it now can’t support, so give some thought to future needs.
- Don’t focus on cost. Obviously, cost matters. You’ve got budgets to meet and other spending priorities. That said, don’t allow the price tag to drive this decision or you’ll be shopping again when the contract is up. This is a critical piece of software for your business and should be evaluated as such. Think about how much your company pays for their inventory management, finance or ERP systems and hold that up against all the dollars that flow through an HR/payroll system in terms of employee payroll, taxes and benefit premiums. It is important to understand the return on investment of the system you are purchasing, but letting your decision be driven only by cost will not serve you or your employees well in the end.
HCM platforms are complex, critical business systems. Implementing them can be stressful and requires focus and effort from your team. You deserve to make sure that you are getting a system that delivers all that you need to run and grow your business. So, ask questions, dig into the details and be clear about your needs.
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