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7 questions to ask before selecting an HR system


Selecting the right HR system or, more precisely, Human Capital Management (HCM) system for your business can be both exciting and overwhelming. There are so many possibilities and solutions – and costs! – out there, how can you begin to figure out what you need? 

A woman and two men work on laptop computers

Whether you’re going digital for the first time, or transitioning away from an existing HR system, knowing where and how to begin the process can make you want to give up before you’ve even started. There is a wealth of articles, checklists and advice online, but each business is so individual that there’s no blanket solution that will work for everyone.

This is why, rather than starting by searching for answers, it’s a better idea to start with the questions you should ask yourself.


1. What problem are you trying to solve?

So, you’ve either decided to adopt an HCM system or you’re trying to decide whether it’s the right move for your organisation. Either way, you should evaluate your motivations. Is this move part of a wider effort to become digital? Is your current system failing you in some way? Whatever the reason, it helps to fully understand what’s going wrong so you can find and apply the right solution.


2. What do you like and dislike about what you’re doing now?

Whether you’re using an existing HR system or moving away from spreadsheets and paper, there are going to be things you’ll be happy to leave behind and others that you don’t want to change. If you’re clear on which is which, it will be easier to evaluate solutions and eventually implement them.


3. What are your plans for growth and expansion?

Different solutions are optimal for different sized businesses, but it’s not just how big you are today that matters. With all the time and money that goes into implementing an HCM system, you’ll want something that meets your future needs as well as your current ones.


4. How complex and inclusive do you need your HR system to be?

You don’t have to do everything at once. You might prefer to take a longer-term approach by starting simple and extending your scope as you go. Decide which are the most crucial processes to bring onboard your new system and ask yourself whether the rest are essentials or just nice-to-haves.


5. What kind of resources do you have to put into each stage of the process?

From selection through to implementation, you need to be realistic about your investment – not just from a financial perspective, but also in the kind of time you will need to put into onboarding and training at all levels. This will help you discuss your support and consultation needs with potential vendors.


6. How important is it to find a solution that has a presence in your location?

There’s no substitute for good support, no matter whether it’s online or face-to-face. Ask yourself how important it is to your stakeholders to be able to communicate in their local language, or to meet the solution vendor in person.


7. How will the system fit into your company culture?

Given that you’ll use your chosen system for years to come, you should be able to think of your supplier as a partner. With this in mind, you need to select a supplier that is a good match for your company culture, can be flexible in the ways that are important to you, and understands the challenges you will face together.


What’s next, once you’ve answered these questions?

You’ll need a strong, objective overview of what systems are available.

Devoteam/HerbertNathan & Co have recently released a comprehensive report on Human Capital Management (HCM) systems in the Nordic countries in 2019.


Zoë Harris

Zoë Harris, 24 April 2019

Zoë Harris is a content marketing specialist who has worked with companies across the Nordics and the world since moving from Australia in 2006. With a background in communication strategy, UX writing, creative writing, and copywriting/editing, she's inspired by the human stories that make each business or organisation unique.

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