Decisions, Decisions: Choosing the right HR system for a Business

As a consultant, you are in the position to help business understand what options and requirements exist. By harnessing new digital capabilities, companies are able to gain a more in-depth understanding of their performance, productivity and people.

Claire Havey: BrightHR Relationship manager

Technology has spurred rapid development in HR management systems over the past twenty years.

The sheer range of features available on the market is wider than ever, which also makes the choice between software more difficult than ever. What exactly should businesses be looking for in a HR system, one that makes a perfect fit for their needs? How can you ensure that your recommendation will result in their very best investment?


Understand their purpose


The aim of a HR and payroll software is simple: to boost efficiency, enhance performance and increase productivity within a business. Managers know their business better than anybody else and should develop a good idea of their specific needs from the outset. It’s also worth involving line managers from different areas of the business to help build an accurate vision and wider context for the required system.

There’s really no point investing in a new piece of software with unlimited capability only to use a fraction of the functions — this is a common gripe we hear time and time again from business leaders across all industries.


Do your homework


In-depth research is the mother of all sound business decisions, and the world of HR software is no different.

There are plenty of systems out there that provide comprehensive and complex functionality, whilst the look, feel, usability and, most importantly, effectiveness often goes overlooked. Remember that overly-complicated processes rarely boost efficiency; but they often hinder it.


Always keep the business in mind when matching product features to organisational needs. For example, it’s increasingly vital for modern businesses to have a HR system supported by the Cloud and that can be accessed by employees from any computer at any time, anywhere with an internet connection.


Get tailored


The ability to home in on the details relevant to your business is crucial. It’s common sense, really: systems that offer the ability to customise the standard platform are likely to make a better fit than those that don’t. Customisation is also important when it comes to managing defined teams, producing reports and setting employee access levels. You never know how your business will grow or change in future, and customisation is an important key to longer term scalability.


Schedule a demo


It's easy to get lost browsing and comparing software features online, there’s no better substitute for getting to know more about a system than running through a trial with an expert who knows the capability inside out, and how it could meet business needs.

Once you’ve whittled down a shortlist, it’s time to get testing. To get real value from these trials, it’s important to ensure the demonstration is focussed on the needs of the organisation, rather than a whistle-stop tour that skims the surface of each function (even if it’s not relevant).


Final thought


There are a multitude of options out there, so make sure you fully understand your client's needs and talk to other members of their team or network to ensure you are investing in a system that fits a modern business like a glove. You may wish to create a template checklist, which can help massively when comparing your various options before making a final decision. Here’s a few things worth including…


  • Store employee records securely
  • Track patterns of absence
  • Manage payroll
  • Share internal documents in real time
  • Organise annual leave
  • Automate recurring processes


  • Configure security levels for managers, administrators and employees
  • Scalable in the event of business growth or change
  • Customise layout and reporting function


  • Easy remote access
  • Standalone system or integrated with other softwares

Support and updates

  • Technical support in place to fix bugs on demand
  • Product regularly updated through active research

Happy hunting!