HR Technology Evaluation

By Doreen Dartez – of iBTR

Employers often ask us the question of when the best timing is to evaluate HR Technology.  The tendency is for employers to do that evaluation in the fall as open enrollment approaches which often leads to implementation delays or non-action due to the business of what needs to go into the evaluation process along with what’s required during open enrollment.  The following are some key considerations we recommend before embarking on the assessment of the HR Tech market.

The first consideration should be your HR technology agreements and the terms related to exit. If you are under an annual renewal contract, you likely should plan to start evaluations 6 months before the provider’s annual contract end or renewal date.  And while your assessing, it is in your best interest to mark your calendar a few weeks previous to the “notice period”, to ensure you provide the 60 or 90 day notice, for example.  It is also important to think about any point solutions, i.e., Recruiting, Time & Attendance or Performance, that could be replaced with new technology as you want to examine their terms for exiting as well.

If you are not in a contractual relationship with your provider, then you certainly have more freedom to focus on other priorities when considering a transition.  Outside of organizational changes and conflicting projects, we find it best practice to think about three other matters:

  • When will you be holding open enrollment?
  • If payroll is involved, does the HR or Finance team prefers to go live at the beginning of a year or a quarter?
  • What is the ideal timeline for going live?

Related to open enrollment, if your new solution will be either a benefits administration or an HCM or HRIS that includes ben admin., you want to ideally go live a month or two (or more) before open enrollment.  This will allow the HR team to acclimate by managing new enrollments and life events before the heavy activity begins. However, if you would like to consider Employee Navigator, the benefits platform we provide at Hickok & Boardman HR Intelligence, you will not need to be concerned about acclimating so much, as the H&B team of experts will be supporting your team! And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the various pre-built integrations that Navigator has to HCM (payroll) providers so that there are no duplicate entries. Please reach out to the H&B team if you would like to explore.

On the topic of targeting the beginning of a quarter, this is not a requirement for most HCM providers, however if your finance team does not want to review or be concerned with QTD totals or even YTD totals when implementing, this is certainly a “cleaner” approach.  And if your solution includes both benefits administration and payroll, your team may want to consider going live in a quarter that is not super close to open enrollment.

Once you have assessed agreements, considered payroll tax filings and open enrollment, it is the perfect time to map out a HR technology evaluation timeline. We would suggest you start at the end goal and back into your ideal go-live date using two scenarios, 2 months and 5 months for implementation.  And if you are a larger organization or an organization that leverages multiple areas of functionality within HCM deeply, we recommend planning on a 6-12 month implementation, vs. 2-5 months.  Regardless of the implementation period, working backwards, your timeline should include the following:

  • Time between executing a contract and the implementation kick off meeting (2-4 weeks for midsize companies, 4-6 weeks for larger organizations)
  • Your best estimate on time needed to review or red-line agreements before executing, which on average is 2-6 weeks
  • Time to validate specifics with your provider of choice or finalists, processes and features within areas of functionality, in order to verbalize your final provider of choice, which is likely 1-4 weeks depending on the level of complexity
  • 2-3 weeks for scheduling two rounds (total of 4-6 weeks) of provider platform demonstrations
  • 2-4 weeks to identify 3-5 providers to evaluate
  • 2 weeks for a thorough discovery and preparation of requirements
  • And add in 6-8 weeks IF your organization requires or desires an official RFP process, and you will need to build out the RFP and decide on and incorporate any weighting and scoring

This may seem like more time than is needed, however a slower methodical approach is more likely to lend to better outcomes. Regardless, we recommend that you map out the timeline that works best for your organization, reflecting on other projects and duties, as well as your contracts, departmental preferences and your level of satisfaction with your platforms in your HR Tech ecosystem.  Then it is equally important to adhere to the timeline or adjust as you get ahead or behind schedule, keeping your team on task.  If you would like assistance evaluating HR technology or feel this will be an initiative for the near future, please do keep in mind that Hickok & Boardman HR Intelligence offers clients full HR technology selection support. And lastly, if you do not want to change platforms, however help is needed advocating for configuration expertise, or customer service attention, H&B can support you in this capacity as well.  We look forward to learning more about your HR technology initiatives!