HRIS Assessments and Recommendations

Is Your HRIS Working for You? Part 2

In my experience, HR professionals understand the value of an HRIS system but are often frustrated because the system doesn’t do all it needs to. Sound familiar? You aren’t alone.

In my first article on human resources information systems – “Is Your HRIS Working for You?” – we explored why systems aren’t working optimally and how to know when to enhance your existing system or implement a new system. In part 2 of this article series, we examine how to assess your HRIS and get recommendations, including a game plan, for moving forward.

What an Assessment Includes

When working with clients, our PBO Advisory team starts with a full assessment of the existing HRIS through three lenses: operations, talent, and strategy.

Additionally, we look at the client’s current and future needs and budget requirements. The result is a thorough and detailed recommendation as to how our clients should proceed to gain maximized results from their current system(s) or recommendations as to the purchasing and implementing a new system(s).

This is not a process that results in a brief summary with links to product recommendations.

Clients receive an assessment that details all findings, an executive summary, and a road map to help guide them through the steps needed to navigate improvements to an existing HRIS or replace it.

The HRIS assessment includes a detailed look (through operations, talent, and strategy lens) into your setup, workflows, utilization, costs, pain points, and compliance in these modules/areas:

  • Company set up: An assessment starts here. An incorrect setup can disrupt all business functions in your HRIS, which impacts compliance, reporting, accounting, and other key functions of your company.
  • Talent processes: From hire to retire
  • HR compliance: Federal, state, and local
  • Workforce management: Time cards, LOA, time and attendance, etc.
  • Payroll: Wage statements, 401k, garnishments, etc.
  • Digital documentation: Reporting, personal action forms, etc.
  • Integrations with other system: Accounting, external systems, etc.

Internal vs. External Assessing & Implementing

No one knows the current state of your HRIS like your internal team. Users understand the capabilities and flaws, and how to work around the inefficiencies. Does this mean that an internal team is the best to do an HRIS assessment? In a few cases, the answer might be yes. For others, outsourced firms should be used if organizations determine they need subject matter expertise, or their internal teams do not have capacity to move a project forward.

How can you tell if your internal talent should handle an assessment and/or an implementation? Here are a few questions to ask:

  • What is your business strategy and how would it align with an HRIS system (I.e. reporting to make informed business decisions on people)?
  • What is the team’s experience? Do they have the skills to analyze the needs of your HR systems both today and in the future and then connect the two? What is the level of implementation experience, which requires many more skills than being a user of a system?
  • What is the team’s exposure to multiple HRIS systems? Do they know what is available to them and where HRIS technology is heading? Can they integrate multiple systems to optimize results?
  • Does your team have the time to complete an assessment and/or implementation? Chances are they are probably spread thin trying to keep up with their current job demands. Assessing and implementing can take many hours a week and several months to manage.

Finding Resources

If you determine that utilizing an outside company is the best option, here are a few points to consider before signing a contract.

  • In-depth vs. Band Aid approach: If a company suggests an assessment that simply evaluates your current system, keep looking. As detailed above, an assessment should be thorough, detailed, and encompass much more than just the current system.
  • HRIS experience and more: Ideally, your HRIS should integrate with other company processes, primarily accounting. Look for a provider that has experience in multiple professional disciplines and systems.
  • Some or all of the process: An assessment should result in a recommendation that involves implementing fixes to your current system or an entirely new system. Can the company handle both? Some companies only assess. Other companies only implement. You should work with one company that can handle all your needs.
  • Working alongside your team: HRIS advisors will need the assistance of your staff. In some instances, team members may be able to handle implementation tasks while your outside provider is the project manager. Regardless of the roles, you need to be sure who you hire is a good fit for your company and the individuals with whom they will work.

Unique Expertise

In anticipation of writing this post, I thought through the projects the PBO Advisory team has worked on. I am continually impressed with our level of expertise. We were one of the originators of the assessment process. While we adapt assessments – and implementations – for each client, the foundation is the same: thorough, detailed, and results oriented.

Our company started in the finance and accounting services arena and expanded into HR and human capital services. This background allows our team to look at projects from multiple perspectives and evaluate needs accordingly. We can also blend different functionalities, increasing the value of an HRIS across the entire company.


In the next article in this series, we’ll share the three most common outcomes of the assessment. Readers will likely recognize their own challenges. We’ll also detail how to implement the changes needed and the opportunities for expanding your HRIS so it is truly working for you.

Justin Hall, MBA is a consulting HR director at PBO Advisory Group and HRIS Subject Matter Expert (SME).

If you would like more information about assessing and improving your HRIS, please contact Justin.

Justin Hall, MBA
Consulting HR Director