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There is no such thing as a “Bad”​ HR system

Some of you may be sat there thinking well actually Matthew, I’ve come across loads of bad HR systems. Here is where I challenge you.

These HR system vendors spend months and months trying to create and develop their system in their own unique way. This right here is the key thing to remember, this is based on their research, their system platform and what they think is best.

Not every HR system is going to be right for you and your organisation and what worked for you in one organisation, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for you in another.

I also challenge you to think why do you think that system is a bad system, OK some are prettier to look at than others and others have “more clicks” to perform a certain task but actually there is no reason why you should think that a HR system is “bad”. In my opinion there are only a few reasons of what would have impacted your experience and led you to think a system is “bad”:

1) Lack of knowledge in the team – people will have moved on after the implementation and the knowledge of the current team might not be as informed as the previous members, this isn’t anybodies fault it’s just something that happens. To minimise the risk of failure this is where Training Guides that are detailed and kept up to date are absolutely key.

2) The implementation wasn’t successful – successful doesn’t mean that you have gone live on your go live date, successful is does the product now match what was scoped out in your requirements. Was there any hiccups along the way during implementation, Did something come to light that meant you weren’t able to implement one of the features. Is the system fully functional? At the end of your implementation a lessons learned exercise is something we recommend as best practice to see what went well and what went wrong.

3) The system doesn’t match your organisation – So many times I see posts on LinkedIn or forums that say “does anyone have any good HR system recommendations” . Is this the best method to find a system? Organisations are unique and no two are the same so what works for Joe Bloggs over at XYZ company won’t necessarily work for you. Yes it’s a good way to get names of a system to reach out to but there are tools out there that can give you a more specific list of systems that are suitable for your organisation e.g The System Selection tool that Phase 3 offer ( . Whenever implementing a HR system a full requirement scope and a system selection project is an absolute must. I think the thing to remember when implementing a HR system is to take your time, make sure you’re getting all of the steps right. Our website has an eBook with the 12 steps to a successful HR system implementation:

4) Processes are out of date – there are two sides to this point. Firstly, a common mistake when implementing the new piece of HR software is to mirror the processes in your previous system. This is an absolute NO. Use this time to update your processes, make them and the way the system work together in cohesion. Don’t try to implement something that doesn’t work in that system or else you will forever be fighting an uphill battle. Secondly, a HR system is like a car, you wouldn’t leave your car without putting fuel in or cleaning it or taking it for a service (at least I hope not). A HR system is the same, you can’t just leave it alone, It needs constant development, it needs to change as you change. Always look for a vendor that is wanting to grow their system with you. So often I see an organisation that implemented a system 3 years ago and they’re still using the same process as they did when they implemented the system, but actually the organisation has moved on from then and the HR system has been left behind.

5) Our employees didn’t like it – well this is a short one and quite simply, if the above points aren’t right then your end users aren’t going to like it and not see it as a tool. Whilst the majority of end users use a HR system to get their payslip or book a holiday, how easy have you made that process for them. We often implement a system without thinking about the end user, yes it is a tool and there are teams who will spend more time using the system but if the end user isn’t bought in to using the system correctly it will cause no end of issues for the administrators who manage and use the system on a daily basis.

So in short, there is no bad HR system, there are just ones that work for you and ones that don’t. Sometimes you have to sacrifice aesthetics for functionality, sometimes you have to tweak your processes to match a system. Sometimes you might have a bad experience with a vendor but that still doesn’t mean the system is bad. Maybe after you’ve looked at all these options it’s time to look at another system.

This blog was written by Matthew Ramm, Business Development Executive at Phase 3.

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