Article: 5-point checklist to select the right HR software (and mistakes to avoid)

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5-point checklist to select the right HR software (and mistakes to avoid)

Using the right technology to aid your HR team is a game-changer. The keyword here is ‘right HR software’.
5-point checklist to select the right HR software (and mistakes to avoid)


Technology spend in 2022 is expected to increase significantly over 2021 in more than 50% of companies across the globe (SWZD report). However, when it comes to implementing new technology, especially for small companies, the HR department and purchase of HR Software often get the least priority. ‘Business-driving’ verticals like sales, marketing and customer support get greater focus when an organization is trying to scale its business.

That’s why the following stats from McKinsey’s report come as no surprise:

“82% percent of companies think they don’t recruit highly talented people.”

“Only 23% of managers and leaders believe their acquisition and retention strategies will work.”

The same report also points out that

“Superior talent is up to 8 times more productive.” 

If this is the case, shouldn't the HR team focus more on recruiting the right talent to push business growth drastically? How can they when most HR are buried neck-deep in paperwork and routine follow-up tasks in the virtual work environment?

Using the right technology to aid your HR team is a game-changer. The keyword here is ‘right HR software’.

While we’re there, check out the difference between HRIS Vs HCM Vs HRMS.

A wrong choice can leave you with weeks and months of busy work to set up the software and no significant benefit. This article will help you make the right choice.

Here’s a simple 5-point checklist to help you select the right HR software for your business.

  1. Functionality
  2. Flexibility of the system
  3. User Complexity
  4. Cost
  5. Setup time

  • Functionality:
    • Answer the following questions first:
      • What HR problems are you trying to solve? For eg: absence management and leave tracking, recruitment, payroll etc.
      • How would you prioritize these problems in terms of urgency, workload, relevance to your business?

    • Now, when you start evaluating some software options, check for these
      • Does the software have modules that answer all your problems?
      • What depth does this software offer on the modules most important to you?

Pitfall #1: Oftentimes, software that claims to solve a set of varied problems might not have the best depth and feature functionalities.You might be better off picking a cocktail of specialized software that focuses on a few problems, starting with the ones that are most important to you.

  • The flexibility of the system:
    • This one is an important check.
      • How rigid or customizable are the workflows in the software you are looking to purchase?
      • Does it fit in with your organization’s processes and policies? Or would you need to modify your processes (like hiring process) to fit the software?
      • As your organization grows, does it allow scope for customization or does it come with heavy workflows that don’t suit your organization size and needs?

Pitfall #2: New-age software is built for the customer. In most cases, workflows should be flexible and easy to configure from the admin panel. But if the software is completely out-of-line with your organization’s processes it’s a red flag. If the support team claims they can ‘set it up just for you’, run the other way without looking back because there’s a bleak chance that they can manually customize the entire product for you in reasonable time. You don’t want to be stuck with making your organization’s processes adapt to the system instead of the other way around.

  • User Complexity:
    • This might get missed while considering the product but feature this in.
      • How many hours of training is needed for your team before they go live with it?
      • Is the software intuitive enough to enable quick adoption?
      • Does it leave you better off than before or does it add complexities to the existing process?

Pitfall #3: Any system might need some initial time to get used to but after that, the learning curve and adoption efficiency should go up significantly to justify the cost and time spent in implementation. The worst thing that can happen here is for you to implement the software and your team considers it an added chore to navigate the system instead of considering it an enabler to improve their efficiency.

  • Cost:
    • This seems like a no-brainer but don’t just ask for the product quote. Instead check for the following
      • What’s the costing model - is it based on user-count, subscription or license-based?
      • Is it a one-time purchase fee with maintenance costs? Or is it a subscription with all upgrades and maintenance included?
      • How do you see the user count increasing in the near future as you scale and how would that affect costing?
      • Are there any hidden costs for setup, training, add-ons, support etc.?
      • Does it need an additional recruit to learn and manage the tool full-time or does it replace the need for a few extra HR associates by automating HR work?
        Check out how you can automate up to 75% of your recruiting workload using the right HR recruitment tool

Pitfall #4: This is a standard checkpoint but make sure that the too-good-to-be-true price offered to you doesn’t come with strings attached. Ensure that the pricing works for you even when you are scaling up rapidly. Some products offer tiered pricing plans for different levels of complexity and org size needed which make decision-making simple.

  • Setup time:
    • Setup time is often overlooked but the most important factor in the HR software checklist. Always consider:
      • How much time would it take for the system to go live? Any recent references of duration taken for other customers?
      • What needs to be configured to make all the modules you need fully-functional for your team?
      • How long is the configuration process?
      • By which date will it be ready for your team to use?

Pitfall #5: People err in checking for setup time much more than you realize. Absolute clarity on setup time is crucial. Skipping this check or getting only partial clarity might lead to being stuck in limbo for weeks, months or years waiting for some modules to be set up and losing precious time in the process. 

Caution! Long setup times (#5) along with lack of flexible workflows (#2) can easily become a deal-breaker. An HR transformation consultant shared her experience on how the lack of a specific timeline for setup of a modified workflow cost her client more than a year and a huge upfront payment and they finally had to settle for a substandard workflow and tweak their processes to fit the system to avoid further delays.

So to sum it up, here’s your handy checklist:

Check for




Software with depth and ease of functionalities most important to you

Software with shallow modules/ features with claims to do it all


Customizable workflows that can be suited to your needs by the admin

Rigid clunky workflows that need a technical person’s assistance

User complexity

Simple and intuitive UI with minimal hours of training for user efficiency

Significant training and testing to configure the system before use


‘No-strings attached’ cost with any system maintenance or upgrade included giving justifiable ROI

Hidden fees like recurring maintenance costs that hike up total cost of ownership

Setup time

Defined system configuration timelines with shorter time to go-live

Obscure timelines for go-live with customization requests in pipeline


Easy customizable software built for growing businesses like yours

Legacy HR software with age-old rigid configuration and long implementation timelines


Finally, good HR software should be easy to purchase and set up, easier to train and use while also being easy on the wallet. It still remains that problems with HR software are unearthed only once starting to use it. So check for HR software with free versions to test if it crosses all the boxes in your HR software checklist before you decide to pay for it.

‘It’s a sight for sore eyes’ - that’s how one Freshteam user described Freshteam’s HR software. Free 21-day trial period with no credit card required and a ‘no strings attached’ absolutely free lifetime version for basic use of small teams. Give Freshteam a try for free before you decide.

About Freshteam:

Freshteam by Freshworks is smart, intuitive HR software that creates moments of delight for HR, employees and candidates alike by managing hiring, onboarding time off and employee data - all in one place. Freshteam has strongly been vouched as the right HR software by more than 7000 companies around the world. You can take a demo of Freshteam to check if it is the game-changer you need.

This article by Freshteam is built on the original article that first appeared on Freshteam. 

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Topics: HR Technology, #HRTech

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