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Untangling Your Human Resources Information System (HRIS)

Understanding Your HRIS Can Increase HR Efficiency

Years ago, when HR technology software was developed in-house or off-the-shelf products were highly customized, the phrase used to describe what was uncovered during system migration projects was “spaghetti code.” Spaghetti code is the system logic added over many years for which the start and end are difficult to identify, much like its namesake.

Today’s cloud-based applications shield from the underlying spaghetti code of the past but the systems landscapes, over time, can start to resemble that same thing across different platforms and a myriad of integration points. The spaghetti can be overwhelming and cause problems as employers look to unwind their HR technology systems and implement updated systems without breaking something.

To untangle the sticky strands of Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) without breaking anything, consider taking the following steps:

  1. Inventory your systems.
    An essential first step is to list every application or software tool your team supports. A System Diagram is an excellent tool to visually capture the systems and interactions between those applications to help teams think about complex issues.Ready to dive deeper? Consider documenting processes and data flow using Data Flow Diagrams or Cross Functional Diagrams, starting with the most critical HR processes. A Cross Functional Diagram illuminates not only historical requirements (aka "tribal knowledge") but also is helpful to clarify roles and responsibilities, tease out unwritten policies and serve as an input for capturing procedures.
  2. Layout a strategy.
    "Overwhelming" is often the first response we hear from clients facing the need for significant HRIS changes, especially when the organization is entrenched in disparate practices and software. Untangle the complexity with a proven success strategy.
    • Engage your stakeholders early.
    • Initiate tough conversations and agree to shared objectives.
    • Next, create opportunities for demonstrable wins by dividing the work into logical steps that limit the number of data translations and interface changes. This approach not only reduces the number of potential failure points but also decreases testing time and builds team and stakeholder confidence.

  3. Hire the right people.
    Even the best-laid plans will fail without a qualified team. And by qualified, I don't mean people with a list of certifications behind their name (although they may have them). Experience is the best teacher. Having "been there and done that" allows team members to anticipate challenges and avoid common mistakes. It also enables them to communicate more effectively with stakeholders, understand their needs, and explain concepts in terms they can understand. Learn more about the effectiveness of your recruiting strategy by Measuring Your Recruitment Success.

Whether you are building a high-performing HRIS team or need consulting expertise for the next big project, look for individuals with technical know-how and the experience to deliver.

If you find yourself needing additional support, contact our highly qualified, "been there and done that" HR Technology Consulting team who are passionate about helping our clients succeed in unraveling their spaghetti!