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July 19, 2021 | Talent Management Software | Posted by Ascentis Thought Leadership

How to Shop for New HR and Time and Attendance Solutions

Deciding on purchasing new human resources and time and attendance technology is a big deal for any organization. After all, your HR and time and attendance functions impact virtually every aspect of your business. Landing on a software solution that reflects the needs of your workforce and your organization as a whole can make a tremendous difference to employee engagement, workplace safety and your bottom line.

All of that said, there are dozens of workforce management (WFM) software and human capital management (HCM) software options on the market, with more options joining the field all of the time. With so many potential providers making so many similar claims, it can be difficult to pinpoint the solution that works best for your organization's particular needs. We've put together a few key areas of focus that every prospective purchaser should explore before making a decision on your next HR system.

Questions to consider when buying a new HR solution:

What are your organization’s goals?

Before you begin tracking down a solution, it's important to have a clear understanding of what problems you're trying to solve. A busy manufacturing facility with hundreds of full-time employees, freelancers, and contingent workers will have very different HR and time and attendance needs than a small business with a few dozen full-time staffers, after all. When deciding which solution works best for your business, it may help to compile a list of specific questions, including:

  • What are your main objectives? Are you looking to cut down on unnecessary overtime hours? Reduce turnover? Ensure compliance with federal, state, and local regulations? Automate mundane timekeeping tasks? Different providers are stronger in different areas. Finding one that caters to your specific needs can make all the difference.
  • Does your business have special requirements? Does your organization employ a seasonal workforce? Do you need to abide by a specific set of union rules? Do you have facilities in multiple states or countries? Being certain that your HR solution can handle the specific needs of your business is crucial before making a decision.
  • What will successful implementation look like? Even though you're at the beginning of your search, it's essential to have an idea of what the end will look like. Establish a set of key metrics such as payroll accuracy rates, employee retention rates, productivity levels, or any other measure that reflects success for your particular business. If your new solution doesn't get you to those goals by the end of a certain period, or if your provider is not committed to guiding you through the steps of a successful implementation, it may be time to look for another.

What budget are you working with?

It may be the most obvious consideration, but it's also maybe the most important to resolve early in the shopping process. Knowing how much budget you have to spend on a new HR software solution can not only eliminate some pricier options right out of the gate, but also help you to zero in on the features that are most urgent to your organization. If more efficient scheduling management is at the top of your priority list, for example, you may wish to find a provider who specializes in that area, with an option to add on more HR features as it becomes feasible.

How many employees does your organization have?

There's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all HR solution. The size of your business has a major bearing on which providers will best suit your needs. Just as a small HR start-up is probably not equipped to handle the workforce needs of a giant enterprise business, a huge WFM company may not be the best fit for managing a midsize or small business. Look for a solution that is not only suited to your current size, but also adaptable enough to scale along with you as your business grows.

How are your employees categorized?

The modern workforce doesn't look quite the way it did not so long ago. With more and more organizations employing a mix of full-time employees, part-time employees, contract and contingent workers, and freelance workers, having HR and time and attendance solutions that allow you to classify and manage each category appropriately is a necessity. That flexibility is also important for businesses that employ workers in multiple locations, including remote employees.

What are your specific compliance concerns?

Automating compliance is a key consideration when choosing a new HR solution. Be sure that your system is adaptable enough to handle not only federal regulations like the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Affordable Care Act (ACA), and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), but also all relevant state and local regulations, and any guidelines specific to your particular industry.

What industry-specific considerations do you have?

Along similar lines, don't assume that a solution will be equally suited to every industry. A busy manufacturing plant will have different HR and time and attendance needs and goals than a small long-term care facility or a midsize construction operation. Your software solution needs to be customizable and adaptable enough to serve your specific business in your specific industry.

  • What tools do you need to integrate with? More than likely, your new HR system won't be the first one your organization has ever invested in. Your business has all sorts of processes and tools already in place that will be impacted by your new investment. Your new solution needs to be flexible and customizable enough to integrate easily with your existing tools and processes without disrupting the flow of work. For instance, a new time and attendance system needs to be able to integrate and communicate smoothly with any existing payroll software your organization has in place.
  • What data do you want to analyze? An updated human resources information system (HRIS) isn't just a way to better manage your day-to-day HR functions. It's also an opportunity to collect and analyze the data your workforce generates every day, and to apply that knowledge to your future workforce management efforts. Your new solution should include a customizable data analytics dashboard that gives you easy access to reports on time and attendance, productivity, health and safety, and any other data that can help your HR team perform their jobs more effectively and efficiently.
  • What are your service and support needs? Even if you've invested in the most advanced solution on the market, at some point you're going to need to contact customer support. As crucial as your HR and time and attendance systems are to the everyday operations of your organization, you're going to want a customer service and support system that you can trust and rely on. In an organization where minutes matter to your bottom line, you need to know that your support team will be available when you need them. If your provider offers dedicated service representatives, all the better.

Have you done your research?

Some aspects of shopping for a new workforce management solution aren’t that much different from shopping for any other online purchase. It always pays to do as much research as possible into customer reviews, company reputation, full product offerings, and any other topics that can help you make a sound and informed decision about your new solution. Whenever possible, ask for a demonstration of any potential solution and how it will integrate with your current system. If a provider can’t provide a demo, they may not be the best fit for your organization.

Shopping for a new HR management system is a daunting task no matter how you go about it, but we hope this checklist offers some useful insights into a few of the specifics that will impact your purchase. Ultimately, you know the needs of your organization better than anyone else. Be sure to keep that front-of-mind while making your decision, and don't settle for a provider who can't measure up to your specific needs.

Ready to see what Ascentis HR and time and attendance software can do for your business? Contact us for a demonstration today!


With more than 35 years of experience in providing Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, Ascentis thought leaders have become a respected source for insights, tips, and innovations in the Human Capital Management (HCM) space.