HRIS Evaluation Template and Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right Software

HRIS System Evaluation Templates
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Allie Blackham

Marketing Content Manager

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Updated January 23, 2023

Since a small business HR system has a lot of moving parts, you need an organized process to make an informed choice. An HRIS evaluation template can help.

But first, let’s start with the basics of HRIS systems

What is HRIS?

A Human Resources Information System (HRIS) is a type of business software designed to help organizations improve productivity while meeting basic HR needs. The software category includes both on-premise and cloud-based platforms, although cloud-based is becoming more common.

An HRIS may include any (or all) of the following functionality:

  1. Hiring and applicant tracking
  2. Onboarding
  3. HR management (core HR)
  4. Time and attendance
  5. Employee scheduling
  6. Payroll
  7. Training and development
  8. Performance management
  9. Benefits management


HRIS software is similar to a Human Resources Management System (HRMS) in that both can manage various functions of HR. However, certain functionality may not be available in an HRMS that is offered in an HRIS and vice versa. In the HR software industry, these terms are often used interchangeably to describe similar HR software platforms.


Another acronym that may come up in your research on HR-based systems is HCM, which stands for Human Capital Management. The term refers to the set of practices used to manage human capital (or the people who for an organization). However, HCM platforms are common and typically share a number of features and functionality with HRIS and HRMS platforms.

How can an HRIS benefit a business?

A Human Resource Management System can dramatically improve Human Resources management. If it’s set up correctly and has high user adoption, it can boost productivity, engagement and retention. If you’re researching HR software, you may have the following goals:

  • Automate each HR function
  • Reduce the HR administrative burden
  • Increase operational efficiency
  • Reduce labor costs
  • Provide insight for better workforce management decisions
  • Make it easier to comply with ever-changing state, federal and local employment laws
  • Minimize compliance risks
  • Provide employees with self-service management of their HR data

Use our ROI Calculator to learn how much you can save with automated Time and Labor. 

Choosing the Right HRIS System: How do I use this template?

Our evaluation template lists the features/tools in the left hand column. The second column describes the benefits of the feature and the problems it solves.

We’ve organized the templates into three core HR areas:

  1. Recruiting, Applicant Tracking and Hiring
  2. Employee Onboarding and HR Management
  3. Employee Timekeeping and Scheduling

It’s helpful to use a separate template for each core HR system you review. As you evaluate different HR information systems for small business, mark the checklist column or give a weighted score for how well the feature works.

Do I need an HRIS, HRMS, or HCM?

Human Resource Information System (HRIS), Human Resource Management System (HRMS), and HCM (Human Capital Management) are all terms for similar HR software systems, each with a distinct focus. However, in the software tech market, many systems have similar features. For this reason, don’t get hung up on acronyms. A business owner or HR department should choose a solution based on features and benefits.

HRIS Software Evaluation Template #1: Recruiting, Applicant Tracking and Hiring

Check out your HRIS options for recruiting, applicant tracking and hiring functions.


Feature/Tool Benefits
1. Job requisition templates 1. Formalize your recruiting process
2. Ensure all stakeholders sign off on each new hire

2. Job description templates 1. Build a library of job descriptions and manage them in one place
2. Ensure all members of the hiring team use a compliant, approved job description
3. Single sign-on job board posting 1. Save time posting
2. No need to remember logins for each site
3. Can be cheaper than individual accounts
4. Pre-screening questionnaires with knockout questions 1. Quickly isolates a pool of qualified candidates to engage with
3. Especially important for high-volume hiring
5. Branded recruitment marketing 1. Ensure your job advertising blends with your overall marketing
2. Strengthen brand identity
6. Job board analytics 1. Track the number and quality of candidates by job board to better target ad spend
2. Stop paying for job boards that don’t perform
7. Resume Parsing 1. Search by job title, skills, qualifications, work experience or location
2. Create candidate profiles that all have the same format
3. Quickly find qualified candidates in a large database without manually sifting through resumes
8. Automated Applicant Workflows

Build an applicant workflow using stages: Application Received, Do Not Pursue, Schedule Interview, Interview Confirmed, Make Offer, Background Check, etc.
1. Standardize your hiring process
2. Make sure everyone on your team is following the same process
3. Identify hiring bottlenecks by tracking applicant time per stage
4. Use stage change triggers to automate tasks including emails (described in detail below), background screens, reference checks, hiring team task reminders
9. Email Templates and Stage Change Email Triggers 1. Create email templates for each stage of the hiring process with merge fields so the software can add the candidate’s name, job title and other information
2. As you move the candidate through the various stages, each stage change will trigger an email, e.g. “We’ve received your application,” “We would like to schedule an interview,” or “We have chosen another candidate but thank you for applying”
3. Improve the candidate experience by providing frequent updates
4. Reduce abandoned applications
10. Recruitment Texting 1. Text candidates right from the software
2. Store all texts in one place
3. All members of the hiring team can text as if from the same person
4. Texts can include a link to a questionnaire or interview calendar
11. Structured Interview Scripts 1. All applicants are asked the same questions in the same order
2. Create a library of interview scripts and update as needed
3. Reduce bias and support EEOC compliance
4. Better for identifying soft skills
5. Ensures the interviewer covers all the important topics
12. Interview Scorecards 1. Ensure each interviewer is thorough
2. Speed up the interview feedback process (it’s important to not let the interview process drag on because a competing employer with a faster process could extend a job offer to your top candidate before you have a chance)
3. Help prevent bias
4. Measure hard and soft skills
5. Easily collaborate with your team
6. Help differentiate candidates with near-identical qualifications
7. Improve the candidate experience
8. Save time when runners-up are considered for future positions
13. Mobile-friendly 1. Many jobseekers only use a mobile phone in their job search
2. Employers with a mobile process have an advantage over companies with paper-based HR processes

Evaluation Template #2: Employee Onboarding and HR Management

In the past few years, employee onboarding has become a hot topic for HR leaders. Research confirms that onboarding is tied to employee engagement and retention. Businesses with a great onboarding process have lower turnover and happier employees. In addition, a well-designed, efficient onboarding process helps the Human Resource team. 

Evaluate your HRIS options for employee onboarding and HR management functions.


Feature/Tool Benefits
1. Digital New Hire Portal

1. An easy way for new hires to complete paperwork and enter employee data
2. New hires can learn about benefits in the comfort of their home and discuss with a spouse or significant other
3. Managers can plan an engaging first day free of paperwork
2. Administrator Completion Confirmation 1. The HR team can monitor progress and send a reminder if needed
2. Admin can manage onboarding and other HR processes from a mobile device
3. Background and Reference Checks 1. Candidates enter their references on the application
2. The hiring manager can call references or send an email any time during the process
3. Background and reference check integration keeps all important information in one place
4. Administrator Onboarding Checklists (set up workstation, schedule welcome breakfast, order ID badge, etc.) 1. Ensure the new hire has a positive first day
2. Make sure nothing slips through the cracks
5. Employee Check-ins (pulse surveys) Make it easy for managers to connect with their team members (this is especially important for remote teams)  
6. Employee Recognition Wall 1. Any employee can give kudos to any other employee
2. Make it easy for employees to recognize co-workers outside of their team
7. Anonymous Suggestion Box 1. Allows employees to give honest feedback without fear of retribution
2. Can expose dishonest, illegal, or unsafe practices
8. Alerts and Notifications 1. The HR team sets alerts connected to dates–employee birthdate, certification expiration date, or hire date
2. No need to track important dates with spreadsheets
3. Helps prevent compliance issues related to expired certifications
9. Reporting and Analytics

Run reports based on the workforce data tracked in the system including hiring, time and labor, engagement, and productivity.
1. Make better business decisions
2. Detect HR and payroll trends early
3. Measure the success of engagement, DEI, benefits usage and referral programs
10. HR File Cabinet

1. Manage the employee handbook and other documents digitally
2. Make updates in real time–everyone is always working with the latest version
3. Save money on paper and copying
4. Improve data security
5. Stop wasting time searching filing cabinets for employee records


Evaluation Template #3: Employee Timekeeping and Scheduling

Hassle-free time tracking helps employees focus on their jobs. A confusing method results in payroll errors, frustrated employees, and compliance issues. Check out software options for employee timekeeping and scheduling functions.


Feature/Tool Benefits
1. Online Timesheets 1. Collect time data whenever and wherever employees work
2. Reduce payroll processing time–import hours data directly into the payroll system
3. Protect your company in case of a wage theft claim or dispute
2. Mobile Clock In/Out 1. Simplify time tracking for mobile and remote employees
2. No need for employees to guess their work time on paper timesheets
3. More sanitary than a hands-on hardware clock
3. Verification Time Clock Integration 1. Finger verification time clock syncs with HR software for a unified HRIS solution
2. Employee-aware prompts only present logical options
3. Reduce missed punches
4. Customize time clock prompts for COVID symptom checks
5. Prevent buddy punching and out-of-schedule punches
4. Geofencing 1. Improve accountability for mobile employees
2. Managers and employee can easily tell if the employee is at the right worksite
3. Help track mileage for reimbursement
4. Track employee hours by job site
5. Track work locations for a specific employee or group
5. PTO Management 1. Employees self-service PTO on any mobile device–employees can see their accruals balance any time
2. When employees have a convenient way to request and use PTO, they are more likely to take vacations which reduces burnout
3. Do away with error-prone and time-intensive spreadsheet PTO tracking
4. Streamline FMLA compliance
5. Managers have all requests in one place–prevents requests from getting lost
6. Schedulers can see requests in schedule context
7. Helps managers treat all requests equally
8. Some systems (including WorkforceHub) can be customized for complex accruals policies
6. Employee Self-Service 1. Employees can easily see their work schedule, paystub, company announcements, accruals, benefits, and documents
2. Improve communication between employees, supervisors and HR
3. Reduce manual data entry
4. Ensure remote employees have the same access to HR and employee information as onsite employees
5. Strengthen your employer brand with the type of advanced tech and employee self service workers expect
7. Employee Aware Time Clock Interface (only presents logical clocking options) 1. Reduce missed punches
2. Prevent timecard errors
3. Make timecard approvals easier for managers
4. Process payroll faster
8. Job Codes 1. Simplify client billing
2. Streamline project management
3. Improve job bidding
9. Notifications/Alerts 1. Reduce unplanned overtime
2. Manage certifications
3. Prevent shift coverage gaps
4. Improve manager oversight
10. Schedule Templates 1. Easy to build multi-shift, multi-location schedules
2. Save time by creating standard schedules and copying forward
3. Simplify scheduling for multiple locations
4. Ensure proper shift coverage
5. Improve compliance with predictive scheduling and licensing and certification laws
6. Ensure employee safety, health and productivity
11. Shift Trade Board 1. Allow employees to trade shifts (subject to manager approval if desired)
2. Reduce over- and under-staffing
3. Set overtime thresholds or shift length limits 
4. Prevent compliance problems
5. Auto-alerts keep everyone informed of schedule changes
12. Scheduling and Shift Planning 1. Build complicated schedules faster and more efficiently
2. Employees can see their schedule online or through the app
3. Send schedule reminders in emails or texts
4. Support remote/hybrid teams/multiple time zones and/or shifts
5. Schedule deviation reports show which employees aren’t following their schedule
6. Small businesses save money by hiring part-time employees – allowing employees to choose when they can and cannot work makes scheduling easier and reduces turnover
7. Prevent double booking employees at multiple locations
8. Track skills, certifications and other pertinent employee information
9. See PTO when building schedules
10. Schedule by shift, time slot, position, or employee
11. Improve compliance with stable scheduling laws
13. Schedule Enforcement 1. Stop early clock-in and late clock-out
2. Pay employees only for time worked
3. Improve manager oversight, especially for large teams, multiple locations and remote workers
14. Overtime Management 1. Lower labor costs by limiting unplanned overtime
2. Simplify FLSA overtime compliance
15. Meals/breaks Management 1. Ensure employees clock out for unpaid breaks
2. Ensure employees take their full required breaks
3. Simplify compliance with meals and breaks laws
4. Reduce payroll errors
16. Reporting and Metrics 1. Track HR data for better decisions
2. Improve resource allocation
3. Spot payroll trends in the early stages
4. Measure the ROI of HR programs
5. Get real-time oversight

Questions to ask HRIS  Vendors

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a short list, request a live demo. Here’s a handy list of questions to ask during the demo:

1. What is the fee structure and the total cost of ownership? (Find out if there are hidden fees, recurring expenses, etc.)

2. Describe the type of tech support you offer. (Email, live support, online chat, knowledge base, troubleshooting guide, FAQs, etc.)

3. How long does it take to set up the HRIS software?

4. What training is included?

5. How do the compliance tools work? Do you update it as laws change? Can I configure for my state and local laws?

6. Does it integrate with other business software like accounting and payroll? Which ones?

7. What business size and industry is the HRIS platform designed for?

8. Is your system scalable?

9. How can I customize the system?

10. What are your data security processes?

In summary

It’s never been more challenging to manage a small business workforce. Fortunately, with the right software, you can automate workflows, improve efficiency and use employee data to make decisions. It also frees up time for an HR professional to address critical high-impact programs. These may include engagement, DEI, employee wellness, or retention. 

Good HR technology can make it happen. Therefore, use a structured research process to find the solution that will help your business succeed.

To schedule a demo with a Swipeclock HRIS specialist, visit WorkforceHub demo.

Simplify HR management today.

Simplify HR management today.

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