Meet the HRIS Comparison Tool: Your Software Selection Secret Weapon

Meet the HRIS Comparison ToolLooking to upgrade your HCMS or HRIS? Then you already know how much work it takes to compare and contrast the many options on the market. That’s why we created our HRIS Comparison Tool and HCM Quick Search Tool—to help you expedite the research process and give you an easy way to match your requirements with a short list of vendors.

In this article, we’ve put together a summary of the categories and questions in our survey tool. The tool itself contains a comprehensive list of features and options designed to hone your requirements list based on the capabilities available with today’s HR software solutions. It’s the most efficient way to narrow your options down and identify the top vendors who can meet your needs. 

As you work through the list, evaluate each item based on your current processes as well as your goals. What is working for you now? What would you like to improve? How do you expect your new software to add value to your HR department and to the organization as a whole? Our comparison tool will help you drill down to a granular level on these questions and more.

Ready to meet your HR software selection secret weapon? Let’s get started.

Define Your Parameters

Before you tackle the survey, we’ll ask you to answer a few questions about your company to help us create the best vendor matches for you. These include your country, industry, and number of employees. We’ll also ask you to indicate the following preferences:

Product Purchase Options

Saas (Subscription service)
Licensed Purchase

Deployment Options


If you're unsure what direction you want to go with your new software, we've written some helpful articles that talk through the various options in more detail. Check them out here:

Human Resource Information Systems: In-House Solutions vs. SaaS
Public Cloud, Private Cloud, and Hybrid Software: Who’s In Your Sandbox?

Core Features

The bulk of the survey comprises a standard list of core features and additional options available from vendors. Take your time ranking these options, because we will use your answers to create your short list of vendors that best match your requirements.  If you’re using our Quick Search Tool, you’ll simply select which top-level features you’re looking for from a grid:

HRIS Comparison Tool Features


If you’re using the full HRIS Comparison Tool, you’ll see a much more detailed list of questions, including descriptive notes to help you differentiate between various HRIS applications. Simply rank each question using our 5-point ranking scale:

HRIS Comparison Tool ranking scale

In some cases, if you rank a question as a 2, 3, 4, or 5, a series of sub-questions will appear so you can choose the specific features most important to you.

Let's take a look at the questions you'll be asked to consider: 


New payroll software

  • Automated Tax Discovery/Geocoding - automatically determines state & local tax rates based on employee's address
  • Wage attachment processing - voluntary & involuntary, garnishment & levy
  • Payroll tax & reporting for multiple companies with multiple state and local jurisdictions
  • General Ledger Reporting/Interface - creates a general ledger report configured to import directly into your accounting solution

Integration with your existing payroll software

  • Information flow goes BOTH directions (e.g., when entering wage garnishments in payroll you'll need it to flow back to the HRIS)

Expense Management

Expense management capabilities

  • Expenses can be entered from a mobile device
  • Expenses can be entered via a picture of the receipt

Employee Self-Service

Employee Self Service (ESS) – Employees can access their data and make changes online

Benefits Administration

Benefits Open Enrollment – Automated process where employees can enroll for benefits online

  • Self-service tool which provides the employee guidance through the process of making changes
  • Automatic benefit valuation updating due to changes in employee status
  • Pre-programmed non-discrimination benefits testing - ensures plans are not discriminatory

Automated benefit eligibility based on your individual rules

Pre-calculated employer matching

Pension processing

FSA/HSA Administration

Hidden paycheck benefit statement (show your employees exactly how much you pay for their benefits)

Ability to track benefit and leave time accrual (military leave, family leave, etc.)

Talent Management

Online Performance Management - allows automation of your review process

  • Online review form management with workflow and manager approval levels
  • 360 degree feedback
  • Real time tracking - frequently updated reviews allowing for swift improvements
  • Stack ranking - slots a certain percentage of employees into each of several levels of performance, e.g. 20% top performers, 70% avg and 10% unproductive
  • Employee coaching notes
  • Performance Rating
  • Talent cards, profiles or employee "snapshots" - allowing employees to find experts, make connections, recognize peers, etc.

Workers comp employee tracking - attendance, claims, injuries & training to meet government requirements

Advanced Features

Compensation Management - users can set compensation adjustment tasks & assign them to colleagues for approval, includes data-based reports on a variety of values (cost of living calculations, job market pricing, total compensation analysis reporting, etc.)

Succession Management - foresee talent gaps with predictive analysis, measure retention, design development plans, identify & promote talent, gain insight, etc.

Position Control - Tracking of data related to positions rather than employees, such as salary grades, job descriptions, training requirements, requisition details, hiring costs, etc. (may all be attached to an individual position)


Recruiting/Talent Acquisition Capabilities

  • Branded, self-service applicant portal - applicants can apply for open positions, upload resumes, check status, update profile, etc.
  • Applicant mobile access to the recruiting system
  • Jobs post to an internal career board, job center or career page
  • Job openings push to external job boards
  • Video interviewing capability
  • Ability to create applicant 'position-specific' surveys to use for preemptive screening of online applicants
  • Filter applicants via user-defined criteria – skills, licenses, experience, education, etc.
  • Score applicants based on screening, interview, references, testing, and survey data
  • Run background checks
  • Full range of recruitment reports - length of time job open, number of applicants, where best hires are coming from, etc.
  • Searchable database


Ability to add dynamic content such as videos, photos, documents & web content to your branded welcome screen

Employee access to their welcome screen via a mobile device

Personalized pre-boarding page that introduces the company, connects new hires, displays notifications, suggested activities, etc.

Automated notification to internal team members to complete new hire tasks, such as adding network permissions, ordering hardware like laptops and phones, and scheduling new hire training

Ability to create, assign & customize forms to specific groups, departments or employees

Time & Attendance

Attendance Tracking

  • Mobile method of time entry and validation
  • Automatic pay/time bumping through seniority accrual levels
  • Employees can be assigned to specific time groups which combine various processing rules - e.g. lunch, breaks, shifts, holiday, work day, job costing rules, etc.
  • User defined categories for job reporting in addition to time reporting
  • Notifications of coverage gaps, labor law violations, & excess spending
  • System pushes out compliance reminders relative to corporate rules/regulations
  • Shift premium calculations based on a specified amount per hour, flat amount, or % of employee pay rate
  • Physical Time Keeping System - includes hardware such as biometric hand readers, swipe cards, barcodes, mag strips, scanners, key fobs, etc.
  • Designation of job vs chair positions
  • LBS-based tracking that can pinpoint the employee's location/real-time activity stream for workforce tracking (location-based system)

Paid time off tracking and leave accrual

Online scheduling calendar which everyone can see instantly

Learning Management

Ability to identify employees by specific job skills

Tracking of compliance training

Tracking of continuing education hours or units

Access to eLearning content delivery

Training goals and achievements automatically flow to performance review data

Employee Engagement

Deployment of employee surveys

Motivational elements such as challenges, badges, leaderboards, gamification elements, etc.

  • Engagement Analytics - track & measure employee engagement & the impact of various programs/initiatives 

Ability to build teams, facilitate communication among team members & monitor project completion

Social Activity Stream - blogs, discussion forums, wikis, photo albums, video support, shared files, etc.

  • Social Analytics - User trends, user demographics, views by content types, top influencers, most viewed, most searches by role, division, function, etc.

Multiple Community Hubs with activity streams based on type. (Role-based, Program-based, Tenure-based, Special Interest, New Hires, etc.)

Global Support

Multiple currency data support, including simultaneous display of preferred and local currency

Global payroll capability

  • Automatically generate regionally specific offers and employment agreements
  • Career center, job boards & any self-service portals localized into other languages

Technology/System Administration

Intuitive, engaging interface design

Open API - Application Programming Interface making 3rd party systems integration easier

Compliance with external security certifications

Ad Hoc Report Writing in real time

Built in benchmarking data refreshed monthly - compares your metrics to the 'norm' within your size, geography, industry, etc.

Organizational Charting

Automated email alerts - ability to provide automatic email notifications on important dates within the HR database

Custom Screen Development

Ability to import and export data

E- Forms - allows for the storage and the populating of fields from HR database into pre-formatted fields

Triggers or Automated Processes - Field changes trigger an automatic process that may include displaying a screen, displaying a message, running a report, assigning a task to a manager or sending an email

Implementation & Support

Custom sandbox environments for implementations prior to “go-live”

Managed parallel processing runs

Designated support representative

Regional or On-site Client Training

Live webinar training sessions/Virtual hands-on training sessions

Embedded FAQs

Searchable help topics within the platform for employees


Our Comparison Tool is far more detailed than the Quick Search tool and we included description notes on many of the questions related to HRIS applications.


  • Do you need an interface between your existing payroll system and your HR software?

Payroll Sub Questions

  • Hosted or subscription
  • In house Payroll
  • Outsourced Tax Filing
  • Outsourced Check Printing

Employee Self Service

Employee Self Service Sub Questions

  • Employee vacation leave request with Manager approval
  • Pay history, print advices, etc
  • Workflow management
  • Multi - Level user defined approval levels
  • Manager Self Service
  • Have Managers approve employee time sheets
  • Life Events


Benefits Open Enrollment

  • Will you need interfaces between your HRM Application and your Benefit Carriers?
  • Will you provide employees with Total Compensation Benefit Statements?

Performance Management

  • Do you need to track employee reviews and due dates?

Performance Management Sub Questions

  • Online review form for Management and workflow and Manager approval levels
  • 360 Reviews
  • Competency based employment development plans


Recruiting Sub Questions

  • Ability to post requisitions on major job boards
  • Screening questions
  • Testing and results
  • Applicant Self Service

Training Management  

  • Are you looking to only track dates that employees took classes and when they are next due?      

Training Management Sub Questions

  • Ability to track required courses by Title
  • Ability to track programs and CEU's
  • Online tests
  • Tracking of trainers, equipment, and facilities
  • Employees are able to view course catalogs online and enroll online for courses

Additional HRIS/HRMS Product Options

  • Email Alerts
  • Succession Planning
  • Compensation Management
  • Position Control
  • Organizational Charting

Time Entry & Leave Accrual

  •  Ability to log time online
  •  Need for a rules based physical time keeping system

Time Entry and Leave Accrual Sub Questions

  • Calendar based reporting
  • Automatic bumping through seniority accrual levels

Additional HRIS/HRMS System Features

  • Ad Hoc Report Writing
  • Job and Pay History
  • Salary Grade Analysis
  • Employee Notes


  • Custom Screen Development
  • User Defined Fields 
  • Ability to import and export data
  • E-Forms
  • Triggers and Automatic Processes

Purchase Options

  • Subscription Service (aka Saas or PEPM)
  • Licensed Purchase
  • Licensed Hosted
  • Outsourced

That's it! It takes most users about twenty minutes to work through the survey and receive their custom list of vendors. You may also want to use our list to create your RFP or to compare vendors feature-by-feature in a spreadsheet. 

If you're ready to take the survey, head on over to our HRIS Comparison Tool page to get started.

If you're looking for more resources to help you in your research process, check out our HRIS Buyer's Guide where you'll find an in-depth look at the ten steps we recommend you follow as you research, compare, and select your next HR software platform. 


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