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Find new talent and nurture existing employees with the help of HR software

How to Make the Business Case for HR Software [Free Presentation Template]

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You’re getting left behind. Your competition has the best and brightest new recruits, the strongest performance reviews, the best understanding of their employees. They know how to motivate, how to eliminate productivity drains, and their staff is thrilled with their HR family.

What do they know that you don’t?

It might be that they have a technological edge, one that you could have, too, if only you knew what you needed and how to get it.

You know that your company is ready and in need of something to help ease your HR burdens. You know that… but does your boss? Convincing the management to make a software investment is no small task. But buying talent software can be a long and difficult process with way too many choices, daunting price points, and long implementation times. Buying in can be a risk—especially if your boss isn’t sure that your company needs to make the investment. Of course, every business has its nuances, but there are a number of clear signs that an HR department is ready for talent software.

Luckily, equipped with the right tools, you’ll find yourself more than capable of tackling the challenge. Here’s how to gather the info you need to explain to anyone why HR software is necessary, beneficial, and totally doable.

HR software business case

What does your business need?

The first step is figuring out what tool, if any, you actually need. Consider some questions to help determine what you might need:

  • What are your company’s pain points?
  • Are you a small business looking to expand with high-quality talent?
  • Are you struggling to keep up employee engagement?
  • Are you looking for a way to lighten the load on a small HR staff?
  • Maybe you need a way to improve your performance reviews?

Whatever it is, every business has its pain points. Once you identify what yours are, you can begin looking into the software that can help. A business looking to improve recruitment and hiring might look into an applicant tracking system. A business worried about employee engagement can find software for just that issue. To ease the burden on a small staff, consider a talent management software. Bump up performance reviews with performance management software.

There’s a technological answer for most HR business issues.

The question then becomes, do you really need to buy a new software? Would a free software work? Or does your problem not actually call for software at all?

To tackle the first point, I will never sit here and tell you that a paid solution is always better than a free or open source solution. There are many high-quality free software options on the market today, and they are often just as comprehensive, secure, and powerful as their paid counterparts. What matters is your specific needs. When you answer those questions above, you will gain a better understanding of what you need to look for. So start looking, and worry about the price point later. If a free software solves all your issues, there’s no reason it would be a less attractive solution just because it’s free. Keep an open mind and worry about budget as a secondary.

For the second point, what if your problems really can’t be solved with technology? When this is the case, don’t go looking for a software anyway just out of habit. All it will be is a band-aid over a larger problem. If your problem is really about company culture, or management choices, or the current state of the market, no amount of clever software is going to fix it for you. If you take steps to fix the problem and still think that software would be helpful, it will still be there waiting for you.

If you’re not sure what your pain points are, or are looking for ways to articulate them, take this quiz:


Welcome to The HR Management Pain Point Quiz!

You won’t get a grade back for the pain points quiz. Instead, the pain points quiz is a short series of questions designed to get you thinking.

Finding the pain points in a business is a tricky prospect.

You might think that finding the pain points would be easier from inside your own company, but working from within can actually make your view more complicated.

If you want to find what your company’s problem is, answer these questions. Take your time, think carefully, and consider sending the quiz to a few other people you work with to see what answers they come up with.

If you answer all of the questions, find a pain point and think well duh, excellent! The more familiar your pain point is, the easier it will be to find a solution. After all, you need to know what the monster is before you can find a way to kill it.

1) How would you describe your biggest people-management frustration?
2) What HR issue does the head of your company bring up the most?
3) How would you describe your current expenditure on HR technology?
4) Which of these best describes the most time-consuming part of your job?
5) In relation to your company size, how many users regularly access your current HR technology?
6) How many users do you expect to access your updated HR ecosystem?
7) Have you considered how much your company is willing to invest in improving their HR technology?
8) Which of these worries you the most?
9) What type of issue often comes up at leadership meetings?
10) What do you feel is holding back your company’s growth?


What features should you look for?

Consider those pain points again. If your problem is high employee turnover, the solution could be better onboarding, more nuanced performance reviews, and/or closer performance tracking.

If your problem is a poor applicant experience, the issue could be fixed with a cleaner interface, a more sophisticated keyword search, or faster email auto-responses. One problem can have as many solutions as there are problems, and only research can tell you which fix is right for you.

I’d suggest conducting your own research along with market research here. Send out a survey to whatever group your new software is meant to help. Find out the pain points they experience and how they think these problems could be fixed.

Be as specific as possible. If you have a few problems with straightforward solutions, you could be looking at a dozen or more software programs that all do a fine job of fixing it. And while that’s great, it isn’t very helpful in narrowing down your list. Find the most niche, specific problem you have and zero in on it. Perhaps you need software that manages employee performance at a restaurant. Maybe you need an ATS that helps store ten years of files and you need a program focused on easy storage. Maybe you have a unique program you use and your talent management software must integrate with it.

Once you have your most niche issue, you can widen the net from there. Your goal is to end up with one or two must-haves, and five or six nice-to-haves.

What does market research say?

Market research makes it clear: talent software helps the bottom line.

HR software is some of the most widely used software out there today. 84% of the top recruiting and hiring companies use an ATS. Talent management software reduces employee turnover, and may protect your business from a downsize. It can even increase productivity while increasing employee engagement. Talent software has a huge impact on business success, with a 95% satisfaction rate.

Even if it means a slightly larger up-front investment, talent management, performance management, and applicant tracking software can be hugely helpful in the long run. If you don’t believe me, believe the real people who found solutions in software.

Maybe you’re like Apex Systems, who used a CRM software called Bullhorn to improve their client experience. Software allowed Apex to be proactive instead of reactive; as a spokeswoman said, “We’re able to be much more proactive. We’re able to plan much farther down the line.”

Or maybe software will allow you to cleanly manage nearly 40,000 employees, like the SAP SuccessFactors software used by Jaguar Land Rover. Their hiring speed shot to a 46% improvement while becoming more diverse and more in-line with Jaguar’s overall business strategy.

You could even be like Dave & Busters, who used smart workforce software from IBM to improve their applicant tracking, hiring process, onboarding, and employee performance tracking. Dave & Buster’s wanted to make the hiring process more fun while making it more standardized across their many locations; one software solved both problems.

Hear more from the users themselves:

How can you find your top three software options?

If you’ve identified your pain points and how to fix them, you’re on to the easy part. Now your biggest problem is having too many options.

Take the list you’ve created of pain points and potential fixes. Use a talent software directory to find the software features you want. Don’t be afraid to get choosy in the search-narrowing functions. It’s easier to start from a small pool and go wider than it is to sift through a giant pool of options.

“But Halden, what about the cost?”

I hear you. I know I touched on the possibility of going for a free talent software above, but what if you find the perfect software and suffer from some sticker shock? How are you going to justify that cost to your boss? Keep in mind that software often saves or even generates money for your company, even if it has a price tag. Demonstrate this by calculating the ROI, or return on investment of the product. Finding and presenting the ROI is a way to show your boss that you’ve done your research and are convinced that this software is a good choice for your company.

For further research on the topic, check out this article on how much HR software costs, and watch this video on typical ATS pricing. You can also check out our talent management and applicant tracking software pricing guides.

Further resources

Say you’re convinced but your boss isn’t quite there yet. We’re here to help. Check out our list of frequently asked questions to answer what people most want to know. You’ll also want to see our essential ATS buying guide; even if you’re going for another type of Talent software, you’ll see solid information on the software buying process.

Best of all, you can use our software case builder template to make your own case for the software you need. 

Looking for Talent Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Talent Management software solutions.

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About the Author

Halden Ingwersen

Halden Ingwersen writes about HR and eLearning at Capterra. She’s a graduate of Agnes Scott College and a TEDx presenter. You can follow her on Twitter @CapterraHalden, just don’t get her started about her zombie survival plan.

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