Why You Shouldn’t Buy HR Software: 4 Excuses and 4 Rebuttals

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Very little in life is risk-free, and buying HR software is no different.  Next time you propose buying a new HR system, you may find a whole range of objections. However, if it’s your job to keep improving how HR is working in your company, you’ll need to overcome such objections.


There are, typically, four main excuses given for not investing in a new system.  What’s the best way to convince your colleagues otherwise?

1. Too expensive

Expensive is relative.  A poor orphan may find that a coffee from Starbucks is too expensive, but the same coffee barely registers on Donald Trump’s list of expenses.  So, is it expensive or not?

What you need to do is to re-frame your colleague’s objection. You need to demonstrate that the business will achieve a great return in a timely manner from the investment in the system.

Sometimes it’s straightforward to work out a financial ROI. You can point out how much time is saved, how churn will be reduced and how effectiveness will be increased. At other times you may need to show the non-financial value.  For example, knowing who the key people are who can slot into vacant roles quickly.

Whatever approach you take, you need to show a clear ROI.  If you can’t, then your colleague is right and you shouldn’t invest in that particular system.

2.  Not a priority

In every business, there seem to be a thousand things that need doing without the time to do them. Somehow, HR systems are seen as non-critical and are easily bumped down the priority list.

The best way to address this is to ask your colleague what your business’s most valuable asset is and what the biggest cost to the business is. Also, ask what’s going to make the difference between achieving this year’s targets and missing them.

Your colleague should answer ‘people’ to each of those questions.

The cost of employee turnover can be anywhere from 30% to 150% of that employee’s salary.  People are typically the biggest cost and are almost always cited as the company’s best asset. What’s more, the difference between hitting and missing targets can always be traced back to the creativity, drive, enthusiasm, and effectiveness of your people.

Given the critical role of people in your organization, it’s a natural step to persuade your colleague that enabling them to be effective and efficient is truly a priority.

3.  Software moves too quickly, let’s wait for the next version

On the face of it, this seems a very fair and true objection for not buying HR software. It’s true that technology moves quickly and the next version will most likely be better and quicker.

The problem is that this is true of most things in life. However, for a business to succeed, it can’t afford to avoid investing in technology just because there is something better round the corner.  All you can ever do, and what you must do, is to make the best decision you can and future-proof your investment as best you can.

Consider also that you can buy software so flexible that it can be changed easily if, say, your competency framework changes, or the organizational structure changes.

4.  It’s bound to be a failure

Every month brings a story in the news about a major government IT project that’s either gone over budget or has failed to deliver on its promise. It’s hardly surprising that cynicism is expressed when a new investment in technology is recommended.

Happily, there are more successes than failures. Talk with prospective software vendors to get customers of theirs similar to you who have had success with the system.  Identify the many successes and benefits that have come to the business as a result. Investigate what it was about them that made them a success. Then, re-assure your colleagues that you will follow a similar process for selection and implementation and that you should all have confidence that you will enjoy success from this particular system.

People are naturally nervous about change.  However, by being able to challenge these typical objections, you should be able to persuade even the most hardened cynic saying you shouldn’t buy HR software that your HR system should be given the green light.

Looking for Human Resource software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Human Resource software solutions.

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About the Author


Heather Foley

Heather Foley is a consultant at etsplc.com, a UK-based HR consultancy.



I would like to comment on your point “Software moves too quickly, let’s wait for the next version”
I agree with the fact that technology is changing very fast. You will be getting newer and better HR software options. But please analyze what are you losing during this waiting time? Waiting for better in an infinite loop.
Best solution is, chose for the flexible software options. To companies having good customer service and are reliable to provide you better software solutions in future. I am using HR software from a company called Kalosoft software, their software is hr cube.

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