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Your Simple Guide on Comparing HR Software

4 November 2019 7 min read

One red and one green apple side by side

It’s finally happened. One of the HR systems you use has driven you up the wall. Maybe it was because it took you 2 hours to complete a task that should take 5 minutes, the constant moaning from system users, or just the fact that you have outgrown your current system and it’s no longer fit for purpose. Whatever the reason, you need something new.

Finding new software for your business is a daunting task, especially with the sheer number of businesses providing similar solutions. How do you even begin to distinguish the differences between these systems, and which one is right for you?

Confused women holding piece of paper


First, take your time. Don’t just jump in and pick the first HR software you find. This will undoubtedly come back to bite you when you realize it doesn’t live up to your expectations. You need to take your time, really weigh up the pros/cons and complete a full comparison analysis. Don’t just take a couple of demos, have a little think about which one you like, then go with that one. Really dive deep and explore what these systems have to offer.

Think about everything you want the system to do. Not just the main features you need, the minor ones that also help. Next conduct a bit of research. Look at multiple systems, check they meet your requirements, look at the cost, and finally how happy their customers are. Once you have all this information, then you can take a demo or trial the software.

By completing your own analysis and comparing multiple systems before taking a demo, you won’t waste time demoing systems that are not fit for purpose.

To help you compare different HR software, we have created a free comparison guide that you can download below.

System comparison guide download


Prior to comparing

Before you jump in and start using our free HR software comparison guide, there are a few tasks you need to complete first. This will give you everything you need to compare and pick the perfect system for you.

1. Create a requirements list

First, you need to make a list of all the requirements you need in the new system. From the major aspects, all the way down to all the small areas. Don’t miss anything out here. Remember, you don’t want to pay for a system that later down the line doesn’t do everything you need it to do. Take your time and really think about absolutely everything you want it to do.

Use plain English where you can and not terms like, “Track sickness”. This is a very broad term and doesn’t drill down into exactly what you need. There are a lot of systems that can track sickness, but it may not be able to track sickness in the exact way you require. Try starting the sentence with; “I want” or “I would like”. These will help you determine the different areas.

I want to track sickness by individual employee
I want to track sickness by teams
I would like to see all the different types of sickness, like stress, anxiety, flu

To make sure you have a full list, ask your team, your colleagues, even your friends. They might be able to give you a few ideas that may have missed.

2. Manage and organize your list

Once you have your full list, however many different requirements you have written down, it is now time to put them in order. You want to put them into priority order. From your ‘must haves’, which are features the new HR system absolutely must be cable of doing. All the way down to the ‘would likes’, which are features you would like the system to have, however, if they aren’t there, it’s not a deal-breaker.

By ordering your requirements list, you can easily compare the different providers using our software comparison guide. Starting at the top and working your way down. We would also suggest that you try to group similar topics as this again will make it easier to see the difference between various providers.

3. Research and find potential HR vendors

The final step you need to complete before using our free software comparison guide is to find a handful of providers to compare. You want to research around 3-5 different providers. Look at their website, reviews, and maybe a few demo videos.

You don’t need to go into too much detail at this stage, just get an overview of each software product and if you think it would work for you.

Using our software comparison guide

You have a list of everything you want the new system to do, these are in priority order and you have found a handful of different HR vendors to compare against. Now you can start evaluating them using our guide.

Our software comparison guide will help you pick a couple of front runners, which you can then take a trial or have a demo from.

How to use our software comparison guide

1. Add vendors: Using the 5 spaces along the top, add the different providers you have chosen to look at.
2. Add your requirements list: Using the different sections down the left, add your list of requirements you want from the system.
3. Check off your list: Call the businesses and simply asking them everything on your list, ticking off each one as you go along. Add the score at the bottom.
4. Get full cost: Whilst on the call, ask the provider about the cost per month/year and if there are any additional costs you need to pay.
5. Read reviews: Read some reviews and put their average score in the corresponding boxes.
6. Demo system: Once you have narrowed down your selection, take a demo and make notes.

1 to 5 are very easy tasks and won’t take you long to complete. However, in number 6, demoing the system is a bit more than just a tick exercise. You may not need to demo all the providers as some just don’t match your requirements, the ones that do, however, you need to look out for 3 key things.

User-friendly: Does the system look like it will be easy to use or is it hard to follow and understand how it works. If it’s clunky and outdated, then the uptake on it from employees will be poor.

Innovation: How often the system receives updates? Does the business have a product roadmap that shows any future developments? Has it been a long time since it was last updated? Ensuring the business is constantly looking to improve the software and innovate, will ensure the longevity of the system.

USPs: Ask the consultant for other features or functionality that sets them apart from the competitors. Again, there may be a few areas you have missed from your list that may help you.

Selecting your new HR software

All that is left is to pick a winner, which should be a doddle if you used our comparison guide. Simply see which system received the highest score, who had the highest review score, which provider gave the best price, and what system you liked the best.

The next stage of this process is getting sign-off for the new software, which can be a difficult task. But don’t worry, your helpful team here at Edays has this covered. If you are not the decision-maker and need to get a sign-off, check out our guide on how to build the perfect business case.


We hoped this guide has helped you pick a new HR software. If one of those systems is a new absence management system, please feel free to call us on 0333 300 3403 and ask as many questions as you like.

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Katrina Bennett People Director at edays
November 4, 2019

Katrina is edays' own People Director with significant UK and international experience in delivering people strategy and value-adding HR solutions across a range of organisations and sectors (including Arriva, Boots, Rolls Royce, the utility and charity sectors). Katrina has over 20 years of experience in Human Resources and is CIPD qualified.