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How to write an RFP for HRIS to select the right vendor

This guide offers insights into writing a compelling RFP for an HRIS, equipping you with the knowledge to evaluate various HRIS options and make a well-informed decision.

Alexandros Pantelakis
Alexandros Pantelakis

HR content specialist at Workable, delivering in-depth, data-driven articles to offer insights into industry and tech trends.


If you’re a hiring professional or company owner considering an investment in HR software, determining the best fit is crucial. With a plethora of options in the Human Resource Management Systems market, finding the right match for your company’s specific needs can be challenging.

Sending out a request for proposal (RFP) is an effective strategy to gather comprehensive information about different HRIS solutions and understand how they align with your HR objectives.

Short on time to manage multiple RFPs? A concise overview of top Human Resource Management Systems can guide you in making a sound choice.

What exactly is an RFP?

An RFP is a formal document produced by a company seeking new software or services. It outlines pertinent questions to vendors regarding essential criteria like features and pricing.

Distribute the HRIS RFP to several vendors and evaluate their responses. This approach not only aids in identifying the most suitable software for your organization but also provides valuable insights to present to your decision-makers, essentially helping you build a compelling business case.

Steps to write an RFP for HRIS

Here’s a 5-step process you can follow when preparing an RFP, including the possible sections of an RFP for HRIS.

1. Know what you want

To choose the right system, pinpoint why you need it. For instance, if you’re seeking an HRIS due to inefficiencies in employee data management, prioritize a system with centralized information and analytics features. If your goal is improved document management, inquire about e-signature capabilities when drafting an HRIS RFP.

Identify your priorities by consulting with regular system users and those overseeing your company’s HR strategy. Ask about the challenges faced by hiring managers and their expectations from new technology. Understand the executive vision for HR processes, such as efficiency enhancements or quicker time-off approvals.

Compile a list of frequently mentioned goals and rank them. For instance, reducing new hire onboarding time might be crucial. Differentiate between essential and optional goals.

2. Develop specific requirements

If your teams highlighted the need for improved employee management and data tracking, an HRIS can offer features like enhanced employee data management and analytics.

Conversely, if executives aim to introduce a comprehensive performance appraisal system, your HRIS should facilitate streamlined performance reviews and feedback management.

Certain universal requirements for HRIS vendors include:

  • Security: Ensure compliance with data protection laws applicable to your region.
  • User experience: The system should be intuitive and valuable to users.
  • Scalability: Opt for a system adaptable to increasing demands.
  • Support services: Choose a vendor offering reliable customer support and quick respond times.
  • Existing customers: Check if companies similar to yours use the system.
  • Recognition: Check for reviews and rewards included on aggregator sites.

You may also prioritize vendors with a global perspective, business sustainability, or a robust product roadmap.

3. Draft the RFP for HRIS

Instead of overwhelming vendors with numerous yes/no questions, focus on open-ended queries. This approach allows vendors to elaborate on their system’s functionalities. For specific features like ISO certification or integration capabilities, yes/no questions are acceptable.

Customize the sections based on your specific needs and include questions addressing your unique requirements.

4. Write effective questions

Inquiries should generally focus on understanding “how” a system operates. Avoid overly detailed feature-specific questions, as functionalities can vary among systems. Here are sample questions:

  • How does your system facilitate employee communication?
  • How do you comply with GDPR regulations?
  • Do you offer system integrations?
  • How does your system manage document signing?
  • Can I build customized reports?

Ensure your RFP seeks essential information without being overly intricate. If a vendor meets basic criteria, request a demo or trial to evaluate specific functionalities or desirable features.

5. Write an introduction

Offer pertinent information to RFP respondents. While some companies provide extensive details like growth plans or market research, a concise introduction suffices. Include:

RFP purpose: “XYZ Inc. seeks an HRIS to enhance employee management and streamline onboarding.”

RFP timeline: “Submit responses by [date].”

Company details: “We’ve onboarded 50 new hires this year and are experiencing rapid growth.”

Requirements summary: “Our objectives include efficiency improvement, effective onboarding, and automated time-off management.”

Response instructions: “Provide comprehensive yet concise answers. Include resource links if available.”

Evaluation criteria: “We prioritize systems meeting at least 70% of our requirements and offering favorable ROI.”

Contact for clarifications: “Reach out to [Name] at [+010000000] or [[email protected]] for queries.”

Keep the introduction short. It’s important not to confuse respondents with unnecessary details.

6. Add space for a Unique Value Proposition

Include a query where vendors can present their Unique Value Proposition, highlighting their distinctive offerings and advantages.

7. Send the RFP and make your decision

Having researched available options, distribute the HRIS RFP to potential vendors.

After receiving responses, compare vendor answers (potentially using a scoring system). Shortlist promising vendors for the next step: scheduling demos with each to observe system functionalities firsthand. The RFP provides valuable insights, but witnessing system features in action is crucial for an informed decision.

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