RFP is an acronym for Request for Proposal. They describe a project that needs to be completed, evaluate guidelines and ask qualified vendors to submit a proposal to complete the work.  RFP’s are used to encourage open bidding for goods and services and should be used in a situation where you have an intricate set of requirements and you want to know how one or more of your potential vendors can meet your requirements.

Writing an RFP for a New HRMS


An organization will usually start off their search for an HRMS by inviting a few vendors to demo their systems. You need to be prepared to answer specific questions that a vendor may have for your organization during the demo. Some obvious questions that will come up (and you should have an answer for) are:

  • What is your budget?
  • Why are you looking for a new HRMS? What prompted your decision?
  • Will your HRMS need to include payroll?
  • What technical platform will the HRMS be on?
  • Do you have an implementation plan? Do you have a team in place?

A detailed needs analysis is a great start to writing an RFP. It forces you to review the items you need to include in the scope of the project. This is your “must have” list and it’s critical to the process. Normally, this work is often done by an HRMS consultant who can help identify your requirements, prioritize and document them in a way that HRMS vendors will recognize and respond to.

When writing your RFP, describe your specification with as much detail as possible. Topics covered should include: how to install and setup the system, what training is included, security controls and what reports can be generated from the system. It is also important to differentiate your “must have’s” vs “nice to have’s.” in your document as well as a deadline given for vendor responses. Inform your vendors of your timeframe in which you will review responses and when a decision is expected to be made.

Once your RFP is complete, you can then distribute it to your selected HRMS vendors either yourself or through your HRMS consultant. If you are using a consultant during the RFP process, they can also help you compile and evaluate the responses received.

While compiling all of this information to create an effective RFP is a lot of work, the quality of responses you receive will save you time in the long run.

Related: The Benefits of HRMS Software to Small Business