Choosing the Right HR System: A Step-by-Step Guide (Part 4)


In this blog post, we’ll explore step 5 of the HR System Selection Process – Process Mapping. Learn how to dissect your chosen area, ensuring a clear understanding of its intricacies, and make informed decisions about the HR systems that will best support your organization’s needs.

Why Process Mapping Matters

In most cases, HR system implementations begin at this step. By the time your team gets involved, the organization will have already decided what area they want to focus on. While not ideal, it is better to start late in the process than not at all so don’t be discouraged if you don’t have the opportunity to go through the earlier steps. This is a useful exercise for all of HR, whether you are considering a new system or not. Process mapping reveals surprising insights for team members, as they may not be aware of all aspects of the process beyond their specific responsibilities. It not only shows potential areas of improvement but can also improve communication and teamwork among the teams.

Process Map your Area of Focus

With a well-defined area of focus from the earlier steps, it’s time to create a detailed process map that outlines the current workflow, interactions, and pain points. The goal here is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the current state, which will ultimately help you in selecting an HR system that addresses your organization’s unique needs. You will be focused on naming pain points in the current system or process and defining what the ideal state should be for this process.

To start, gather a cross-functional team of individuals who are knowledgeable about the area of focus. This team should include representatives from different departments, as well as subject matter experts who can supply valuable insights.

Once the team is assembled, follow these steps to create a process map:

  1. Define the start and end points: Clearly identify the beginning and endpoint of the process. This will ensure that the team stays focused on the area of interest and does not stray into unrelated processes.
  2. List the steps: Break down the process into individual steps, capturing every task and decision point in the workflow. Be as detailed as possible to ensure a thorough understanding of the process.
  3. Label interactions: Decide where and how the process interacts with other processes, systems, and departments. This will help you understand the dependencies and potential bottlenecks in the current workflow.
  4. Highlight pain points: As you map the process, make note of any inefficiencies, redundancies, or other pain points. These are the areas where an HR system could potentially make the most significant improvements or places where internal processes need to be streamlined.
  5. Document the process: Create a visual representation of the process map, using flowcharts or other diagramming tools. This will serve as a reference point for the team and help communicate the process to others. In my experience, this has worked best by hand using whiteboards or easels. If you are meeting virtually, there are several tools with interactive mapping features. Two that I have used are Zoom Whiteboards (Zoom Whiteboard user guide – Zoom Support) and Lucidchart (Intelligent Diagramming | Lucidchart). Zoom Whiteboard is available with premium accounts. Lucidchart allows minimal features for free but requires a subscription for advanced features and large charts. At this point in the process, you are creating a very rough draft of the process so don’t worry about making it look perfect. Below are a couple sample images from an actual process mapping exercise I went through for an Onboarding system (Please excuse my handwriting).

As you can see the notations are simple and are intended to capture overall flow and any notes or processes that may fall outside of the flow.

  1. Validate your rough draft and create a final process map. See the example below for Wizard Technologies.

Case Study: Wizard Technologies, Inc.

Let’s revisit our fictitious company, Wizard Technologies, Inc. as they walk through this process:

  1. They assemble a process mapping team including individuals in HR responsible for entering data in HR, the HRIS support team, departmental administrators who help process new hire paper before it gets to HR, and members of Payroll and IT who take part in the process.
  2. For the starting point, they begin with the point that the candidate accepts the offer, and a start date is set. Anything before this point is getting into the realm of recruiting. They set the end date as the approval of the electronic processing form in their HRIS as this is the last step in the new employee being ready to start work.
  3. They list out all the processes including things like compiling paperwork, creating the employee ID in the HRIS, generating the processing form, and data entry.
  4. The team notes where paperwork is sent from the candidate to the department then on to HR and where data is transmitted via email or through a system.
  5. Some of the pain points listed include the disconnect between the departments and HR. There is often a long wait between the paperwork being completed and HR getting and verifying the paperwork. Additionally, errors are often found in the paperwork once HR receives it, requiring them to return it to the department for corrections.
  6. After several meetings, they can build this process map which shows how the different processes interact and note specific errors, considerations, and questions about the process.

Tips for Effective Process Mapping

There’s a wealth of information on process mapping, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed by trying to capture every detail or use all the correct symbols. The following tips will help you stay focused and make your map understandable to the team:

  • Use simple symbols and use them consistently. The symbols I’ve found the most useful are rectangles for tasks, diamonds for decision points, and arrows denoting connection. In technology workflows, I also like to use a different symbol for paper processes.
  • You can use tools like swim lanes or color coding to distinguish which person or team is doing what task.
  • Keep a clear and logical flow, either from left to right or top to bottom.
  • Keep it modular. If there is a piece of the process that is more complex, map that process separately and note it on the main process map.
  • This is an iterative process; you may have to get the team together several times before you come up with a final product.
  • Validate the map with everyone involved in the process to ensure accuracy.


In this blog post, we have explored the importance of process mapping in the context of HR system implementation and supplied a step-by-step guide for creating an effective process map. By assembling a cross-functional team and following a structured approach, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of the current workflow, interactions, and pain points in your chosen area of focus. This knowledge will enable you to make informed decisions about the HR systems that best support your organization’s needs.

We also shared practical tips for successful process mapping and supplied a case study of a fictitious company, Wizard Technologies, Inc., to illustrate the application of these concepts. As you embark on your own process mapping journey, remember that it’s an iterative process that may require multiple meetings and input from various stakeholders. Keep the focus on simplicity and clarity, using consistent symbols and a logical flow to ensure your process map is both informative and easy to understand.

As you move forward in your HR system implementation, you’ll be well-prepared for the next step – building requirements. Stay tuned for Part 4 of this series, where we will guide you through finding and prioritizing the specific features and functionalities that your new HR system should have to effectively address your organization’s needs.

In the meantime, we encourage you to share your process mapping experiences and insights with us in the comments section below. And don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for updates on this series and other valuable HR-related content. Happy process mapping!


HR Process Mapping: Definition, Benefits & How to Map – Pipefy

Essential Guide to Business Process Mapping | Smartsheet


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