HRIS Software – Self Support

Those of you who hate calling HRIS System technical support departments please raise your hand. I stopped typing for a second so I could raise mine. Look, I am a fairly technical guy but yes, even I hate calling HRIS systems tech support departments. We all do. Sometimes I get the people who think I am stupid. You know, the “Is your computer and monitor turned on?” people. A few times I have actually said “Look, I know you are reading a script of steps and questions. Let’s assume I am not a complete moron and let’s skip to step ten.” Then there are the times I get the opposite extreme where the tech support guy seems to believe I am mister tech wiz and starts speaking a language I am completely unfamiliar with. “I would answer your question if I had any clue what you were talking about.” Frankly, I am getting frustrated just thinking about calling a tech support department. I am thinking about the last time I had to call Microsoft. I have to call them today for something else.

After this little rant, you might find it amusing that I started my career in HRIS systems working in a HRIS system technical support department. If you think you are frustrated during these calls, trust me, the guy or gal on the other side of the line is just as frustrated or maybe even more so. I was required to work in support for six months before transferring to another position and that is exactly what I did. Tech support is a job that wears on you. It’s hard to go home chipper when all day long people have been telling you that your HRIS system does not work. Be nice to the human resource technical support people of the world; they have a hard job. Sometimes even I forget.

These are some of the reasons that people, all of us, hate talking to HRIS system tech support departments; but what is the alternative? If you try the tips I have laid out below, you will be surprised how often you can answer your own questions or correct problems without having to go to tech support. Even if you have to call tech support, you are more informed about the problem and will be able to more accurately describe your problem than had you not researched the solution.

HRIS System Help Files – Pretty much any HRIS system you will use offers help files. Most of the systems I have viewed or tested offer extremely detailed help files. Use these; there is a lot of information in these tools.

Online HRIS system Knowledge Databases – Not all HRIS companies offer these but if your HRIS system provider does, I highly recommend accessing the service. A knowledge base is an online database of issues related to your application. You simply type a question, problem or error code and a list of the most likely answers is provided. It’s likely that when you call tech support, they will use this exact tool to resolve your issue.

Test the problem – Being a good HRIS systems support person really involves testing problems to determine the answer. If you are good at deductive reasoning or enjoy a good puzzle, this is the job for you. Let’s say, for example, you are having problems printing a report. The first question I would ask or test is if this is only happening on one computer. If it is, then it is likely a local computer problem, not a software issue. If not, then the next question is “What has changed since the printing worked?”.

Most HRIS systems will come with a sample company specifically for the purpose of allowing you to test a make believe company instead of your live data. Let’s say you want to test a new benefit or test using a mass update feature. A sample company can work great in this example. You may also find that if you need to setup a new benefit plan, a very similar plan may already be created in the sample company for you to copy from.


The big message I tried to relay with this article is calling HRIS system tech support departments does not have to be a hassle. If you research and try to solve the problem before calling tech support, you will find you will understand far more about your problem and in the end you will be far more proficient with the application.

Clay C. Scroggin has over fifteen years of experience in the human resources software industry. Clay is currently the President and owner of – a web site dedicated to assisting HR professionals with their search, selection, implementation and use of HR software. offers an extremely comprehensive HRIS selection tool, to assit you with your HR software selection process.

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