Are you thinking about investing in a new HR technology? You certainly aren't alone.
More and more, organizations are looking to automate various business processes - with a lot of emphasis placed on HR functions. This makes sense, considering the pivotal role things like payroll and employee administration play in organizational performance and productivity.
In fact, according to research conducted by Deloitte, a whopping 92 percent of companies are trying to restructure in a way that enables them to better support a new digital culture.
HR software and tools aren't a cure-all for the issues currently plaguing your company. Without a doubt, they can and should be used to help streamline operations, eliminate costly redundancies and improve the overall workflow. However, the simple act of purchasing and implementing a new HR technology system isn't, in and of itself, enough to guarantee you realize all these benefits.
Blending HR technology with strategy
What do you need to ensure your investment is worthwhile? For one, do your research and thoroughly vet the tool to ensure it's suitable for the specific needs of your organization. What works for one business may not for another - so don't automatically assume that just because something is popular means it's right for you. But perhaps more importantly than thoroughly vetting the technology is vetting the vendor providing it.
As The Society of Human Resources Management pointed out, business and HR strategies are merging, with HR starting to play an increasingly important role in key decision making, especially in regards to IT. Therefore, it's imperative that HR managers have strong working relationships with technology providers.
For HR departments to maximize productivity, enhance efficiency and reduce costs, technology alone is not enough. Seeking expert guidance in applying the technology should also be a priority.
Being a business professional, there's likely no need to reiterate to you how significantly vendor relationships can affect a product or service. Below are some of the most important questions to ask HR technology providers before committing to work with them:
1. Do you have any organizations similar to mine currently using your solution?
There's probably a decent amount of information on the provider's website highlighting some of their biggest clients and some raving customer testimonials. But don't assume that this is all that's available on the subject. Asking them directly about the types of customers they've worked with in the past, particularly ones that are not only in your industry but also face the same obstacles you do, can help you pin down more concrete answers.
Additionally, doing so gives the provider the opportunity to dive deeper into explaining different use cases of their product and solution that they may have otherwise falsely assumed you knew about. You may even learn that there are benefits and advantages to their offerings you didn't consider before that may be valuable to incorporate now.
2. How do you define and measure client success?
By getting a better idea of what the provider uses to constitute its own success, you'll likely be able to catch a glimpse into the kind of experience you can expect when working with them. It shows you where the priorities lie. It also helps you see how their key performance indicators may (or may not) align with your own goals.
3. Do you offer any add-on services?
When you first set out to invest in a new HR technology, you probably (hopefully) have a pretty good idea of what type of solution you are looking for and what you plan to use it to solve. However, it's essential to keep in mind both your immediate and future needs. In this ever-evolving and rapidly accelerating world of HR, business and IT we now live in, organizations that maintain a flexible, agile and scalable strategy are ultimately the ones with the most competitive advantage.
This is why you'll want to inquire about any add-on services and features the technology provider offers. It would be comforting to know that, though you may not need the services now, there are products available that you will have the option of tacking on to your existing agreement when the time comes.
4. Is your pricing transparent and inclusive?
There's nothing worse than thinking you're getting what you're paying for, only to find out that you're actually paying a lot more than what you thought for what you're getting. Asking direct and straightforward answers about the pricing structures of an HR tech provider is one of the most important steps to take before agreeing to a new solution. Too often, organizations find themselves strapped into a contract, paying hidden fees and add-on expenses they didn't realize they would be faced with from the get-go.
5. What kind of strategic guidance and support can I expect?
When you're shopping around for a technology provider, avoid getting overly wrapped up in the product itself. As we've touched on, to provide your users with the best possible experience, you need a blend of technology, service and strategic guidance - as it's the combination of these three things that will arm you with the expertise and agility needed to truly excel. Too often, businesses find after it's too late that the vendor disappears once the software is implemented. You don't just want a provider - you want a partner, someone who is going to be there even after they've run your credit card information, to help you get the most out of your technology platform.
6. What makes you different?
Every company has something that makes them distinct from their competitors - or at least they should! Whether it's an innovative feature included with their product or a motto that fuels their mindset and initiatives, it's important to find out what makes this provider particularly worthy of your attention (and money). Don't be afraid to ask the hard questions and put them on the spot. Thoroughly vetting potential vendors is the only way you can ensure you choose the best one for the job!