The HR and Recruitment industry is flush with incredible technology. As I have mentioned on numerous occasions I always feel like a little kid in a candy store when I get introduced to new software. The idea mill starts churning like mad when I’m immersed in a product demo or talking strategy with senior executives of software vendors. However, 95% plus of the people in HR and Recruiting that I speak to on a daily basis are not equipped to truly source the right solutions for their organizations. In fact, many heads explode and don’t know where to start, and this is a problem.
The impact of the perception of too much technology in the market has created a paralysis effect among technology buyers — they simply do nothing and maintain status quo using whatever solutions they are currently using, or not using anything at all when they know they could and should be. The thing is I can’t really fault them because if they do attempt to sift through information found on Google on which platforms might be best for them they’re often left more confused than when they first started. I often get confused too with a lot of what I read contradicting each other.
But, have no fear because as I always recommend to existing clients and people in my network, make sure you have access to someone who understands the HR/Recruitment technology industry, the platforms and most importantly, how to effectively evaluate each solution and find the one (or more) that make the most sense for you.
Below is a guide on what to consider when buying new software for mid-to-large organizations.
Free is Usually NOT the Best Option
A common strategy among technology vendors to gain traction in the market is to give away their software for a “free trial”. This may appear to be 100% risk-free but there are more drawbacks that you need to consider. First, new technology implementation requires extensive change management in order for it to work well. Simply flipping the “go live” switch on new software will more than likely fail over the long-term. New technology should and will have an impact on your business practices. They will need to change with the new technology, and this takes a great deal of investment from the software provider and internal resources, notably the users. Further, top software vendors provide the proper level of implementation and ongoing success support that you need — typically those that offer free won’t offer this support up front. Why? Support costs the vendor money that they don’t have when they’re giving away stuff. You need to have some “skin in the game” when it comes to technology because if you don’t what incentive will there be on your part to do everything possible to stick with often difficult change management? None.
Impact On Your Work Flow
A new piece of software usually effects a change in your existing process, and this is important to keep in mind. It is critical that before you invest you evaluate the effects of the technology. Will it hinder your process or enhance it? For example, if new technology will now require you to do manual downloads and uploads in order to have access to the right data, what’s the point? This is a step in the wrong direction and a cue in your decision-making process on investing in new technology.
Integration with Other Core Platforms
One of the key goals of a suite of HR/Recruitment software is for them to be integrated via 1 single data source. What this means is they all need to continuously talk to one another. For example, I worked with a client a few years ago to help them adopt new HR software — performance management and learning management tools. The problem that I encountered was that these 2 modules didn’t talk to each other — users were required to sign on to 2 different landing pages and the organization was required to have 2 different data sources fueling both modules. What’s the point of this? This was a huge headache for this organization, and was the primary reason why they were struggling with user adoption. Users hated it because these systems did not integrate. Make sure you assess integration abilities with your existing software. If it passes the test you will save a lot, and I mean A LOT of money, headaches and time down the road.
Flexible User Experience
In an age where we work from anywhere it’s crucially important that software can effectively run on smartphones, tablets and regular computers. If I am traveling and I want to quickly review video interviews that a group of candidates recently did I can easily do so with my smartphone in an airport. Or if I need to pull up a document I was working on in the office I can easily pull it up using a cloud-based file management platform like Dropbox, Box and Google Drive. Further, the ease of use of the software is important. If the software is confusing to use then that should be a red flag. Of course there is a learning curve with any new technology but I am talking about longer term. Simple interfaces, quick processing, and well-designed software is mandatory. If you are required to complete 15 steps to access a document and it takes 30 minutes to do it then you know it’s not the one for you.
Customer Service & Support
In a growing organization you will always have issues with new technology, regardless of the amount of training users go through. Make sure you evaluate the level of support software vendors will provide you after the contract has been signed. If all they’re doing is giving you access to their software without helping you implement it, adopt it and manage ongoing change management then do NOT invest in it. Leading vendors will provide a team that will help seamlessly implement and provide ongoing support to ensure success of the platform. Also inquire about turn-around times on service requests. If it takes 2 weeks for providers to respond to your inquiries, that’s a problem.
Track Record of Results
People know that I am a fan of HR/Recruitment Tech start-ups. However, the solutions they provide are not necessarily appropriate for larger organizations. It’s a case by case situation, and often times if you are looking for technology that is going to have a significant impact on your organization then one of the key considerations is the track record of the vendor. Ask for case studies, a list of customers and customer contacts that you can speak to. Leading vendors will willingly introduce you to existing customers to support your decision-making process. I also suggest looking at industry research through Bersin By Deloitte, Brandon Hall Group and others, as they often do analyses on features, implementation, product types, etc…
Vendor Financial Health
I can’t stress this enough. You want to do business with stable and healthy software providers. If you are looking at a start-up product, have a look at the track records of the Founders and what kind of venture capital (if any) they are secured. Protect your technology investment by doing business with a provider that is going help you succeed for the long term.
Investing in new HR and Recruitment technology is a huge investment, and it’s important that you go through the right process to identify the right solution for you. This is a glorious opportunity for HR to create huge value to their organizations by making the right technology decisions. Just make sure you do it right!