“Who is the best HR software provider out there?” is a question I’ve fielded countless times in my professional life. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
Embarking on the HR solution provider selection process can be overwhelming, whether you’re seeking HCM, payroll, benefits administration or some other solution. There are countless options - how do you dig in to identify the best match?
Here at Shortlister our business is to match buyers with providers. We work closely with expert consultants and the solution provider community. We’ve tapped into the expertise of our friends on both sides of the market and compiled the top tips for HR software selection success.
Here are seven recommendations to help you find the best HR software for your company:
1. TALK TO THEIR CUSTOMERS
SANJIV ANAND, PRESIDENT & CEO AT BSWIFT
"Talk to existing customers. Are they raving fans of the technology? Are they seeing a return in time and money for their outsourcing investment? Or are they still dealing with the same problems over and over again (or simply traded them for new problems).
On the surface, the technology and service capabilities of many benefits administration providers appear similar. The promises of flexibility and making things easier are ubiquitous. The best way to evaluate and understand who actually delivers is to talk with existing customers".
2. Treat all solution provider candidates equally
ANNE BURKETT, NATIONAL PRACTICE LEADER, HR TECHNOLOGY AT USI INSURANCE SERVICES
"Effectively manage communications with the solution providers throughout the process. It is in your best interest for the solution providers to be well informed and able to put their best foot forward.
Keep the playing field level; provide the same details to all solution providers who are participating. If you are allowing one solution to come onsite, they should all be onsite and for the same amount of time, etc.
This will add structure and keep it easier for your teams to manage, but also to provide an equally competitive environment".
3. Go beyond software to strategy
Eileen McCormick, Vice President Compliance and Benefits, Strategic Advisory Services at ADP, LLC
Mary Schafer, Vice President Change Management and Communications, Strategic Advisory Services at ADP, LLC
"Managing a workforce in today’s complex business environment goes well beyond having the latest technology platform. It’s about consistent execution in an evolving end-to-end HCM ecosystem.
Advice for decision makers in the HR technology evaluation process is to include how technology, the business environment, regulatory legislation and changing trends will impact your own HR processes, challenge the status quo and drive change where it’s needed.
Does your HCM partner have resources for ongoing insights, techniques and strategies to help you solve your biggest HCM challenges? An HCM partner that can help you drive growth and meet your critical business issues will offer end-to-end knowledge that goes beyond the technology and will help maximize your investment.
By understanding where your organization is today and aligning processes to suit your organization, your HCM partner should serve as a trusted advisor, effectively delivering the insights, actionable advice, service and support you need to meet your business objectives and accelerate results".
4. Dig beneath the surface
Michelle Jukoski, SVP, Benefit Technology Practice Leader East Region at HUB International Limited
"When shopping for HR and benefit administration technology – beware of the 'shiny new thing'!
The market is flooded with start-ups that have very attractive user interfaces and great sales people however, when you peak behind the curtain you realize the technology might not be fully developed.
As they saying goes; 'pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!' When considering a solution, it’s important that the potential solution provider truly understand employee benefits and the complexities that can exist whether it be employee eligibility, benefit rules, contribution strategies, wellness credits and even ACA compliance.
The vendor evaluation process is a key component in finding the right partner".
5. Get Out and Meet New People
Jeremy Ames, President & Founder at HiveTech HR
"Shopping for new HR software is not something you do every day, or even every year. Maybe you’ve never done it, so there should be no expectation that you’d even know where to start!
It’s best not to simply dive into the few solutions you may have heard of or go directly to the one you used at a previous company. One possible starting point would be to check out industry conferences.
Not only will you gain insight from the content, but you’ll meet a lot of people who work in HR software every day, whether it be vendors, consultants, advisors or other thought leaders.
You’ll also network with buyers like you and to share ideas and challenges.
Alternatively, you can seek out similar helpers on social media. Many will be more than willing to share detailed insights…but make sure you’re adept at filtering out biased opinions. In the end it’s always best to gain a broad understanding of the market before you limit yourself to an incomplete set of options".
6. Consider the People Just as Much as the Technology
Josh Trent, Chief Growth Officer at benefitexpress
"Technology is so important when choosing a long-term benefits administration provider, but it is secondary, and only as good as the team that is accountable for the configuration, support and delivery.
Look for a partner that is easily referenceable and offers a 'benefits-wise' team with a highly trained, low-turnover staff that can address the most complex benefits issues and advise on best practices, providing unique solutions to the challenges.
Always hire a partner for the culture and accountability that they bring to the solution".
7. Be aware of the time commitment
Kerry Vineyard, Benefits Consultant at Truss LLC
"Selecting a new HR software provider requires many internal resources such as HR, Benefits, Payroll, IT, and identifying executive support.
The amount of time needed by these resources varies by department and stage of the selection process but nevertheless increases workload responsibilities. If time commitment is a concern - specifically for HR/Benefit team members - organizations could consider bringing on consultant or project manager to oversee the project.
This person will 'own' the project and oversee the various client resources to ensure client deliverables and decisions are meeting deadlines. The organization’s team will remain engaged in the project, but it may benefit busy teams if a dedicated resource is doing the heavy lifting.
You have one chance to get it right…don’t risk it by overextending your staff who already have full time jobs"!
While there is no one-size-fits-all or “best” provider, you can work to identify the best HR software for your company’s specific needs. Take the time to go through a thorough and thoughtful provider selection process. Finding the right HR software can bring countless rewards such as improved productivity and efficiency, increased business insights and enhanced employee engagement.
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Article By Jenny Bedeaux, Vice President of HR Technology at Shortlister
Jenny has extensive experience in the HR and benefits technology market. She heads up Shortlister’s HR technology vertical and works to help employers and their advisors select solution providers across the HR technology spectrum.