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Tech HR, software, cloud computing, HRIS this is what I am committing to talking about here at PIC for a portion of this year. So, in April. I was going to come out of the gate and look at one of the vendors out here in the HR Tech space. However, in preparing to do so, a few things came to mind about this whole project and I thought I should put these things out here before delving into reviews and discussions of the different platforms.
What I am going to focus on are things that you should have top of mind, if you are looking to make a change in your platform. These are issues that the vendor should be able to answer for you. If their answers make you uncomfortable, then maybe you need to re-think the vendor, or otherwise get some written commitments from them speaking to your concerns.
When it comes to Technical Support, (the person who your organization calls when the software isn’t working right, you don’t know how to do something, or just otherwise need a hand) you need to ask them, “Will we have a person dedicated to our account?” I personally would look for the answer to be yes, because I don’t want to be thrown into the call hopper. I also understand my support person may be assisting other clients when I call so the next question is “What is the average turn-around time for call backs?” Staying with my Tech support question, I then need to know, what is the average tenure of your dedicated account rep to each client, i.e. how long before we get a new/different account manager. Here is the point, you finally get a good account rep and “BAM” in 5 months they got a promotion, went to work for a competitor or have otherwise moved on, with the bottom line being that they are no longer your dedicated rep, and damn they were good.
Another path you need to go down is questions about the platform itself. How often is your system down (provide me with dates and times)? Next might be how often and when do you do maintenance and what does this mean to me and my organization?
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It is my opinion that all vendors should be able to answer question like these and others for you, because they track things like that diligently (in house metrics). If they are not willing to share, it tells me they are not real proud of what they have to offer and that is a red flag. Going forward any of these items that you discuss on the front end that are of the utmost importance to you and your organization, need to be committed to writing and shared with the vendor.
Another thing to be keenly aware of when shopping in the HRIS space has to do with whether or not all pieces of the software are truly a part of the vendor’s application or it is an integrated piece of software. I am speaking of a vendor that may say they have an applicant tracking system or a learning management system, when the reality is that the application is a third-party vendor. This can be a good thing or a bad thing so as they say in real estate Caveat Emptor. The upside is that at some point if you move on from your HRIS vendor but still like the ATS, you can keep it and use it as a stand-alone product or you can attempt to integrate it with your next system. My experience has taught me that the downside to using an integrated third party app is that whenever there is an issue they tend to blame each other and the problem may not get resolved. It’s like the old, “go ask your mom” and she says, “go ask your dad”. Again, this is not necessarily a deal breaker but this is where things could get funky.
Having made this change in 2015 these were part of the things that I discussed with prospective vendors quite a bit. This should be them tooting their own horn, not knocking their competitors. They should be proud to share any and all of this information with you as a prospective client. This is after all their score card and they should tell you about it being loud and proud.
In May, I am going to talk about the platform I am currently using. It is an Illinois based company called Paylocity. I will share my experience with their platform and their implementation. Because implementation is the first impression of the business relationship – and as the old saying goes there are no second chances at first impressions.