Never Settle: 5 Ways to Find an HR Tech Vendor You Love

Monday, September 19, 2016
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Picture it. You get the green light to partner with a tech vendor to help modernize your overwhelming or outdated HR processes. Filled with hope, you begin vetting vendors. You make your choice. You sign the contract. Then, the wheels start falling off the wagon. Your chosen vendor isn't able to deliver on its promises. It doesn't offer the support you need. Its lack of security measures scares you. Sounds like a nightmare. That's why more companies are searching for tech solution partners. A 2015 study reported 45 percent of employers were planning to opt for new technology this year1. Let's be real. If you're one of the many companies moving to a new tech solution, there's a lot riding on your choice.

Take the Compatibility Test

Before you start talking to vendors, be sure your vision is clear. Create a list of the problems you'd like your new technology to solve. Take into account the priority of these needs. For instance, if automation is essential, it should be on the top of your compatibility list.

If you're creating a request for proposal, don't lose sight of your company's quirky details. For instance, if internal feedback and review processes tend to be on the lengthy side, be sure you're communicating this to your potential vendor so they can adjust to your process.

If you're not looking to take the RFP route, be sure to create a company profile, listing all the must-know details about your company, such as size, industry, technology requirements, culture and current benefit relationships you can't live without. This transparency will help potential partners evaluate whether they can meet your needs.

Get to the Heart of Problem Solving

Tech people love tech. But, a fancy tech experience that doesn't actually solve your problems is virtually worthless.

Be sure your potential vendor is in touch with the human side of technology. Ask if the company has HR people working behind the scenes, helping to build tech that solves HR problems. Find out if the vendor is continuing to improve the products it offers by asking about the company's pipeline and requesting several customer contacts. (If the vendor won't offer any, that's a red flag.)

Sweat the Security Stuff

The importance of security cannot be stressed enough. Just take a look at these numbers from 20152:

* There were a total of 253 healthcare breaches. Of these breaches, over 112 million records were lost.

* The top 10 data breaches accounted for over 111 million records that were reported as lost, stolen or inappropriately disclosed.

* 90 percent of the top 10 breaches were due to a "hacking/IT incident."

Ensure your employees don't become a statistic. Request that your vendor provide proof of licenses and certifications.

Find out when the company completed its last security-risk assessment or request its Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) 16. Don't be shy when it comes to asking for client references to validate the vendor's commitment to security.

Consider Compliance

Some vendors are more focused on growth, rather than compliance requirements. Rob Butler, founder and CEO of Maestro Health, warned in HR Dive, "As companies start gaining momentum, it becomes even more alluring to cut corners. This is especially true in highly-regulated industries like healthcare benefit brokering, where hiring and training people may require more time than the companies wish to spend.3"

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Avoid these compliance concerns by asking in advance how vendors handle compliance. (Hint: They should have a dedicated compliance team.)

Size Up Support

Transitioning to a new tech vendor requires major support, especially if your employees will be interacting with the technology or customer service team. If you work for a large company, be sure the vendor has the bandwidth to provide high quality service to scale. Take note of the personalized service tools it offers, such as:

* Multi-channel support -- live chat, email support and phone assistance

* Decision support tools

* Screen sharing capabilities

* In-person training

You've Got This

Imagine once more that you've chosen a new tech partner. It offers exactly what your company needs, while being transparent throughout the entire process. Implementation is flawless. Security and compliance issues never enter your mind. You're confident that the safety of your company and employee data are in good hands. Plus, the vendor provides your employees with in-depth training and support. Dream come true.


1Harris, Stacey, and Erin Spencer. 2015-2016 HR Systems Survey. N.p.: Sierra-Cedar, 2015. PDF.

2Munroe, Dan. "Data Breaches In Healthcare Totaled Over 112 Million Records In 2015." Forbes. N.p., 31 Dec. 2015. Web.

3Moody, Kathryn. "A Warning Shot: What Startups Can Learn from the Zenefits Debacle." HR Dive. N.p., 25 Feb. 2016. Web.

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