HCM March_Madness-bcFor many, myself included, March Madness, is one of their favorite times of year. College basketball fans across the US take more time than they should completing the infamous “bracket,” while others simply choose their favs or the team with the cooler uniforms. Regardless of your selection process, filling out a bracket means you have a vested interest in almost every game, even those your typically would not watch (unless you are an alum). It also means you will spend a lot more time in front of the television watching the pool dwindle down from 32 to 2, as favorites like Kansas, Michigan State and Virginia (my alma mater) fall and Cinderella teams such as Middle Tennessee, Arkansas – Little Rock and SF – Austin pull off major upsets.

As I was lamenting the elimination of my beloved Cavaliers (it still hurts) and the subsequent demolition of my bracket, it occurred to me that employers who are in the market for a Human Capital Management (HCM) solution could borrow the bracket format to help them go from a plethora of choices to an Elite 8, Final 4 and, eventually, the Championship solution best suited to meet their specific business needs and culture. Let’s see how completing a HCM bracket would work.

Round 1: lots of options (too many really)

The HCM space is crowded with no shortage of options, which can cause you to feel overwhelmed, confused and unsure of where to begin (like those of us who didn’t follow college basketball all season felt when we sat down to complete our NCAA bracket!). Not to worry – between Google, B2B software comparison tools, colleagues and friends, you should be able to come up with an initial list quickly. NOTE: you might not want to start with 32 – that’s a lot – but humor me as I follow this analogy. 🙂

Round 2: the first cut should be easy

It’s pretty easy to go from a long list to 10 or less if you have a core list of requirements in place before you begin your search. Here is a list of criteria that will help you knock off several contenders:

  • Cloud-based Solution – for a lower total cost of ownership, minimal IT involvement, and access to the latest technologies, Cloud technology is the way to go
  • Addresses Mission-critical, Core HR Functions – to derive the most benefit from your HCM solution, any system you consider should automate core HR processes including, recruiting, hiring, onboarding, payroll, employee data management, benefits administration and time and attendance
  • Single System of Record – one of the biggest pain points employers share is not being able to quickly and easily access data necessary for compliance and reporting requirements, which leads to “spreadsheet hell;” only solutions that offer a single database can help you solve this challenge

NOTE: Do not get distracted by the brand names; there are “Cinderellas” in the HCM technology market that outperform the market favorites!

Round 3: Elite 8 (or 9 or 7 or 6) …you get the idea

At this point, you want to move beyond the basic capabilities each HCM solution offers and start evaluating the key features and functionality that will help you meet your specific business needs. Cost also needs to be considered at this point, or even earlier if you have a strict or limited budget. Based on our experience and industry studies, here is what many midsized employers are seeking:

  • Predictable & Affordable Pricing – make sure you find out any and all fees upfront to avoid future sticker shock from hidden costs and/or frequent price increases; a pricing model such as Per Employee Per Month is very transparent and predictable
  • Mobile Access – this is becoming more important as employees increasingly demand and expect access to on-demand, easy-to-use tools that help them perform their jobs better, faster and easier
  • Self-Service – your employees and managers want to be empowered and that includes being able to manage and maintain their own data – from changing their address and adding beneficiaries to viewing paystubs and initiating life event changes, they want to be in control
  • Configurable Workflows – every business has unique processes and procedures for conducting HR transactions; while it makes sense to revisit these processes before you implement a new HR system, you shouldn’t have to completely change the way you do business to match your HCM solution
  • Consistent, Intuitive User Experience – employee adoption and usage drive the ROI and benefits you gain from your HCM solution; if the system isn’t easy to use and the experience is not consistent across all devices, you’ll be looking for a new solution in no time at all
  • Scalable & Flexible Architecture – change is inevitable; the needs you have today are not going to be the same in 1, 3, 5 or 10 years; finding a solution that can grow and adapt as your needs evolve will pay significant dividends over and over and over
Round 4: Final Four – now it’s getting exciting

You’ve narrowed your choices down to the few solution providers who can deliver the functionality to meet your unique requirements at a price that fits your budget – now and in the future. Let’s get down to what can help you decide who advances to the Championship round.

Speed & Ease of Deployment – if you’ve been through a software implementation, you know it can be a painful and frustrating process. It doesn’t have to be. Make sure you clearly understand each vendor’s implementation process and methodology and that it aligns with how you expect an implementation to be managed. And if a solution provider is unwilling to discuss implementation upfront, run.

Service Reputation – perhaps even more important than product features and functionality is the level of training, service and support a solution provider offers; in fact, we believe it should be a key decision maker because we all know technology is not perfect. There will be technical issues. What is critical is how – and how quickly – those issues are acknowledged, managed and resolved; talk to existing clients and do your research to learn as much as you can about your potential provider’s service reputation.

Interest Level – this is one not often discussed, but it is worth mentioning as it plays a role in the overall service you receive. How interested is the vendor in truly understanding your specific requirements and unique business goals and objectives? Do they conduct a thorough needs analysis upfront and ask questions throughout the sales process and, more importantly, do they really listen? You can tell a lot about a company from their sales process.

Championship Game: we have a winner

While we think we are the #1 choice for almost any employer, we know there are lots of HR solution providers out there that offer similar product capabilities and we are not naïve in thinking you will jump right from 32 to us, nor would we want you to. We want you to do your due diligence and then we believe we will be lifting the Championship trophy over our heads.

Here are the key differentiators that will help us hit the three-point shot at the buzzer.

Unique Company Culture – PeopleStrategy has built a culture based on the understanding that client retention is critical to our success; our goal is to continually deliver value and exceptional service throughout the lifetime of the relationship, and to secure clients who are partners for life; we won’t take business where either our company or the client won’t succeed

Financially Sound – we are privately-held and debt-free, which means we are not beholden to external influences and demands

Committed to Doing the Right Thing – our value proposition is simple: we are committed to doing the right thing for our prospects, clients, partners, employees and company

Good luck to the young men representing UNC, Villanova, Oregon and Oklahoma in the Final Four this weekend and congrats to those whose Final Four is intact!

To anyone who is searching for new HR technology – whether you are automating for the first time or replacing an old system(s) – read this blog again. Then, check out the rest of our website and give us a call or schedule a demo. We can’t help you with your bracket but we can definitely assist with – and coach you through – your HCM technology evaluation!