Are you feeling frustrated or overwhelmed in your staffing software search? Are you interested in learning about your options but don’t even know where to start? “How do I know which staffing technology solution is right for my agency?” is a question we get asked a lot, so if you’re feeling this way you are not alone! In an industry with seemingly endless platforms and tools for a myriad of challenges you may (or may not) be facing, it can feel impossible to find the right one. It’s especially difficult right now when budgets are scrutinized line by line and agencies are being asked to do more with less.
Where should you start your search?
We love the Talent Acquisition Ecosystem graphic by Tech Talent Labs. It does a really nice job of grouping vendors by the type of tool they offer, their place in an agency’s workflow, and if the technology primarily serves candidates or employers. But there’s no denying the fact that the technology landscape for staffing agencies is vast, fragmented, and, at times, overwhelming.
We frequently hear two pieces of feedback early-on from our clients and prospects. First, the number of technology solutions is simply daunting, so it’s easier to continue suffering through the “old way” of doing things than sift through the hundreds of vendors to find one that might be able to help. Second, we hear that agencies have been burned by technology decisions they’ve made in the past, so they’re skeptical of trying another vendor, leading them to stick with the current status quo.
It’s not difficult to understand why agencies have this reaction to technology solutions. “Better the devil you know,” as they say. It often feels easier to stick with the way things have always been done than risk the time, money, and energy rolling out a technology that turns out not to be the right fit.
What questions should you ask?
Some general questions that are always good to ask include:
- Who from your team will we interact with? It’s important to feel supported and comfortable with the team that you’ll be interacting with on a regular basis. Understand who your key contacts will be and have your internal project team prepared once you make your decision on which vendor you want to go with.
- How often can we expect to receive training and ongoing updates? You don’t want to meet so frequently that the trainings don’t add value or become a burden to your team, but you also want to make sure the vendor doesn’t disappear off the face of the earth. Communicate your expectations around training and set a meeting cadence that works well for you. That might mean training more frequently at the beginning and less once your team is comfortable with the technology. The right vendor will accommodate your preferences, whatever those may be.
- What is your support policy? It’s always important to understand how a vendor will support you when issues arise. What channels do they offer for requesting support? Who is the team that will be supporting you? How and when do you escalate major problems? What is their standard Service Level Agreement (SLA)? Vendors will have all of this information available so make sure it meets your expectations.
- How do you charge? Since not many vendors are in the business of giving away their products for free, it’s important to ask how their pricing model works. We’ve seen a variety of pricing models by seat, by volume, by Statement of Work (SOW), a flat rate, and many more. Understanding how and when you’ll be billed will allow you to make sure you have the appropriate budget for the given vendor that you’re exploring. If you need help building a business case internally to ask for more budget, many vendors are happy to assist you through that process as well.
Depending on what other technology platforms or tools you have in place that you plan on keeping, we recommend discussing ways to integrate your systems together to avoid siloed information, duplicate data entry, and having your team working in disparate systems. While integration may take a little extra time on the front-end of your implementation project, it will be worth it later down the line.
Fail to plan, plan to fail
Ok, so maybe the old phrase, “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail,” is a little overused and arguably, a little dramatic for this scenario. It’s also safe to say that Benjamin Franklin wasn’t talking about staffing technology implementations when he said it. But still. Whether you’ve suffered through a painful technology implementation before or you’ve just heard horror stories about failed attempts in the past, there is something to be said for putting together a plan for implementation, roll-out, and adoption across your agency. As you’re searching for a technology partner, ask them specific details about their approach to implementation and training. What methodologies or best practices do they have in place to help ensure that your agency will be successful using the software?
What else is important to look for?
No matter what challenge you’re hoping to solve with a new technology solution, we believe that the key to finding the right provider is also finding a true partner. Someone who will be there to help not only with the technology but, arguably, the more important aspect of technology adoption: change management.
From getting the platform set up and training everyone how to use it to long-term roll-out and scale across your entire agency, a lot of change goes into adopting new technology. This is by no means meant to scare you into sticking with the status quo at your firm—technology will make a lot of your processes easier and faster. But, depending on what type of solution you’re looking for, this could be a very different way of working for your internal team, your clients, and your associates. A vendor who is prepared to be a true partner and values your success will make things go a lot smoother when the going gets tough.
At the end of the day, the staffing industry is tightknit and we all have one goal in mind: connecting clients with great people and connecting people with great jobs. We are proud to be a part of the staffing technology ecosystem and we’re here to help you work through your technology buying decisions. If you have any questions that you’d like to bounce off of us, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Want to learn more about what to look for in a digital staffing technology solution?