The beginning of a new year is an exciting time for people to reflect on the year ahead and think about goals for the year ahead. Many people see it as a new beginning! Perhaps there are new best practices that you want to try, take up a new hobby, or break a bad habit. Whatever you want to achieve, now is a great time, as we not only start a new year, we start a new decade! So what awaits you now that we begin the “wacky 20’s”?
As you think about the year ahead, what are your goals for your staffing company? Is there a new staffing software on your to-do list? Maybe it’s an idea you’ve been toying with for a while, but haven’t had a chance to begin research. The idea of implementing completely new software may seem scary, but it doesn’t have to be. It is really very exciting! It can mean new opportunities, more successes, growth in your business, and more! The possibilities are endless! If new software crossed your mind, there must be something you are not satisfied with in your current solution. So how do you start your search? What questions should you be asking? What should you look for in a solution? All of these questions will be answered to help you on your way to new staffing software.
Where do you start?
The first step is deciding whether to build an internal team or hire an external consultant. You can hire a consultant if you can’t do a thorough search and analysis on your own. If you follow this path, it is very important that you do your research and check the credibility of the consultant. Ask about their industry experience and check references. You want to make sure the consultant finds the right solution for YOU and it is not loyal to software.
Whether you are hiring a consultant or forming an internal team, the next step is to discuss what you like about your current solution, what you don’t like, what you are looking for in a new solution, and ultimately WHY you are. looking for a new software. Record these questions and answers in a document, as you will need to think about them as you evaluate your software options.
You will also need to make a list of your “must-haves” and “enjoyable” items. Dig into the needs that will help you solve critical business problems. Once you have your requirements, it will be easier for you to evaluate which solutions fit your needs.
How do you find a staff software provider?
Once you’ve established your requirements, the next step is to find software solutions. One of the best ways to find a trusted partner is through your local and national staff associations. Go to the websites of these associations and search for the partners. For some associations, you must be a member to view industry members and partners. I recommend that you become a member of your local and national associations, whether you are looking for software or not, as you will gain access to valuable staff resources. Another valuable resource is industry events and conferences. These conferences have exhibitor rooms that allow you to walk around and speak with vendors face-to-face.
Of course, there are other ways to find staffing software companies, but the staffing industry itself is the most credible way to find a partner. Staffing software companies that partner with staffing associations keep up with the latest trends, have the same resources staffing companies receive, and tend to be more involved in the industry.
Once you find the software companies that interest you, what are the next steps?
The next step would be to set a time to speak with the software company. Typically on the initial phone call, you will provide information about your business and learn a little about the software product to see if it might be a good fit. It is also a good time to see if the product has all its “must-haves” and ask what companies they usually work with, what industries, size of companies, and so on. This is important to see if the company has experience working with companies similar to yours. If all or most of the points are checked, you can set up a demo.
The demo should be designed specifically for your industry and needs so that you can get an idea of what it would be like to work on the software. If the demo is not designed for you, it may be a red flag. By demonstrating, you need to ensure that all of your essential needs are addressed when using the software. Never settle for software that doesn’t meet your essential needs.
As you demonstrate with different software companies, you will see that some solutions have special features that others do not. You may automatically like some programs, but others may not. It is strongly recommended that you make an evaluation checklist after each demonstration. Does the software have all the “must-haves”? Do you have your articles “nice”? What did you like about the software? What did you not like? Did it have any special features that you haven’t seen in another solution? As you start demonstrating with different software companies, this evaluation will be really helpful, as all programs can eventually fade out. Make it easy for yourself right away, before you have to do unnecessary demos because you forgot what you liked about software.
Look out for Part 2 of “New Year, New Decade, New Staffing Software.” You have your team find you new software, found software solutions that interest you, and have started demonstrating. Part 2 will discuss questions not to ignore, what to avoid as you narrow down your search, and how to plan for a smooth deployment.