One of the main reasons organizations avoid replacing sub-par talent acquisition technology is the time-intensive nature of implementation. Yet this doesn’t have to be the case because there are many steps that enterprise organizations can take to make the implementation process go more quickly and more smoothly. For example, conducting a hiring process audit prior to the start of vendor reviews and leveraging change management strategies throughout all phases of implementation will set teams up for both long-term success and greater ROI on their recruiting software purchase.
Another early—and essential—step teams can take is to ask the right questions during vendor reviews. Most buyers are good at covering all the basics, such as the software vendor’s general implementation methodology and overall approach, as well as gathering details about services for configuration, migration, solution integration and training. We also regularly see questions around standard data management and backup practices, plus the timeline for implementation once a signed agreement is in place.
Digging Deeper to Better Assess Vendor Implementation Strengths
While the questions noted above are a great place to begin and should always be part of vendor evaluations for new talent acquisition technology, there is an opportunity to use these discussions to arrive at a better understanding of vendor strengths (and weaknesses) as related to implementation and partnership. Consider the following:
1. Based on your current understanding of our objectives, are there any alternative strategies for implementation that could be considered beyond your standard methodology and approach?
I love when our team gets a question like this. From our perspective, we’re able to demonstrate how we work closely with customers to creatively overcome potential implementation obstacles. As a buyer, you’ll gain insight into what vendors have learned through their prior implementation experiences, how flexible they are in adapting to unique needs, and, most importantly, how well they apply lessons learned to their approach moving forward.
2. What are the most common challenges you’ve seen among customers when it comes to meeting their obligations for implementation success?
On the surface, this may appear to be a straightforward question about what you need to do on your end to ensure success. However, framing the ask in terms of where vendors have previously witnessed failures on the customer side can reveal the degree to which the vendor will be effective in establishing clear expectations regarding roles and responsibilities. The strongest vendors will be able to articulate not just their observations but the strategies or tools they offered that were able to assist the customer in performing better and, ultimately, keep implementations moving forward as planned.
3. Describe a time when you encountered an unexpected challenge during implementation and how you overcame that challenge to go-live on time.
Yes, this is stealing a page from the book of behavioral interviewing, yet the answers you receive are critical to evaluating vendor transparency and the depth of their implementation expertise. Given the complexities associated with any large-scale implementation, especially those requiring integration with other systems and tools, it’s more likely than not that an unanticipated challenge will arise along the way. Knowing how vendors have not simply responded to but resolved surprises in the past will lead to the ability to assess key differences that will shine light on the right vendor for you.
4. What change management services do you provide that are specific to implementation?
As I noted earlier, applying change management principles to the implementation process produces vastly improved outcomes. From experience, I can attest that this is particularly true in order to facilitate widespread adoption of the new software among all end-users. Look for more than the vendor’s philosophy regarding change management practices, too. Request samples of tools or templates they have provided to customers in the past along with an implementation case study that highlights how change management practices were applied before, during and after implementation to realize short- and long-term talent acquisition technology success.
5. How do your company’s leaders empower the implementation team to be effective?
I’ve saved the best question for last because, as I’ve seen firsthand over many years and countless projects, there’s no such thing as a perfect implementation. Given this reality, the best possible scenario for a buyer is that you have access to an implementation that can respond to fluctuating needs immediately and change what needs to change quickly. Our leaders have always been committed to empowering the GR8 People implementation team in this manner, and one way this plays out is that implementation teams meet regularly with both our product and development teams to get to the root of the challenges and solutions fast. I believe that, in the end, this is what makes all the difference to implementation success.
Selecting the right technology—and partner—involves assessing a broad range of capabilities and areas of expertise. However, digging deeper into implementation during the review process is perhaps one of the most important ways talent acquisition teams can avoid investing heavily in enterprise software and then failing to use the many features and functions that enhance efficiency, performance and outcomes.
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