easy-to-use mobile interface—which she found when she
selected Paycor’s tracking platform. “Now our employees
can punch in and out wherever they are,” she says.
One of Ashley Land’s challenges in selecting a health
and wellness tool for the City of Grand Prairie, Texas, was
satisfying a diverse group of users. The city’s 1,300-plus
employees include people of every age, from teenagers to
senior citizens, so the app it chose needed to easily adapt to
a variety of health goals, exercise interests and fitness levels.
“We were looking for new ways to engage people and
encourage them to make that health change” in response
to health insurance claim and utilization trends, says Land,
the city’s HR manager.
In addition, she wanted the analytics the solution could
provide to help the city assess the connection between
employees’ usage of the tool and their utilization of health
care benefits. But she recognized that this type of feature
would be helpful only if employees actually logged in to
In the end, Land chose a cloud-based solution called
Peerfit, based on its app’s ease of use and flexibility. The
tool allows employees to “customize their own wellness program, rather than using something cookie cutter that they
may not be interested in,” Land says.
Once you’ve outlined your requirements and prioritized
them, identify a handful of vendors to vet. There are many
ways to go about this, but experienced HR professionals say
the best way to gather intelligence is still word-of-mouth.
“Talk to your peers,” Rolewicz says. “If people like their
system, they want to shout it from the rooftops.” Getting
information from peers can be especially helpful in finding
vendors that work well for your specific industry or company size.
You can also identify possible vendors through Web
searches, reading industry publications and buyers’ guides,
connecting with members of your local Society for Human
Resource Management chapter, and attending trade shows.
You’ll probably hear and see certain vendor names again
and again—those are ones you’ll want to put on your list,
Consider at least three candidates, but don’t feel the need
to investigate every vendor in the space. “Typically, we start
with four or five candidates,” Thatcher says. “We usually
narrow the list down to two from there.”
After you’ve settled on your initial list, identify a core
group of people from different areas of the business to evalu-
ate and rank providers. Consider including representatives
from different user divisions within the HR department, plus
staff from IT, finance and senior leadership; for employee-
facing solutions, engage a few end-users as well.
Identify requirements and priorities
Outline the problems you want the system to
solve. Don’t just consider the HR department’s
needs; seek feedback from other groups that will
use the system or depend on the data it provides.
Ask for input from the legal and IT departments,
and ask yourself, “How can this tool helps us realize the strategic goals of the business?”
Focus on employee experience
Think about the unique characteristics of your
users and industry, such as demographics, work
environment, compliance issues and culture.
This is particularly important for self-service
solutions that depend on quick and complete
Gather vendor candidates
Word-of-mouth is still the best source of referrals. Ask colleagues at firms of similar size and
sector which vendors they are working with.
Don’t get distracted by cool high-tech bells and
whistles; stick with your prioritized requirements
list to identify providers that meet your needs.
Play in the ‘sandbox’
Don’t rely on canned online demos—ask vendor
finalists for a “sandbox” environment where you
and your vendor selection team of end-users
can play with the solution. This is the best way to
evaluate a tool’s real-life usability and compatibility with your needs.
Ask for references at different stages of the
vendor/customer life cycle: one in the middle
of implementation, another one year out and
a third who has left the vendor. Do your own
research to identify clients using the solution
and ask for their feedback.
Negotiate your best deal
Don’t let a vendor know it is your first choice
until after you’ve negotiated terms. Remember,
everything is negotiable—even if the vendor
makes it appear that terms are fixed. And don’t
be afraid to bring in an expert in contract negotiation to help close the deal.
6 Steps to Solution Selection Success