With an overwhelming array of workforce management solutions, scheduling tools, payroll providers, HR systems, and communication platforms, finding the right fit for your business can often seem like searching for a needle in a haystack.
It’s a long, and often thankless task, that requires a huge invest of time and energy to get right. Introducing new systems, or even changing existing ones, will require effective change management, employee ‘buy-in’ and an initial investment of time and resources.
That’s why it’s imperative to find the right provider for your business before you invest in a workforce management solution.
1. Questions in the initial phase
Before making the decision to invest, ask yourself, and potential vendors, these questions:
- How easy is it to implement the solution? (Bonus tip: Check out our guide on how to implement a Workforce Management solution like a superhero!)
- Are new features developed with improved usability in mind and do they add value?
- Is the solution truly cloud-based so it can be deployed and scaled rapidly?
- How important is research and development to the provider?
- How well does the app perform and what is the feedback from the end users?
- Will the insight the solution gives me become indispensable to my business?
- Can you access the solution from multiple devices, allowing you to manage your workforce from anywhere at anytime?
The answers to these questions will provide you with a great starting point for deciding whether a solution is the right fit for your business.
2. Finding a solution
Once you’re ready to go, here’s a checklist to help you on your way:
Find a provider you can trust
You need to find a provider you can trust, who understands your business and who understands the specific problems you’re looking to solve by improving your workforce management. Any good partnership is built on the strength of the relationship behind it. Trust, confidence and respect form the basis of any good relationship and they need to be present in abundance before you embark on your WFM journey.
Your solution should be cloud native
As a rule of thumb, our advice is to avoid investing in legacy solutions that require you to invest further in infrastructure to make the solution work. If the software is marketed as web-based, find out whether it is truly a 100% SaaS-service.
According to the most recent report from Gartner (which you can download here) the latest generation of WFM applications have the potential to transform, augment and disrupt the market by introducing new capabilities to WFM applications. What’s more, by 2023 at least 95% of sales of new WFM applications will be deployed on the cloud.
This means when you’re looking for a supplier, you need to choose a next generation workforce management supplier who has set a product strategy based on your industry’s future needs. You also should find a supplier who puts usability at the top of their road map.
Implementation should be pain free
Historically, one of the biggest drawbacks to companies taking on a workforce management solution has been the time it takes to implement the software. Many solutions remain too complex to set up and then to use effectively, leading to many businesses abandoning them or not using them to their potential. That’s why any solution you choose should be simple to setup and simple to use.
Make sure you get employee buy-in
Don’t forget about the end users; your employees. One of the biggest ‘perks’ a good workforce management solution can bring to an organisation is its ability to engage employees, especially with the scheduling process.
Look at reviews of the software and seek feedback to see how easy it is for staff to use. How effectively they use the system is often one of the biggest influencers to the long-term success of better workforce management.
Meet potential vendors
You should invite potential WFM-vendors to present themselves and the product. This will help you get a better understanding of how they work and if you can form a successful partnership.
After you’ve seen a few products, produce your must-have requirement list based on your analysis from vendor presentations. You can only learn what best practice is for your industry by seeing a number of solutions. Give yourself a choice to find the right path for your business.
3. Decision time
Before you make any decision. Think about the following:
What lies behind the pretty interface?
You need to make sure there is a proper foundation and logic in the product, not to mention performance.
Is the vendor the right fit?
Make sure the vendor have a development team with the skills, knowledge, ambition and passion to consistently deliver a product that exceeds expectations. Ask yourself if they seem professional and show integrity. They should be open about their products limitations and not promise you things that can’t be delivered. Instead of agreeing with everything you say - they give you another point of view or advice?
What do you want and need?
Remember what you are buying. You’re looking for a solution that fits your needs. There’ll be limitations, no one will “tick all the boxes”, and don’t make up too many boxes along the way, stick to your must-have requirements.
To help you on your journey, check out Gartner's Market Guide for Workforce Management Applications.