HR is going digital. So when does it need an external vendor's support?

“Digital transformation” seems to be the way everything is moving these days, particularly in light of the coronavirus shifting all of us from physical spaces to virtual ones. By automating rote tasks and practices, you stand to reap the benefits of less human error and more time for your employees to focus on strategic tasks, which keeps your employees engaged and your business innovative. 

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where digital transformation starts, but some may argue that the HR department provides the foundation for it to build upon. Think about it - who hires the talent that will carry your mission forward? Who works to cultivate a culture that empowers employees to strive for more? Who focuses on onboarding employees to get trained on key processes? Without a strong, digitally informed HR department at the core, your dreams of a digital-first company may fall by the wayside. 

But it can be challenging to employ the proper practices when people managers are strapped for time and resources. For example, according to Kronos Incorporated, 53% of HR professionals believe that an improved onboarding experience increases employee engagement. However, 57% of respondents in that same survey said that the lack of bandwidth for people managers is a significant barrier to improving the onboarding process. 

External vendors offer a great value to HR departments and people managers as they look to not just improve onboarding, but integrate automation and transparency into their various processes. By bringing in someone from outside your company, you save costs by not having to hire extra full-time employees, as well as open yourself up to experts with fresh perspectives who are well-versed in implementing the technology, creative, and strategic approaches that you may not have thought of otherwise.

But when’s the right time to look for an external vendor to improve your HR practices?

With the use cases and needs for technology evolving at a rapid pace, external vendors are necessary as your business and HR department focus on how to stay ahead. However, implementing technology for technology’s sake isn’t going to solve anything. 

First things first, you should know the business challenge that you’re looking to solve. Look to your current processes - what could be automated to save you time and money? Which processes work for you, and which ones don’t? Try to gauge how others might look at the situation as well. Once you know what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to communicate that clearly with a vendor so that they can work quickly in your favor. 

Ask employees about their perception of internal communications. You can do this yourself, or can employ the external vendor to compile a survey and analyze results as you look to determine a path moving forward. Gathering feedback from employees not only gives you a pulse on how things are going, but it also makes employees feel as though they’re being heard. Once those employees see their feedback being acted on, they’ll feel that they’re able to effect change, leading to higher engagement and affiliation with your company. 

Determine your wish list for your vendor. What qualities would you like your vendor to have? How long would you like the project to take? Do you have any technologies or processes that you’d like them to integrate with? By having these goals in place, you can a.) be sure that you pick the right vendor and b.) set expectations with them up front so that they can have a clear direction and understanding of what you’re looking for. 

Checked everything off the list and ready to search for the right partner? We’d love to chat. Learn more about how we’ve improved People & Culture processes for companies like Fidelity, Lilly, and Elanco.   

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