5 Tips for Selecting Staffing Software
In the staffing world, the work begins when you make a placement! Having the right kind of staffing software can literally make or break your business. The technology that staffing companies use is in a way much more comprehensive than direct hire recruiting firms, as it must cover a variety of functions, from consultant management to payroll. Not only must staffing salespeople organize their calls in a CRM like environment, but recruiters and consultant managers must manage their staff, much like internal recruiters do at corporations.
When considering which staffing software provider to select, there is a lot to keep in mind. As in any major software purchase, an organized, rational process must be implemented. It’s too important of a decision to take lightly. Here are 5 points to consider about a new staffing software system:
- Comprehensive vs. Select: As mentioned, staffing systems can be highly complex, as they cover a broad array of functions. The first and perhaps most important consideration is whether to choose one overriding enterprise system that manages multiple silos, such as CRM, career site deployment, invoicing, resume extraction, consultant management, payroll, and job posting, or specialized vendors that focus on one area. The recruitment software industry has a huge number of vendors, each with their own specialization. Should you separate your sales process from recruitment? Should you use employment screening providers or pick a system that integrates with an existing process? Should the system manage invoicing? A committee should be formed to look at just this one aspect, as it’s an incredibly important decision. When considering consolidated versus multiple systems, be sure to look at the long-term impact: how will the system(s) grow with you and scale?
- Specialized vs. General: Staffing firms tend to organize around a particular function or industry, like medical, accounting, or accounting. There are certain staffing software companies that specialize in a particular area. For example, medical staffing software has specialized fields for health compliance areas. If you are in a highly specialized area of work, it’s a good idea to test out the focused software first. If you are selecting among general providers, be sure to study their list of clients carefully and talk to their clients that are in your exact industry. Look for strength among your area of interest, and a growing and active user base.
- The “Back-office”: When viewing software demos, it’s easy to breeze over the “back-office” functions that manage consultants and temps – be sure to pay close attention to this function, as its arguably a more important differentiating factor than the front-office/CRM type features. Go through the process of placing a consultant at a client, candidate communications, getting the consultant paid, etc… It’s often helpful to have a staff member “role-play” as the consultant, client, and staff member. They should receive all communications as if they were the real person. How does the workflow look to a consultant that you just placed? To your payroll processor? How about to your salesperson? Each party should be satisfied with the efficiency, organization, and compliance of the process.
- Migration and Performance:
- Your legacy staffing system(s) contains a broad array of data points and unstructured text. Migrating that data to a new system is no easy task, especially if you are currently using multiple software systems in different locations or splitting use by function of your staff. Make sure that you discuss migrating your data with the software vendors: Have they performed similar processes? Do they ensure data quality? Do they help with bug fixes?
- System performance is an often neglected area of software procurement decision making. Many staffing firms have multiple locations in order to serve a market with local reps, which adds complexity. Even web-based or SaaS staffing technology does not necessarily solve the issue, as there can still be performance issues with many simultaneous users. Make sure that when choosing a software vendor you test a live example “client” with as many simultaneous users. Be sure not to judge the performance inside an executive silo: get it into the hands of real recruiters and salespeople. If a critical function to their daily work process takes 10 seconds to load, it can be a deal-breaker.
- Metrics and Client Compliance: Many staffing firms work with VMOs/RPO vendors onsite at clients, which then hold firms to key metrics and deliverables. In addition, many contingent management tools require certain check-lists and processes to be followed with each placed consultant. Even if working with strict regulatory or compliant-heavy clients is not a large part of your client base now, it may very well be in the future, as these systems are migrating downstream to mid-sized businesses. Be aware of the systems and checklists that the staffing system offers as part of its workflow and/or if the software offers custom workflows. An organized technology system can be a key point of differentiation when it comes time for an audit by the client. Audited staffing processes and robust reporting is no longer simply an imperative for internal use, but rather is a necessary component to partnering with world-class employers.