When it comes to what workforce software to use we are blatantly biased at PARiM. But we share your fears and expectations as managers and as business owners and we have a bit of insider know-how that can help you make a better decision.
The learning curve makes the difference
If there is one thing to take away from this article it is to focus on the learning curve of the solutions. Nobody likes to spend time learning a new system while they have got a job to do.
To put it bluntly - your workforce may not have the intellectual curiosity and know-how that people responsible for procurement have. For example, At PARiM we know from experience that majority of the questions your staff will have will revolve around how to log in to the system, not about actually using it.
How to test a solution as a mid-level manager
Remember, you benefit from the features that are actually put to use. Many of your competitors use overpriced systems that barely anyone knows how to operate. Outsmart them by choosing a solution like PARiM, that your workers can actually utilise to a greater extent. A great way to judge is to ask how a system works in 3 key areas in 5 minutes or less:
- Employee Scheduling - Does the system provide fast shift copy+paste features for everyday use? Does the system possess more advanced features like shift patterns? Measuring how easy it is to copy or to add shifts will tell you a lot about the solution as this is one of the most used features of any workforce software.
- Time and Attendance - Does the solution offer a real-time dashboard for you to monitor staff as they clock in and out? What about iOS and Android apps alongside it? The second-most used set of features in any organisation is tracking your workers. The apps and the dashboard as the main tools need to be simple and easy to operate.
- HR Data Management - Your managers will absolutely love you if you make sure that the system can still operate quickly when it holds thousands of rows of data. Ask the provider to demonstrate, live and unexpectedly, how easy is it is to actually to import staff data to the system from a commonly used file format such as CSV.
All systems have shortcomings, so does ours, still seasoned and intelligent mid-level managers can tell a great solution from a mediocre one in 5 minutes or so. And at PARiM we have a wonderful track record for that 5-minute test. Do not believe us? Describe your industry and your problem and one of our directors can give you a free demo to prove it.
How C-level executives can tell a great solution
But say you are a C-level executive and have to approve a prior selection. Well, the 5-minute check that you can perform is to check if the solution has the following support tools at a minimum:
- YouTube Channel - Often a couple of minutes of well done videos can replace hours of costly face-to-face training. Scan the channel for a playlist of support videos.
- Support Portal - The support portal for your software has to be public. You can't expect staff members to login to your system and to the support portal that they mostly use to find out how to log in the first place. As most jobs are mobile, it also has to be readable and searchable on a mobile phone.
- Live Chat Support - This is a must for managers and administrators of the system. Once you log in to the system, they should have the option in the periphery of a browser to start a chat with a customer support agent - not because a direct reply is always necessary but that your managers can write down the problem they face for it to be solved.
The trick question you can ask or ask your team to ask a supplier is whether they are used to answering support questions on social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter. Your staff will not draw the boundaries between what are acceptable ways to ask for help when they face an urgent problem. These things happen, so is the provider ready to go the extra mile?