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27 Aug 2016

4 Simple Ways to Build a Successful Partnership With Your HR Technology Vendor

Choosing the right vendor to support your talent management strategy is one of the most important decisions an organisation can make.  But it doesn't stop there.  Engaging your HR tech provider in the right way can lead to a productive partnership and help ensure your organisation hits their stated talent objectives.  Investing the time to build a relationship benefits everyone involved, and by taking a few of the steps outlined here by HR Tech Fest 2016 Partner Cornerstone OnDemand, you can ensure you get the most out of your partnership.

1.Partner With Your Provider to Define What Success Looks Like to You

It's important to have a dialog with your provider so that they understand what success means to you. Make these goals explicit so you can be happy with the results of this new partnership.  In addition, helping your provider understand the measures of success and defining who the appropriate internal stakeholder responsible for achieving them is critical. It will help make sure that your provider can provide the right support to the right resource in your organisation.  Keep an eye out for companies that make measuring success easy and transparent, those will be the tech providers you will want to work with. Also remember that integrating new technology with a company will come with some challenges and unknowns, so understand how available your tech provider is going to be for day to day questions.

2. Make Sure Your Provider Has a Seat at the Table for Key Decisions

As your talent strategy evolves and the needs of your stakeholders change, it's critical to make sure you involve your HR technology provider in the process.  A common misconception is that your provider is only looking for additional products to sell.  It's easy to overlook the fact that they can potentially bring in experience and expertise that can help you make the right decision.  In many cases it won't be the first time they have been exposed to the business challenge you are trying to solve.  Regardless of whether you are reimagining your performance review process or just looking for innovative ways to engage your employees, use your HR tech provider as a sounding board before making a final decision.  Often times your provider will have in-house subject matter experts that know talent management processes just as well as they know the technology.  In addition, they can help connect the dots in linking what you are trying to change from a HR process perspective into how it can be best supported using the application.  This can often save time and potential rework in the future.

3. Be Open to Feedback

True relationships aren't a one way street.  They require mutual partnership, with transparency and trust being paramount to success.  In any relationship, you have to trust that your partner has your best interests in mind, even when they may be providing feedback that is counter to the expectation you may have had.  One of the biggest advantages of working with your HR tech provider is that they provide a unique perspective having supported thousands of customers on their talent management journey.  In many cases they have the benefit of hindsight and can provide guidance so that you make the best decision for your organisation and can keep you from making mistakes that they may have seen other companies succumb to in the past.  This may mean telling you something you may not want to hear.  Having a strong relationship where your HR tech provider can be transparent and knows that you are willing to listen is key.  When they understand what the objectives are, they can often provide creative solutions that may not have been obvious on the surface.

4. Ask Your HR Tech Provider for Client-to-Client Connections

Aside from internal expertise, your HR tech provider likely has an extensive network of connections at each of the clients they serve.  This means that you can tap into executives across a variety of companies that are often faced with the same hurdles you are.  In many cases you can save quite a bit of time by connecting with someone who is farther along in the process and can share their experience.   In addition, you could become a member of virtual user communities, providing you with an interactive forum for networking with peers and experts to ask questions, learn more about the solution, share talent management best practices, provide product innovation suggestions and more. This can prove to be extremely valuable as you may find a great partner who can share unique experiences that you would have otherwise not known existed.  I've often gotten great feedback in connecting healthcare clients with manufacturing clients, financial services clients with technology clients, the list goes on.  This is an often untapped resource that your provider would be more than happy to assist with.

Remember – your provider is invested in your success.  Don't view them in the traditional sense as the person sitting on the other side of the table just looking to sell you something.  They are sitting right next to you, looking to help your organisation achieve your talent management objectives while providing a great end user experience.

About the Author

Mike Erlin

Mike Erlin is Managing Director, Australia & New Zealand for Cornerstone OnDemand. Mike leads the company's efforts in the Australia and New Zealand region and is part of an amazing team who are passionate about using technology to engage people and drive business performance.

Cornerstone OnDemand are a Premier Partner of HR Tech Fest, 27-29 November 2016 in Melbourne.

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