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Interview with Brian Testa, HR Pro at Spinnaker Human Capital

Interview with Brian Testa, HR expert at Spinnaker Human Capital about HCM software

Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Software Enthusiast
June 29, 2020
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Over the course of his 20+ year career in human resources, Brian Testa’s focus has become emerging HR Tech. Specifically, he has a deep background in buying, implementing and managing human capital management (HCM) systems at a wide variety of companies. We recently sat down with Brian to get a better insight into comp benefits software, including his thoughts on the key factors to consider when choosing which vendors to partner with. 

What is Compensation and Benefits Software?

Compensation and benefits software solutions serve several roles, including providing strategic and tactical approaches to how HR teams evaluate everything from paying out sales commissions and benefits to aligning the company with other similar companies in terms of being competitive in their respective industries.

Testa noted that company size does not dictate needs; it’s not just the big players who need to have these solutions integrated into their organizations. Employers need to find the right fit based on company size, expected growth, and so on. 

The Vendor Ecosystem

Testa said it is important to look at what HR technology can accomplish across an organization, not just within the HR department. Companies can create all-encompassing systems with the right combination of platforms that can work together. It’s not just about the HCM or the HRIS. It’s about the right combination that will work for that organization. 

Getting the Right Data Tools

Analytics are critical to what Testa calls being a “data-driven leader.” He looks at how the dashboard functions, what ancillary tools are included, how easy it is for employees to use self-serve functions, and more. In his experience, having data available in quick snapshots is important to know where different areas are performing and what needs work. 

Internal Stakeholder Management

Testa believes stakeholder management begins very early in the process. He likes to lay the groundwork for what the business processes should look like so the technology can be designed to achieve those goals. HCM transformation and “socialization” around those processes will drive the decision-making. From talent management and succession planning to compensation and workforce management, the right HCM gives companies the tools they need to be successful.

Best Practices and Pitfalls

When a company is building a business process, it is important to define what the processes currently are, and what they should look like. Evaluate the variables and find a software solution that can emulate the process that’s going to be effective. Additionally, flexibility and change-management are important to grow with the company’s changing needs. 

Perhaps most critical of all is the rollout and education process that goes with integrating new HR technology. If the employees do not understand how to use it, the project probably won’t be successful. The company must create power users, whether from the HR side or the business side, to maximize what the technology can do. 

Features to Look For

Beyond the basic functions, Testa believes companies need to understand what its competitors are doing in terms of compensation. This impacts how the company engages with a candidate and its success rate at attracting the best people for the job. Likewise, aligning the benefits module to match what competitors are doing ensures that an organization is competitive and attractive to top talent. Though the benefits module itself may not be able to know what other companies are offering, the benefits brokers will have a strong idea of where other companies are, and the benefits module can capture this data. Ultimately, it all comes down to having the right tools for the job.

We regularly interview HR and TA experts to share their insights on the technology that is working best for them. If you know someone we should be interviewing, head to the Contact Us page and let us know!

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Phil Strazzulla

Phil is the founder of SelectSoftware Reviews, a website dedicated to helping HR and Recruiting teams find and buy the right software through in-depth, expert advice. He has bought over $1 million worth of HR and Recruiting tools. Additionally, as of 2022, nearly 3 million HR professionals have relied on his advice to determine which business software they should buy.

Phil studied finance at New York University and started his career working in venture capital before getting his MBA from Harvard Business School. His in-depth understanding of the Saas landscape, especially HR Tech, stems from nearly a decade of researching and working with these tools as a computer programmer, user, and entrepreneur.

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