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Starting Small with HR Tools

Here are some tips on how to make buying HR Tech easier...

Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Finance and Software Nerd
September 29, 2021
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The best way to get good at something is to do it.  Sales people do mock calls dozens of times before they talk to a customer.  Navy SEALs "train like they fight" so they are prepared for the worst.

It might not be nearly as grave as going to war, but buying HR Tech can be quite daunting and full of as many pitfalls.

The HR professionals who are lucky enough to have been through a few HR Tech buying cycles have the scar tissue and learnings to be effective purchasers of People software.

However, you don't need to be 20 years into your career before you get good at buying HR software!

SaaS, Freemium, and PLG

In the past, most HR software buying was done in the context of multi year planning cycles.  It took 6-24 months to procure the right solution, another 3-18 months to implement, and 12 months later you'd start looking for the next solution to buy.

SaaS, freemium products, and the rise of product led growth have allowed companies to purchase tools in a light weight try before you buy way.  Many vendors have a cheap (or free) offering.  And, this number is growing quickly.

Small projects lead to big learnings

The ability to try products means that People teams, and individual People leaders, don't have to wait for the next time you buy a core tool like an ATS or HRIS to get reps on discovering/buying/implementing tools.

You don't need cross functional internal buy-in, nor big budgets, to start using a free video interview solution today.

You don't need c-level sign off to experiment with an ATS that has a free trial, an assessment tool with a free tier, or a recognition platform that allows small teams to get value for cheap as they grow.

While these solutions may not be a game changer in your organization, they give you very valuable repetitions on the buying process.  And, most of these free solutions can scale at very large companies if you happen to like the product.

Through doing small projects with cheap/free HR tools, you'll learn:

  • How to discover vendors (network, internet, review sites, etc), and the pitfalls of each
  • How to develop criteria to choose between different vendors
  • How to setup and roll out a new tool (even if it's just with yourself or a small team)
  • How to communicate with end users about a new tool (how to use, why you're using it)
  • What a vendor is actually offering vs what their website says
  • How easy/hard it is to get something up and running
  • Which internal stakeholders will get in your way
  • How a tool changes your team/process
  • How this change may translate to an ROI

Buying new HR Tools is hard.  There are many steps to buying HR tech, and many places where you can fall down.  Having a few reps, even if it's for very small projects, can give you the lessons you need to succeed when you have a more daunting project.

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Phil Strazzulla

Phil is the founder of SelectSoftware Reviews, a website dedicated to helping HR and Recruiting teams to find and buy the right software through in-depth, expert advice. Phil started his career working in venture capital before getting his MBA from Harvard Business School.

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