I was speaking with a friend the other day and the discussion came up regarding the use of vendors in the workplace – whether it was a good or bad to utilize in the workplace.
I don’t know about you, but in today’s workplace it is almost impossible not to utilize a vendor for something – HRIS systems, applicant tracking systems, candidate assessments, benefits, training, etc. The increased use of vendors has occurred because vendors have made employers more efficient from an internal (employee) and external (candidate/customer) standpoint; however, before one goes and jumps on the good ole’ vendor bandwagon, research has to be conducted on usability, cost, time, resources, experience, technology, and much more. This research is needed as a vendor can many times appear to be the next best glitter star, but when you brush that glitter off, what is below the surface is not gold.
Not gold? How so? This is how:
1. The vendor can potentially oversell what they are capable of doing
- For instance, an applicant tracking system vendor may state they are able to do X, Y, and Z in an initial consultation. Without asking further questions or conducting greater analysis, it could actually be that the vendor is planning to eventually role out “Z”, but they are not capable at this juncture in time. Therefore, if a contract was signed before knowing this information, the organization could be “stuck” with something that does not necessarily improve efficiencies or customer experience.
2. What the vendor is offering, you can create in house
- Supervisor training is a valuable resource for new supervisors who join an organization and there are a lot of vendors who offer such training. This training usually involves a cost per person and requires a certain number of attendees for the course, resulting in thousands of dollars spent. When you take the time to evaluate the content being presented, nine times out of ten this information is not anything that cannot be put together in house – which could save those thousands of dollars spent on vendor training and provide an employee with an opportunity to grow, develop, and offer the organization a great product.
My point through this post is not to discourage the use of vendors, as there are a number of vendors out there that I love! But I do encourage you to take note of a couple of questions to ask before you explore a vendor and ensure they can deliver the gold:
- What are you looking to do and achieve?
- What is needed to reach the outcome?
- Why is this necessary or needed?
- Who will this impact?
- How will this impact employees, users, etc?
- When is it needed?
- Is what is needed beyond the scope of internal resources?
- Can someone internally develop what is needed?
These questions most certainly are not the end all, be all regarding questions to ask – they are a beginning. Based on your initial findings with these questions, if it is determined that what is needed can be developed internal, embrace it. Utilize your employees’ skills and empower them to make a positive impact on the organization – stretch their thinking, creativity, and abilities. Heck, you could potentially find some great talent you didn’t know you had assisting with succession planning.