How to Evaluate & Purchase Perk Software [8 Steps]

August 24th, 2020
pick perk software

You’ve decided that you need a new and fresh approach to your company’s perks and benefits.

And how couldn't you? Times are changing. Most people (who can) are working remote, the laborforce is multi-generational and multi-cultural, and the old way of offer perks just no longer cuts it.

You know that it’s up to you to sell your team on a better approach which means evaluating vendors and presenting all the options.

So how exactly can you do that?

Below we’ve outlined the various steps you should take to evaluate and sell your team on a perk software, without having to worry about the dreaded buyer's remorse.

1. Complete a brief audit of your existing perks program today.

How many perks do you currently offer, their estimated costs and adoption rates, and how much time does it take for you to manage it?

Getting a full picture of what you offer now will give you a holistic understanding of where your organization is today, the blind spots, and areas for opportunity. This information will come in handy later on when you begin developing the ROI for the HR software.

Here's an example we pulled together:

perk audit graphic

2. Begin building your “buying team.”

After you’ve done a bit of research on the costs (explicit dollar value, hidden costs with manual labor, and opportunity costs of being behind the market), you’re ready to begin building your buying team.

The right HR software from the very start is critical as it’s something that will impact every person at your organization and hopefully have a powerful, lasting impact.

Depending on your organization’s size, team size, and typical software buying process, this can be a simple or complex process. As SearchHRSoftware points out in this article:

“For larger purchases, an HR or IT leader will need to be a key stakeholder or present to a C-level executive on how the HR software will benefit the organization, and they will need to get formal approval and funding before moving forward to the software evaluation stage.”

The buying team is composed of people who are sponsors who will approve the project to start, provide sign-off and budget, and others who need to be part of the feature-discussion, roll-out, continued administration, and more.

If you’re new to developing a buying team, consider using the RACI framework from project management. It’s an essential stakeholder management concept, and RACI stands for:

  • R: Who is responsible for doing the work. This can include multiple people.
  • A: Who is accountable to the decision, aka the final decision-maker. They must sign off or approve when the task, objective, or decision is complete. 
  • C: Who is consulted when making this decision. These are people who give input along the way to ensure the project is successful and achieving the goals.
  • I:  Who should you keep informed? These are people who need to be held in the loop as the project progresses but do not need to contribute or formally be consulted.

If you’re looking for a more in-depth guide to creating the buying team, this article from SearchHRSoftware will help.

3. Identify critical functionality.

Once you have the right stakeholders included, identify your must-haves for functionality. 

Many organizations that come to us focus on personalization, and others need our international and recognition functionality. Every organization is different.

Some items to consider are:

  • Price
  • Administrative time & effort (including APIs for payroll or integrations with your current tools)
  • IRS compliance
  • Vendorless vs Vendor marketplaces 
  • International functionality (if you’re a global team)
  • Rewards & bonus functionality
  • And more

If you want a helpful resource to buying criteria, check out this guide on what to look for when comparing perk software.

Take stock of what’s most important to you, your people, and your organization since this is something you’ll hopefully have for the long-term.

4. Conduct demos with relevant vendors, or send a request for proposal (RFP)

A fantastic way to identify the top perk vendors that companies and people love is by asking your network for referrals. What vendors are they using, what do they like, hate, and if they’d recommend them. Take into account what they’re using it for, engagement rates, and the size organization that’s using the software -- what might be great for a 100-person company isn’t great for a 10,000-person one.

And if you want a complete list of perk software vendors, check out this post

When conducting demos, it's helpful to get an idea of the various companies and what they offer, and how it will integrate with your existing process and organization. 

Here are some helpful questions to ask when on HR software demos:

  • What’s your price structure? 
  • Are there any hidden fees?
  • What APIs do you have?
  • Can you integrate with the rest of my HR tech stack?
  • What size businesses do you work with?
  • What training or enablement materials do you offer?
  • What do your implementation and support models look like?
  • Is your software mobile-friendly, or do you have a mobile app?
  • How long does implementation usually take?

And here are some questions to ask specifically to your situation, in addition to items that you developed in your "must-have" list above (number 3)"

  • What are some use-cases that match my situation?
  • What are typical engagement rates?
  • Are you vendor-specific or vendorless?
  • Is your software IRS compliant?
  • Can I set up groups to give different people different stipends (e.g., remote vs in-office or marketing team vs engineering team) 
  • What happens to unspent money at the end of a cycle?
  • How long does ongoing maintenance or management usually take?
  • Do have rewards & recognition and international functionality.

As you participate in demos, include relevant stakeholders to join as their insights will be helpful when it comes to the selection process.

5. Compile a list of your findings from demos

As you’re participating in demos, keep track of the various software vendors and their pros, cons, and anything else worthy of capturing to refer back to after. This information will likely want to be seen by other team members.

Keeping it in a PowerPoint deck shared on your company’s intranet or wiki can be a powerful tool for tracking, easy access, and additional visibility.

6. Determine how new perk management software will impact your organization.

Now that you are armed with information from various vendors begin to compile how implementing software like this will impact your company, and its people. This step is an essential element in determining ROI and gaining stakeholder buy-in.

Lean on the other members of your buying team to refine this and make it clear, compelling, and concise for executive approval.

Here are some example questions to consider:

  • How does this new way compare to the old way of doing things?
  • How will this impact our ability to attract, engage, and retain people?
  • How will this impact our employee experience?
  • How will this impact our budget?
  • How will this impact workflows and current administrative burdens?
  • What are we able to achieve with this method that wouldn’t otherwise be possible?

7. Ask for incentives for signing. 

What most people don’t know is that if you believe you’re an excellent fit for a software vendor and they’re, and they’re an excellent fit for you, they might offer incentives if you sign up within a specific timeframe.

Whether they do or don’t, it doesn’t hurt to ask. 

8. Set up a meeting with stakeholders to share findings and select a perk software vendor.

At this point, a lot of the legwork has already been completed. Now it’s time to get essential stakeholders into a meeting to present findings, propose a solution, and come to a decision and next steps.

Keep in mind, it’s often tempting to “kick the can down the road” and push off a decision until later, and when this happens, focus on what the company is losing from the current process and how much you’d gain by acting decisively and swiftly. 

Additional reading:

Compt is the #1 employee stipends platform that gives your people the freedom to choose the lifestyle perks that are best for them and their always evolving needs, even when remote. Interested in learning how Compt might benefit your company? Consult with our team or request a demo.

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