“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” A common phrase that should be thrown out the door for anyone in a position of decision making. Companies that base their vendor relationships on this phrase get left behind in the modern world, leaving room for open-minded innovators and entrepreneurs to dethrone them and take their place. Success is found in those who realize that something can always be improved upon and initiate change before hitting rock bottom.

In my past roles, I was tasked with the tremendous opportunity to vet improved global, human resources management systems. I evaluated the entire lifecycle of HR: from payroll to benefits and resource management to timekeeping. From this experience, I have learned questions vital to consider when given the power to make a decision that is meant for the betterment of all.

Buy-In

As I mentioned, throw the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” out the window. Unfortunately, the time to consider making changes to processes or vendor relationships comes when shit has already hit the fan and we realize a process or relationship could not get any worse. Deciding to consider making a change when hitting rock bottom is common even in most aspects of life in general, but for the purpose of this article let’s stick with the corporate environment. Realizing change can come from any level and any role of an organization. An organization with open communication is more successful than those with executives that don’t listen to their workforce. As Steve Jobs famously stated, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” Allowing a culture of open communication gives people confidence to reach out to decision makers to potentially catch the opportunity to make positive change, before hitting rock bottom.

Vet Your Current Partnerships

Is the change necessary?

This question is a tricky one to answer. When asking if a change is necessary, consider the reach of the problem, if it were to hit rock bottom. For example, if I was considering changing the payroll processes or the actual payroll vendor partnership of a company, is the change necessary? If I do not question the current partnership to potentially stop a growing issue, and there is a problem, the entire company may not get paid. I’m exaggerating but considering worst case scenario is always good preparation. Vetting a current process or partnership doesn’t necessarily mean you do not trust your current partners, it’s more of an audit process to ensure they’re always meeting your needs, even when times are good. Finding room for improvement when times are good is the prevention of hitting a potential rock bottom.

How labor intensive is the implementation, roll out and use of a new program?

Time is money. A new process or partnership will always cause a spike in financial burden due to the time and effort that it takes to make a change. Consider the return on investment and if it is simple to use. But, for a company that may not be able to move their resources so freely, even good intentions can be squashed. Finding a partner that works hard for you and does most of the heavy lifting, is ideal. When vetting a new vendor, pressure test their client support services and what processes are in place for those “emergency” moments. An upsetting realization is that a sales staff often tends to oversell the actual performance of a service or product. An ideal prospected partner will show you cold hard data of return of investment and true cases of the not so great moments of past experiences, yet also demonstrates how repeated mistakes will be avoided.

Will the product or client services listen to feedback and produce timely action and updates?

Just like assessing improvement for your company, its important for a service to be open to suggested changes from actual users. A service will have their own mission and values, but at the same time, a stand out of an agile partnership with a customer focus is the ability to produce improvements and prove true innovation by adapting the product to the changing environment.

pēpəlwərk is a product for talent acquisition. The questions I’ve deemed imperative in the vetting process of a new partner, pēpəlwərk has surpassed positive expectations. The service will improve current talent acquisition processes of any company, from the largest to the smallest of organizations. There’s no implementation, only a sign-up process of 5 minutes, and no contracts. The feedback from customers is key to pēpəlwərk’s successes and will continue to improve based on the everchanging workforce environment and technology needs of talent acquisition professionals.

Keep up, or move aside.