Regardless of whether you’re purchasing software the first time or replacing an existing system, moving to new technology will impact everyone in your organization, especially your employees. So it’s necessary that you take their feedback during the software selection process.
Collecting feedback from employees is as important as other considerations such as budget and existing technology infrastructure. That’s because your employees will be working day in, day out with the software you select, and they can help you identify required software features based on the productivity challenges they’ve faced.
Not taking employee feedback into account may result in user adoption bottlenecks, which can even impact productivity. Worst case, you’ll end up purchasing software that’s not the right fit for your business. To help you avoid such costly mistakes, we’ve discussed three ways to collect feedback from employees for finding the right product.
1. Include all teams in the feedback process
When a new software system is deployed, the workflow of several teams gets impacted. Identify all such teams that’ll be affected by software adoption/change, and make their members part of the decision-making process. Loop them in from the very beginning, and don’t wait to simply inform them that you’ve already finalized a product.
It won’t be possible for you to personally take feedback from each team member. So, delegate the task to team managers, who can conduct meetings to understand the challenges faced by their teammates as well as expectations from the new software. These meetings will be helpful in identifying “must-have” vs. “nice-to-have” software features. Managers can also check if there are any additional functionalities employees would like to have in the new tool.
Some employees may not be comfortable sharing their concerns during formal meetings, but their feedback is equally important and shouldn’t be overlooked. Have an anonymous feedback box or conduct a feedback survey to capture concerns not voiced during meetings. Use survey software to collect feedback from all teams. Also, ensure that you give them ample time to discuss challenges and expectations, and avoid rushing them through the feedback process.
2. Whittle your software shortlist down to 2-3 products
When people are given too many options, they’re unable to select one due to overanalyzing or overthinking—a phenomenon called choice paralysis. Use the same rationale when taking feedback from your employees. Remember, the more options you’ll give, the tougher it’ll be for them to select one tool.
Thus, evaluate products beforehand based on features, cost, implementation time, support options, etc., and bring your software list down to 2-3 products. Ask for feedback only on these products. This way, you’ll prevent choice paralysis and reach a decision faster. You’ll also receive quality product feedback, as your employees will have more time to delve into the functionality of each software.
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3. Form a decision-making committee
Different teams will share different feedback based on their area of expertise. Aim to include all of these perspectives so that the feedback you collect is comprehensive and well rounded. To ensure this, create a decision-making committee that consists of key stakeholders from all teams.
Members of the committee will speak on behalf of their teams and present their teammates’ challenges as well as suggestions. They’ll also act as the final checkpoint of the user feedback process. Here’s what the stakeholders of some teams will want to know from you and can offer to you.
- What they’ll tell you: Stakeholders from this team will evaluate the software from a cost perspective: license or subscription cost, maintenance and upgrade expenses, setup and data transfer fees, etc.
- What you should ask: Check with this team what the current software budget is and if it’s likely to change in the next few years. Also, ask which payment plan will be more feasible for the business. For instance, an annual subscription will fetch you extra discounts, while monthly payments will help spread out costs.
- What they’ll tell you: Stakeholders from this team will check if the selected software has a proven track record of complying with data security regulations and honoring contractual obligations. They’ll inform you about the data protection and privacy standards (GDPR, PCI DSS, etc.) the software should comply with.
- What you should ask: Check which important questions you should ask vendors during software negotiations. You should also inquire about any red flags to look for in the software contract.
- What they’ll tell you: Stakeholders from the IT team will look into any software implementation, compatibility, and integration-related issues. They may also have suggestions about the technical requirements of the software.
- What you should ask: Ask this team for a checklist of key technical specifications you should verify with the vendor. Also, check if they feel any implementation issues are likely to come up with the shortlisted tool.
- What they’ll tell you: Stakeholders from this team will want to ensure that the shortlisted tool helps streamline processes, overcome bottlenecks, and meet business goals.
- What you should ask: Check what the leadership team’s short and long-term goals are for the company so that you choose a tool that’s in line with their expectations. You should ask whether their priority is software functionality or budget so it’s easier for you to compare products.
The tips in this article will help you set up a collaborative employee feedback mechanism for software selection. Here are a few more recommendations to make the user feedback process more effective:
- Acknowledge feedback: You won’t be able to take into account feedback from each employee, but what you can do is acknowledge the feedback with an email or a mention during meetings. This will boost employee engagement, increase their confidence in the process, and make the transition easier.
- Act on feedback in a timely manner: Ensure that you have a plan of action for the product feedback you’ve collected. This plan of action must be timely, and any delays in the process must be duly conveyed to employees.
- Set up a continuous feedback process: Collect feedback from your employees regularly. This will help build a solid case to switch to another software tool (if needed), and you can also use the collected employee inputs to suggest software improvements to your vendor.
Visit Software Advice’s business software directory to read what real buyers have to say about the software you’ve shortlisted and check out other top software alternatives.
If you want personalized help with software selection, call our advisors at 844-847-3290 or book an appointment for a free, no-obligation consultation.