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2014 SHRM Recap: Finding the Right Vendor is Tough

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If you weren’t at #SHRM14 this past weekend, then you missed out. A torrent of thought-provoking insights on leadership, developing a smarter workforce, advancing technologies and other HR initiatives were buzzing on the conference floors and Twitter as well. With all of the excitement surrounding these new HR strategies and offerings comes a number of questions and concerns. If you found yourself overwhelmed by the amount of information you received at SHRM and you’re not sure how to navigate through it all, hopefully this post will help you to iron a few things out, specifically when it comes to switching providers.

As the industry changes and evolves, HR professionals are looking for the right solution to meet all their needs, from welcoming new hires to managing turnover and everything in-between. Human capital management should be more than timesheets and employee reviews. The wrong solution could cost you in data security, top performing employees and penalties. With these seven tips you should be able to make a confident buying decision that will help you to drive organizational performance.

Tip 1: Look for the total package in one application

Find a solution that has it all without adding it all. Let me explain. Human capital management technology should cover every aspect of the employee life cycle including Talent Acquisition, Time and Labor Management, Payroll, HR Management, Talent Management and Benefits Administration. However, packaging is everything. A single-source solution and a single-application solution are not the same thing. Typically a vendor who offers a single-source solution provides a product set that has multiple programs that require integration; whereas with a single-application solution your workflow is seamless. Users only have to enter in data one time which updates throughout the platform in real-time.

Tip 2:  Search for attributes that will have a positive impact on your business

HR software should be a one for all, including supervisors, IT, employees and executive, not just your HR staff. The best human capital technology will impact all positively and improve efficiency, produce insightful analytics, empower employees and reduce exposure. To determine if and how the proposed software can have a positive impact on your business, ask the following questions:

  • How does it improve efficiency?
  • What are the reporting capabilities for producing insightful analytics?
  • What tools are available to empower supervisors and employees to self-manage certain transactions?
  • What processes does the system offer to reduce exposure to compliance violations?

Tip 3: Do your due diligence

Before handing your sensitive records over to a complete stranger do your research. Look into their financials and long history of profitability. How are they funded: are they privately held, publicly traded or venture capital-funded? What’s their geological footprint? Are their quality management processes ISO 9001-certified? The more financially stable the vendor is and the more control they have over their product, the more dependable they will be.

Tip 4: Ask for security assurance

With advances to technology, more and more businesses are making the move to the cloud. While the cloud offers more security and a more efficient alternative to hosting internal software, internet breaches still occur, so don’t assume your data will be protected. We recommend you review the following with your IT department:

  • Is the vendor ISO 27001-certified?
  • How long has the vendor been providing its software in the cloud?
  • Request documentation on the security of its technology infrastructure.
  • What are its data storage and handling procedures?
  • What is its business continuity plan?
  • What are its information-sharing and staff training procedures?
  • Are there data protection features within its online software, e.g., multilevel log-ins, audit trails, and custom user access?

Tip 5: Set your standards for support

Your new HR technology provider should be your partner, offering direct communication and immediate support. Don’t get trapped in an automated phone system while you’re trying to solve issues on your own. Be sure you partner with the best fit, a provider dedicated to customer service. Set you standards for support early and don’t settle for less.

Tip 6: Search for a vendor committed to improvement

In our tech savvy world, new implementations and software updates are a regular occurrence. Make sure your next vendor is dedicated to constant improvement with the agility to withstand the changing needs of the industry. Keep these few questions in mind:

  • When was your last software update?
  • How many software updates were released in the past year?
  • How quickly are you able to implement sudden compliance-driven updates?
  • Do all customers operate in the same software version?
  • Do you take development requests from customers?

Tip 7: Find out up what happens if you need to change or cancel your agreement

Even the best-laid plans can change. Make sure you find out up-front what the off-boarding process is like just to cover all your bases. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Do I have to sign a contract for any specific time period?
  • If I grow rapidly, or am faced with a large layoff, will I have to change or upgrade my software?
  • Could I face penalties for cancelling the contract?
  • Who owns the data, including any candidate databases?
  • What is the process for obtaining my data when a contract is cancelled?
  • Do you provide off-boarding support when a contract is cancelled?

Selecting your HR technology vendor can be overwhelming, but a critical component to taking your organization to the next level. Hopefully these tips help you #SHRM14 attendees narrow down your options and help navigate you through the mounds of information to pair you with the right vendor.

If you are still searching for the right vendor click on this link to download the full whitepaper: Top 7 Tips to Consider When Switching HR and Payroll Companies

Bonny Blackmon

by Bonny Blackmon

Author Bio: As Paycom’s recruitment marketing strategist, Bonny Blackmon writes about such topics as human capital management, company culture, talent acquisition and career advice. Her brand-awareness efforts at Paycom have included launching Paycom Careers’ blog and social media channels, and producing several recruiting videos, all to help attract top talent nationwide. Outside of work, Bonny enjoys reading, fishing and spending time with family.

Unconscious Bias

3 Steps to Prevent Unconscious Bias in the Interview Process

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You do it. I do it. We all do it.

No, I’m not talking about converting oxygen into carbon dioxide – although you may need to take a deep breath before reading further. I’m talking about that unquestionably human habit of prejudging someone or something, whether in a positive or negative light.

That little prejudge is known as unconscious bias. Most people harbor some bias, although they may not realize it. For employers, unconscious bias can cause big trouble if interviewers unfairly favor or dismiss a candidate during the hiring process.

According to Harvard Business Review, when interviewers without standardized questions are left to decide which candidate to hire, their decisions tend to be subjective and unconsciously influenced by fixed thoughts on race, gender and ethnicity. Considering the strict regulations set forth by the U.S.  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), interviewers can get into hot water quickly, without even realizing they’re doing something wrong.

To help avoid risk, empower your hiring managers to follow these three steps.

Introduce performance-based questions

As the great equalizers, performance-based questions center on what employees must do to be successful in their roles. This includes questions to assess how they have addressed challenges in other roles, and hypothetical questions to judge how candidates would approach the challenges your company faces. The trick is to ask each candidate the same questions so you have a fair assessment.

If you’re wondering what a performance-based question sounds like, here’s an example: “Thinking about a time in which a project didn’t go as planned, what actions did you take to correct it as quickly as possible?”

Measure applicants’ answers

Performance-based questions are worth nothing unless you have a system to compare applicants’ answers. Next, you’ll want to compare their responses with something called a standardized rubric. Using a rubric means everyone involved in the hiring process agrees on what the important questions are and what an excellent answer would be. Without it, comparisons simply are not apples-to-apples. You easily can create a rubric by asking those who already perform the role what success looks like.

Train your staff

Finally, train your staff to recognize and counter biases during the hiring process. This is especially important when multiple interviewers screen for an open position. Make sure everyone knows to take good notes so they can compare candidates’ answers with the rubric. It’s important that everyone involved is on the same page, especially with which elements indicate future success.

Eliminating unconscious bias in the interview process is hard, especially when multiple parties are involved. That’s why it’s critical to factor performance-based questions into the equation, making it much easier to focus on candidates who possess the right skill set for the position at hand.

Learn more by downloading our free e-book, Discover What Your Front-Line Managers Need to Know About Hiring, Diversity Inclusion and EEOC Compliance.

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Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

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Posted in Blog, Compliance, Employment Law, Featured

Monica Johnson

by Monica Johnson

Author Bio: As Paycom’s client marketing specialist, Monica Johnson utilizes a mixture of marketing and human capital management knowledge gained from years of industry experience. A graduate from the University of Central Oklahoma, Johnson has been with Paycom since 2013 and has served in numerous roles during her career with the company. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, exploring Oklahoma City and sipping coffee, while reading a good book, at one of her favorite local shops.

June 1: National Doughnut Day

5 Offbeat Holidays to Celebrate at Work … and Boost Employee Engagement

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Halloween, Thanksgiving and the “holiday season” all fall in the fourth quarter, meaning the last three months of the year are jam-packed with celebrations and events, not only in your employees’ personal lives, but likely in your workplace as well.

But that festive atmosphere doesn’t have to fall only when the leaves do. Thanks to little-known holidays or theme days, you can easily discover things to celebrate throughout the year with your team. In fact, businesses may see benefits by doing so.

Impact on morale

Gallup found that 51% of employees who have a close work friendship consider themselves engaged, while 75% who have a best friend at work said they plan to be employed at their current company one year from now. Furthermore, those reporting having best friends at work were found to have higher levels of health stress management, even though they experienced the same stress as those who did not have good friends at work.

Building time for your team members to get to know each other and strengthen relationships is clearly good for morale, which is good for business. So how can your employees really get to know each other? With your help. Celebrating holidays or theme days year-round gives your employees opportunities to build connections with each other without the extra stress the traditional holiday season often brings.

Bonus tip: Get leadership involved! If employees see their managers skipping the events to stay at their desks, they’ll feel like they shouldn’t participate, either. Make sure to get buy-in from everyone and clearly state the beneficial impact of engagement.

Start with these

You can give your employees something to look forward to every year if they know your business makes a regular workday a day to celebrate something small. Start a tradition that’s unique to your company. Here are a few holidays that might be right for your organization to celebrate.

Jan. 26: Fun at Work Day

Make this day one your employees won’t want to miss! Maybe you bring in food trucks for lunch or schedule a team-building activity at a local place that holds corporate events and specializes in team-building (like cooking or painting classes). For extra fun, keep the day’s activities a surprise and try to do something different every year.

March 14: National Pi Day

What better way to commemorate 3/14 by holding a bake-off with a trophy for the office’s best pie? The winner can keep the prize on his or her desk and have bragging rights for the year.

April 26: Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day

Every organization may not be able to have an event like this during the workday. If not, you could organize an event after work as an open house to encourage employees to share with their children what they do. It also will give your employees an opportunity to introduce their families to each other without having to wait for your holiday part. Plus, it’s never too early to start recruiting.

May 4: May the Fourth Be With You

Named for sounding similar to a catchphrase from a super-popular movie franchise, May 4 is a fun “holiday” to recognize at the office, particularly if you know you have fans of the galactic saga. You might organize a costume contest or perhaps play one of the films in the company cafeteria or a conference room.

June 1: National Doughnut Day

This one’s pretty easy: Buy doughnuts for your staff. Take a midmorning break and enjoy them together. Maybe spring for some coffee or bagels, too.

You can keep track of holidays like these, as well as critical HR and compliance deadlines, by downloading our free digital 2018 HR & Payroll Calendar.

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Posted in Blog, Employee Experience, HR Management

Callie Johnson

by Callie Johnson

Author Bio: As a writer for Paycom, Callie Johnson creates content for the company’s various marketing and communications initiatives. Having earned her bachelor’s degrees in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and web design/development from Full Sail University, she has written for companies of all sizes. Outside of the office, she enjoys hand-lettering, going to the movies and spending time with her family and dogs.

2018 Form W-4 Changes Employees Should Consider

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Ever since President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) into law last December, payroll professionals have been anticipating an updated IRS Form W-4. After issuing new federal income tax withholding guidance in January as a result of the TCJA, the IRS released the 2018 version of Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, on Feb. 28.

The 2018 Form W-4 has been implemented in the Paycom system.

Interim guidance

The IRS previously released Notice 2018-14, which provided guidance on the usage of the existing 2017 version of Form W-4. Among other things, this notice:

  • extended the effective period of the 2017 version for purposes of claiming exemption from withholding temporarily until Feb. 28, 2018
  • described the procedures employees may claim exemption from withholding for 2018 using the 2017 Form W-4
  • temporarily suspended the requirement that employees must furnish a new Form W-4 within 10 days of changes in status that reduce withholding allowances they are entitled to claim
  • allowed employees (including newly hired employees) to use the 2017 Form W-4 to update their withholding allowances until 30 days after the 2018 Form W-4’s release (March 30)
  • stated that employees who furnish new Form W-4s using the 2017 version do not need to furnish a 2018 Form W-4 after it is released


Changes to consider

Solely due to the changes passed in the TCJA, the IRS is not requiring employees to submit a 2018 Form W-4 to their employer, although they may if they choose. However, substantial changes have been made to the worksheets associated with the 2018 Form W-4, so employees should consider how the new rules will affect their specific tax and withholding situation when making the decision.

Despite the TCJA’s removal of personal exemptions from year-end income tax calculations, Form W-4 still includes a Personal Allowances Worksheet. Its credits section has been revised to allow for:

  • the increased child tax credits as adjusted for income
  • adjustments for credits claimed for other dependents
  • a new line for “Other credits” that will be calculated by the employee using a worksheet found in the 2018 version of Publication 505 (yet to be released)

Additionally, the form’s Deductions and Adjustments Worksheet has been revised to adjust for the new values for standard deductions, as defined by the TCJA, while the Two-Earners/Multiple Jobs Worksheet contains updated wage brackets in the tables used to calculate allowances depending on multiple job households.

‘Paycheck checkup’

To help employees see the differences that completing a 2018 Form W-4 will affect their take-home pay, the IRS released an updated Withholding Calculator online.

The IRS encourages all employees use it to conduct “a quick ‘paycheck checkup’” and use the information it returns to determine if they would like to adjust their withholding. These values can be entered by the employee directly into Paycom’s Employee Self-Service tool to complete a new Form W-4.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

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Posted in Blog, Compliance

Author Bio: Robert Barclay has been the Tax Research Team Lead at Paycom since 2012, and has been instrumental in such company projects as the development of its Affordable Care Act compliance product, implementation of geolocation services and redesign of Form W-2. He joined Paycom in 2011, bringing more than 20 years of experience with the capital markets consulting practices of Ernst & Young in Memphis, Tenn., and Birmingham, Ala.; and Causey Demgen & Moore in Denver, Colo. A native Oklahoman, Barclay is a graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis, where he played football as linebacker.


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