Simplify VMS User Experience and Why It Matters

You’d think there are more important things to think about when it comes to Vendor Management Systems than the way they look and how system stakeholders get to use them. But we take usability incredibly seriously at Simplify Workforce for the following good reasons:

Users today expect systems that ‘just work’

The consumerization of IT has led to system users of work applications expecting the same ease of use and standards in functionality as they experience when using consumer-focused apps like Google Maps, Facebook and Twitter. When they don’t have a similar experience, this can lead to negative attitudes and behaviors that de-rail appointments. It may be that the layout of menus and forms in the User Interface are not the only challenge: User frustrations can surface because people need to adapt to new technologies in ways that might not be natural to them. The fact is that it’s never been easier to produce a top-drawer user experience thanks to advances in computing art. Technologies like HTML 5, chatbots, in-browser processing, data visualizations and native mobile apps all help!

Candidate Code Testing

Third-party online testing tools are revolutionizing code testing in the IT market to vet the promised qualities stated by candidates. These industry specific checks are increasing as Artificial Intelligence (‘AI’) installs new possibilities in pre-onboarding checks. Vendor Management Systems have a major role to play in simplifying access to these popular platform by integrating these features into their platform and offering Single-Sign-On (SSO) to useful apps that organizations want to use.

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Bias Avoidance

Unconscious bias happens when people either intentionally or unknowingly insert terms into documents (like Job Definitions and CVs) or recruitment processes. For example:

  • Requiring roles to be fully co-located or inflexible hours will rule specific groups out;
  • Sifting through CVs that contain potential triggers for bias such as the use of masculine terms;
  • Adoption of a policy to reject CVs with an unexplained gap in employment history that can impact on people from poorer backgrounds that are more likely to take time off to care for relatives;
  • The unknowing installation of interview, short-list or on-boarding bias where operational behaviours aren’t corrected where bias might exist.

Recruitment bias can introduce unintentional discrimination and result in poor decision-making. It’s become one of the hottest recruitment topics in an era where the ability to demonstrate fairness and parity of opportunity for people from all sorts of backgrounds is not only a legal requirement but also a major contributor to a positive brand reputation.

Vendor Management Systems serve to enforce positive behaviors in recruitment processes and therefore have a major role to play in the avoidance of recruitment bias, and yet very few solutions embrace explicit functionality to enforce positive behaviors.

Job Pricing Intelligence

VMS capabilities to aid organizations in gaining a rich appreciation of the rates they should be charging for the right skills to get their jobs done have moved to a new level with artificial intelligence-led solutions. A broad range of third-party ‘big data’ oriented platforms now harvest job category pricing data across regions to offer employers forensic pricing indicators they can use to make sure they pay the going rate for the talent they need in their area. Vendor Management Systems have a key role to play in bringing access to these platforms and seamlessly integrating them with job boards and recruitment tools to build a joined-up (and ‘rate-aware’) Total Talent Management (TTM) ecosystem for employers.

Vendor Risk Management and Compliance

With an increasingly regulated business environment, further exacerbated by changes to tax systems and the introduction of the EU’s GDPR, organisations are under pressure to ensure they don’t fall foul of employment law. Vendor Management Systems have a key role to play in governing data appropriately and enforcing vendor terms and conditions; honouring tax systems, data protection, data security and diversity policies.

Levels of belief in the merit of a system are hugely influenced by usability

There can be no doubt that—after decades of software development projects proving the point—the User Experience is a major influencer on overall perceptions of the value of a business application. It’s easy for users to ‘switch-off’ when it comes to giving applications a chance, simply because they find them too awkward and frustrating to work with.

Quick-wins fuel successful projects

Without evidence of quick-wins, projects can lose their energy and ambition. Getting users onboarded and happy to work with a system serves to rapidly increase the volume of useful data added. This increase in useful data makes the system immediately more useful and relevant—creating stakeholder critical-mass and resulting in more positive feedback, more word-of-mouth support and more adopters.

All stakeholder groups must profit from using a VMS

For a Vendor Management System to be effective it has to deliver value to all of the key stakeholder groups including hiring managers, procurement, HR and Finance teams, vendors, program managers, and of course contractors who are themselves the lifeblood of the ecosystem! For many of these stakeholders, recruiting is only one-part of their work-life, for others it is a moment in time from one contract-to-the-next. It’s therefore essential that all stakeholders can quickly get to work with the system, and that it works in a way they’d expect.

Users that can’t access a system don’t use it

Access is not just about the physical act of logging in and using the platform, it’s also about having the knowledge of knowing what to do, and when to do it. In today’s consumerized tech-market, users would never expect to have to read a User Manual before they started using a piece of software. At the very worst case, they’d expect to find training content online through video tutorials, but most of the system features should be intuitive and easy to command without feeling the need to refer to a help menu or online assistant to get jobs done.

Features that people don’t know about, or don’t understand how to use, are a waste of time and money

In 2002, Jim Johnson, chairman of the Standish Group, stood up at the XP 2002 conference and stated that 64 percent of features in products are “rarely or never used.” Whether this fact is true or not, most would agree that apps have a tendency to be filled with features that never get used. A testament to our commitment to practical usability we know that, with Simplify VMS, ALMOST ALL of our features are used every day by users, which means our system stakeholders really do get the most from our technology to aid their daily recruitment lifecycle activities!

We attribute this feat through four main things:

  1. The intuitive nature of our app
  2. Our commitment to user centered (UX) design; prioritizing developments on what our existing customers and stakeholders say they want (rather than guessing!)
  3. Our awesome UX design team based in New Jersey and Hyderabad
  4. Our training content and trainers that tirelessly, work to improve user experience

Brand reputation is driven by the quality of your tech

Good UX design is not just a nice-to-have; we know that our system users are YOUR workforce and if we provide a poor quality user experience, it has a detrimental impact on your brand reputation. We know that everyone works with apps and data in our digital age, and the IT systems you use are a key part of the value you bring to your stakeholders. It’s not simply about providing a smarter way of getting things done, it’s an important ingredient in your value story.

About the Author

Ian Tomlin is on the management team of SimplifyVMS in the UK and is a regular writer on enterprise technology and workforce management topics. He can be contacted via his LinkedIn page or follow him on Twitter.