According to Forrester, The CHRO and Heads of HR are usually more involved in the buying process than their subordinates. However, they are notoriously difficult to reach. It may be initially easier to cultivate a relationship with the HR SVP (who often runs the project).

While some CHROs dive into the weeds during the buying process, most do not. They are more focused on risks, problems, opportunities, and C-level priorities than on product features. That said, while the buying committee is doing its work, the CHRO will contact peers and do some online research of their own.

CHROs look for strategic benefits, but they know that when the user experience is anything less than great, the organization will never reap these benefits. If user tests fall short, CHROs won’t hesitate to drop a leading provider, even near the end of the selection process.

When engagement or retention falls, the CHRO often assigns a lieutenant, the HR SVP, to research “what else is out there.” If the search for a recognition provider progresses, the CHRO gets more involved—especially during the decision process.

While the HR SVP and other team members work through the selection process, the CHRO often reaches out to trusted peers, goes online, and quietly does their own research. As one CHRO put it when asked about her parallel research efforts, “This is a huge company—we have over 200 thousand employees. We have to get this right.”

This information comes from dozens of hour-long interviews with individuals involved in the purchase of a recognition solution in the past 12 months. Much of what is included here are verbatim comments, listed in order of most frequently mentioned. Because all interviewees purchased, this does not include data on what happens when the buying process stalls out.

FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY. Version 3.0; Published: 2023-12-18