Ben Eubanks, principal analyst at Lighthouse Research, shares his perspective on how technology is impacting the HR profession today — and his predictions for the future.
Q. What are the advantages of combining both HR professionals and technology process experts to design software that will address HR’s future challenges?
Last week I spoke with a friend that runs an HR technology company, and he’s never worked in HR. While some would see that as a liability, it has caused him to ask questions, evaluate opportunities in a different light, and deliver a product that literally makes business leaders go to HR (or around HR) to try to get it implemented. I think the value of combining the HR subject matter expertise with a technologist’s systematic approach is going to deliver the most value over the long term.
Q. What do you want HR professionals to understand about the process of selecting HR software? What are the key considerations?
Use cases. If I could get HR leaders to understand one thing about the selection process, it would be how to create great use cases. Creating a set of use cases takes some time, but it is the heart of the demonstration and ensures a good fit for both parties. Here’s how to get started:
1. Make a list of the different types of people that will interact with the system. This could include IT, management, employees, HR, or any other parties that use the system.
2. Put yourself in the role of each user. Ask, “What do I need from this talent management solution?” Be careful not to get caught in the “features trap” and instead focus on specific needs.
3. Communicate specific topics to be addressed. For each user type, document a series of action-oriented steps you want demonstrated, discussed as a service requirement, or performed as part of a test drive.
4. Circulate the list of use cases to stakeholders and to a sample of the user population. Update the use cases as needed until there is a general consensus.
5. Create an evaluation form to grade the system during demonstrations and during your own testing. Because the statements are action-oriented, they can easily be evaluated by representatives from each of the user groups.
6. Invite solution providers to demonstrate their ability to meet the needs of your defined use case. Send the use cases in advance to help the briefings to flow more smoothly and to serve as a script.
Finally, talent leaders must actively leverage the use cases as a primary part of the selection process. The use case will help you understand how the system will meet your needs and quickly expose any areas of weakness or issues requiring workarounds.
Q. What advice do you have for companies that are moving to a mobile responsive design for their recruiting process (career site, applications, communication)?
Our research shows that just 22% of companies are regularly tracking the impact of mobile on the candidate experience, whether that includes mobile-enabled career sites, mobile applications, or other features.
The candidate experience is becoming one of the key signals for job seekers. However, the data shows that many companies, while they know the candidate experience is valuable, are not using data and metrics to support their efforts. Companies need to examine application drop off rates, candidate satisfaction signals, and other related factors to take advantage of this opportunity.
Q. What area of Human Resources profession (recruiting, OD/Training, comp/benefits, employee relations, etc.) do you see technology affecting the most in the next five years?
I’d have to say that I see talent acquisition technology as the most revolutionary. From artificial intelligence and bots to recruitment marketing and predictive analytics, there’s an incredible amount of innovation happening within the space. Companies are now able to map the full candidate journey across job boards, employer review sites, and career pages. Candidates are getting a more transparent look at the hiring process and are getting more information than ever before about the companies they are interested in. It’s an exciting time to be an analyst in this industry!
Q. As technology evolves, what do you think the future of HR will look like?
My dream is for HR to be as savvy with its technological approach and focus on data as someone within the sales and marketing organization. Ask a marketer how a campaign went, and she can tell you stats about landing page visits, conversion rates, and more. Ask an HR leader today how a particular program is running, and they might be able to give you anecdotal information or even a basic piece of information, but they can’t dig to the level of these other functions. The more HR executives demand data and analytics from their vendor partners, the more robust and mature those functionalities will become over time. HR in the future will be a technology-enabled, company-leading function that drives immense value through the company’s people.