If you could give one piece of advice to HR leaders looking for new HR software, what would it be?
To help HR leaders deploy the best new and appropriate technology, we asked tech leaders and experienced HR managers this question for their best advice. From involving users in the software selection process to budgeting for a long-term adoption plan, there are several pieces of advice that address issues pertinent to the successful planning, selection, and deployment of new HR software.
Here are 12 tips for HR leaders looking for new HR technology:
- Involve Users in The Software Selection Process
- Make The Tech an Enabler of Your Value Addition Work
- Understand How The Tech Integrates With Existing Stack
- Focus on Improving Business Performance Related to People
- Get Optimal Results by Leading With The Work
- Develop a Clear Plan for Your Tech Stack First
- Get The Digital HR Experience Right
- Look for Accessibility-Compliant Software
- Don’t Undermine Trust With Your Choice of Technology
- Identify Gaps in Your Current Set Up for Improvement
- Be Aware It's Not Just About Technology
- Budget for a Long-Term Adoption Plan
Involve Users in the Software Selection Process
One mistake I see made often is when leaders and other stakeholders make software selections without involving the staff that will be using it. Their involvement can add tremendous value when it comes to what features of the software should be implemented, best use cases and more. My advice would be to get some of your power users involved early in the process. The same applies if going from paper to software.
Rollis Fontenot III, Founder of HR Maximizer Inc
Make the Tech an Enabler of your Value Addition Work
If you really want to do deep and value-adding work in HR, find a way to handle the mundane part with technology. And adopting an HR software that matches your requirement is possibly the most effective way to do that. You can use the data generated to focus on areas that deserve attention by HR leadership. Using the data, you can engage with the stakeholders for a deep dive and facilitate/craft solutions that work for them. I have found a good HR software duly adopted in an organization, to be a great enabler.
Pramod Solanki, Founder of Performance Enablers
Understand How the Tech Integrates with Existing Stacks
It's not the quest to find the latest shiny tool that conquers them all. Having integration foresight for your business ecosystem helps you avoid a disruptive landmine. Understanding how the tech will integrate with the existing business stack is essential. Keep it between your eyes.
Tolu Ajayi, Talent Manager at ID Africa
Focus on Improving Business Performance Related to People
For too long HR software investments have focused on making HR processes efficient and providing self-service. The result is a myriad of siloed transactional systems (HRMS, talent management, workforce management, etc.). This focus on efficiency of processes reduces administrative burden but does little to help business performance as it relates to people. After all, people really are the business.
What is needed is to close the gap between the questions business leaders have about their workforce related to their desired business outcomes, and the rich HR data in those transactional systems which hold many answers. Going forward, technology investments need to focus on solutions that harmonize/aggregate data from all those data sources inside and outside the organization and securely deliver answers to meet business leader needs at their point of need.
Lexy Martin, Principal, Research at Visier
Get Optimal Results by Leading with the Work
Too often the visibility of the software or the challenges integrating it with existing infrastructure results in HR leaders leading with the tech. Yet, we all know that unless we lead with the work and the experience of the work, the implementation will always be sub-optimal. Regardless of how good the tech is.
Leading with the work is essential to ensuring delivery of real ROI and sustainability of the solution. It also ensures that all the "enabling systems" like the role of stakeholders, adjacent processes, control systems like budgeting are explicitly identified and addressed.
Ravin Jesuthasan, Senior Partner and Global Leader for Transformation Services at Mercer
Develop a Clear Plan for Your Tech Stack First
Most organizations are utilizing multiple types of technology today but very few are satisfied with what they have. Usually, this is a result of adding solutions over time to address a specific need or issue without enough thought about the broader impacts or aligning decisions to a strategic plan.
Impacts from purchasing the wrong technology can quickly add up and result in an expensive stack of solutions that are not driving the results you need. Each solution in your tech stack should play a role but also work together with the rest of your delivery model to create the desired experience for all stakeholders. A clear plan or roadmap for your technology will help you get it right.
Ryan Dull, Founder of Sagemark
Get the Digital HR Experience Right
New HR technology enables new, digital HR services with a better experience for managers and employees - and that reduces attrition and drives productivity.
To actually deliver the full business impact of new HR tech, companies must do three things that they currently under leverage: First, experience is much more than tech - companies need to understand the impact of digital touchpoints vs. human and physical touchpoints to know how much the new tech can actually do to improve experience.
Second, companies must precisely know and invest in those technology experiences that matter the most to the employees and managers (and not to the team that implements the new technology). Third, companies should focus more on those digital experiences that help employees and managers in their day-to-day work - because they are having the highest impact on people's productivity and intent to stay.
Volker Jacobs, CEO and Founder of FOUNT Global Inc.
Look for Accessibility-Compliant Software
Even within diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), people with disabilities are often left behind. While software makers are not known (at least most of them!) for designing accessible and inclusive software, accessibility should be top of mind for all HR pros who are buying it.
Ethics, integrity, and fighting ableism are simply not "nice to haves": they're the way to ensure not only that your employees can actually use software, but usually lead to better user experiences as well. Companies should be consistent about asking for voluntary product accessibility template (VPAT) documents from potential vendors, and look for software that complies with Section 508 or WCAG 2.0 standards.
Aubrey Blanche, Senior Director of Equitable Design, Product & People at Culture Amp
Don't Undermine Trust with Your Choice of Technology
To earn the trust of candidates and employees in a digital workplace, we need to do more than ensure legal compliance. Avoid using technology that unreasonably leverages the power asymmetry, reduces individual agency or that people consider being unfairly beneficial to employers whilst disadvantageous to them. Reconsider technology that uses data candidates or employees may judge to be inappropriate, even if it is legal.
Design technology workflow integrations to increase employee agency. Clearly communicate the purpose of a technology, how it operates, what data it uses and the decisions it’s making or informing. Continuously strive to earn the trust of candidates and employees through technology choices, data usage, and implementation practices.
Philippa "Pip" Penfold, Co-Founder of People Collider
Identify Gaps in Your Current Set Up for Improvement
When selecting a new HR system the mistake that many organizations make is not fully understanding current state processes associated with the systems already in use. Taking the time to assess internal processes across HR functional areas will strengthen your position as you enter the RFP phase with vendors. This due diligence allows you to identify where you truly have system gaps or process improvement opportunities.
The selection team can then avoid being distracted by the bells and whistles vendors will emphasize, and may instead guide any product conversations to address core needs, pain points and opportunities for efficiency via the functionality of the technology and automation. Taking this approach also allows you to rank capabilities and make better-informed decisions about what system provider might be the best fit and how to measure post-implementation success based on the desired outcomes you've defined and agreed upon as a collaborative team.
Tiffani Murray, Director, HR Tech Partners at LinkedIn
Be Aware It's Not Just About Technology
Although we tend to focus on the technology, I caution HR software adopters not to view technology as more than just one piece of the HR digital transformation puzzle. Based on recent research, “… digital transformation is fundamentally a leadership challenge as opposed to a technology one.” Strategy, mindset and culture are also important pieces of the same puzzle.
Mostafa Azzam, Global HR Consultant and Trainer at the HR talent
Budget for a Long-Term Adoption Plan
Researching, selecting, buying, and implementing an HR tech solution is often long, tedious, and exhausting. Yet "go live" with a new HR Tech platform is not the end of the journey, rather, it is just the start. Make sure to allocate the budget, management oversight, and staff capacity to thoughtfully foster sustained adoption over a period of years. And don't assume that the go live configuration or functionality will be perfect; you'll need to continue to tweak and improve based on user feedback.
Ben Brooks, Founder and CEO of PILOT Inc