Essential approaches that speed up HR technology adoption.
By Amber Hyatt
The explosion of cutting-edge HR technology has placed tremendous responsibility in the hands of talent management professionals. With the range of software technology options available and demand to manage the increasingly complex world of talent management, pressure is on HR leaders to select systems that deliver the biggest business value for their organizations. But for HR decision makers, implementing HR technology takes time. A thorough approach enables organizations to adapt at each step of the process, ensuring optimal results upon integration. Some good news: Implementation is underway for one third of HR professionals, according to SilkRoad’s State of HR Technology Report. This group reports that their organizations are making steady progress toward business goals with “evolution, not revolution,” the primary pace when it comes to HR technology adoption.
So why is the implementation of HR technology being woven at a slow, deliberate pace? The report finds:
- Many companies are just introducing technologies to replace manual solutions, with most in the early-to- intermediate phases of system automation. In fact, 55 percent of companies surveyed use a partially automated system, where spreadsheets are still used for some HR functions, including housing employee job profiles or tracking candidates for hiring.
- Many organizations operate with multiple systems that do not share data: only 31 percent of those surveyed have fully automated HR systems. Talent management systems that are not fully integrated present a challenge to HR teams since the amount of critical data is less, which causes inconsistent workflow.
- Workforce data gives HR a strategic business advantage, yet fewer companies have plans for data analytics in the coming year. Of those surveyed, 44 percent report they were at early stages of using data effectively for decision making, while nearly half rate their companies as intermediate users, and just 7 percent of survey respondents say they are “power users.”
- A bit of a dichotomy: a small percentage of companies are making HR data and applications available via mobile while 63 percent of professionals rated mobile capabilities as important to their organizations. In fact, even in priority areas such as performance management and workforce planning, respondents used mobile just 26 percent and 11 percent of the time, respectively.
The delay in the adoption of HR technology has a profound impact on organizations. There’s clearly a need for the bits and pieces of standalone tools to be consolidated into a single cohesive system. Without the analysis of data in holistic, strategic ways, the opportunities to understand the relationships between learning and onboarding, or leadership and performance are lost. Mobile HR can be a game changer, and HR leaders should put some muscle behind mobility, especially in recruiting Millennials who are constantly on the go.
Luckily, HR professionals realize this and are pushing their technology agendas forward, with plans to roll out new applications and integrate existing ones in the coming year. At the top of HR’s technology agenda: Adding one or more applications (48 percent) and better integrating existing applications (46 percent).
Using Data More Effectively
From performance management to rewards and recognition, HR professionals agree they can utilize data more effectively. Sixty-two percent say they’d like to use HR data more effectively for performance followed by workforce planning (45 percent) to ensure they have the right people in the right place at the right time to achieve business outcomes. Unfortunately, a broad mindset by C-level executives has slowed HR tech adoption.
To overcome this, HR professionals need to be sure they frame the discussion properly by asking and answering the right questions to gauge the potential organizational impact. A few of the most critical questions include:
- Are we doing a good job of identifying and addressing pain points?
- What’s the potential ROI for our business?
- How can we be more strategic in using big data to make a major impact?
- Do company executives fully understand what’s involved with the hiring/firing process?
- How much money can the company save per month with employee self-service?
Through this lens, the impact of HR technology on business becomes more clear, giving the entire organization a better understanding of how accurate performance data and real- time performance metrics can be used to align employees with business strategy, address skills gaps, predict future needs, and develop hiring strategies.
Educating executive management on the long-term staying power and business impact of HR technology ensures the enduring support and financial resources necessary for successful adoption and implementation.
Increasingly, cutting-edge HR technology has the ability to make a significant organizational impact, and it’s up to HR professionals to keep technology adoption moving forward. Doing so requires vision, tenacity, a data-driven mentality, and most of all, the deep expertise to select the technologies right for an organization to translate awareness into action, and ultimately results. While implementation of HR technology is currently being woven at a slow pace, asking and answering the right questions can move HR technology adoption to the front of the line, clarifying how it can positively impact the organization’s bottom line.
Amber Hyatt, SPHR, is director of product marketing for cloud-based talent management solutions provider SilkRoad. She can be reached at Amber.Hyatt@silkroad.com.
For more information, please see the entire State of HR Tech Report from SilkRoad.
When it comes to adoption of a new HR technology solution, HR professionals must become champions at translating benefit awareness in order to facilitate action and develop a cohesive strategy. To do so effectively, consider the following before selecting a system:
Keep up with the latest HR tech trends and articulate the strategic value of each system to become confident at analyzing metrics the system will provide.
Identify key stakeholders in an automation/integration effort and build support through partnerships across the organization.
Make system usability and design top priorities to ease the transition.
Identify KPIs for success and continually set company expectations.
Develop a strong rollout plan with clear milestones and timelines to ensure that your approach guarantees a manageable project.
Prepare a communication plan that accompanies the technical plan; the first priority should be ensuring employees understand the benefits and challenges of the tech adoption.