Creating Your HR Technology Strategy #HRTechConf

“Identify your strategy team, book a conference room, bring markers, coffee and candy — and write down everything.” –  Mark Stelzner

This was the roll-up-your-sleeves approach that Mark Stelzner, founder and managing principal at IA HR, recommended as he spoke about “Creating Your HR Technology Strategy” at Human Resource Executive’s 18th Annual HR Technology Conference & Exposition.

Creating the HR technology strategy for your organization can be an ominous task. It can even be scary. What will this technology journey look like? Will I have enough people? Will I have cooperation and buy-in? Will I be able to take a vacation!?  These are some of the questions that can cause heartburn.

So how do you begin? You gather some basic information about your company that will be helpful to planning:

  • Make sure you have a copy of the organization’s overall strategy plan.
  • Get previously approved business cases and look at the language used so you can take the request out of HR’s language and put it into theirs.
  • Get the information for the CapEx/OpEx rules for your organization and on how to navigate your organization’s budget planning process to get approval for funding for your project.

And define your HR technology focus and purpose:

  • What are HR’s mission, vision and values?
  • Define the roles that HR will serve – strategist, steward or service provider?
  • What are your guiding principles?
  • What are the enablers of success?

Keep digging!

Next, take stock of key information such as systems inventory, workflow diagrams, stakeholders, risk assessment, targeted timelines, interfaces, competitive intel, demographics, network bandwidth, KPIs, desired outcomes, projected growth, infrastructure, security protocols, use cases, contractual expirations, device and browser support, and network bandwidths. YOU GET THE POINT. Not knowing this information can kill an HR technology implementation. Write it all down and talk to your peers. Bring in IT stakeholders early and have honest conversations.

Map it

    Process map the state of your organization. Draw a high-level picture of your current systems and HR technology landscape. Even if it’s frightening. Frightening process maps will get the attention of the C-Suite!

    What are the benefits of creating a detailed process map?

    1.      An unbiased representation of your current organization and approach.

    2.      The unearthing of hidden costs.

    3.      The permission to drive immediate process and policy changes irrespective of your technology.

    4.      Empowerment and inclusion – Most feel that HR technology is being imposed upon them, so this brings everyone into the change. The pace of change is relentless and it’s forever. Infuse a strong sense of empowerment in your organization to ensure successful change management in the future.

    5.      Your process map may be a messy graphic that screams for improvement.

    Validate with stakeholder feedback

    Yes – it’s important to do validation surveys and get feedback.

    And think about this: the second “s” in SaaS. It stands for service. Focus on service and engagement. It’s very easy to forget the service component, but this must be a part of your story and a part of your ask for money.

    Run some numbers.

    Remember that productivity gains are soft calculations to a CEO. The reality is this: unless you are displacing an actual person, don’t include it.

    Include IT

    You have to embrace your IT partners to do this right. HR must partner with IT to achieve a true ROI.

    The Rollup

    Create a goal statement and identify milestones and blue chips.

    The Placemat

    This is the one pager for the C-suite that summarizes all the major details. This is an unbelievably powerful document because the C-suite doesn’t’ have a lot of time for details. They’ll need something that’s concise and easy to read.

    And finally, follow these smart tips that outline the process:

    • Be forensic. Know yourself, your team, your organization and your culture
    • Anticipate your biggest detractors and get them on your side early
    • Align your strategy with the organizational plan and the HR plan
    • Inventory everything to gain a true picture of your organization
    • Document everything
    • Talk to internal customers
    • Scour the market for answers
    • All software requires service, so plan for it
    • Build your financial models
    • Define your roadmap
    • Convey in a format that is easy for consumption and approval

    Ask yourself this:  At the end of the day what does success look like?  How will you know if and when you’ve arrived — and what qualitative and quantitative metrics will you use to know?


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