HR Technology Q & A with David Kovacovich


The 2016 HR Technology Conference is October 4-7. Over the next month The SHRM Blog will feature a Q & A series with several HR technology experts who will offer their perspective on how technology is impacting the HR profession today -- and their predictions for the future.

The following is a Q & A with Engagement Strategist, Organizational Culturalist, and Behavioral Economist David Kovacovich:


Q.  What do you want HR professionals to understand about the process of selecting HR software?  What are the key considerations?

Too often, procurement will look for commodity pricing to create a fair evaluation of the best fit for partnership. This model does not always address workforce engagement. I would urge HR program managers, line management representation and C Level sponsorship to participate in extensive program design meetings prior to selecting the vendor of choice. The ONLY WAY to avoid unforeseen charges during implementation is to ensure rule structures are in place, long/short term program roll out is defined and that pricing is contractually binding in application to the aforementioned. 

Q. What advice do you have for HR professionals that will help to ensure a more successful technology implementation?  Where are most mistakes made?

Don’t get over ambitious with non-standard services. Each organization has ideas that they determine as “neat value adds” that they feel would make the program engaging. Spending 5 figures on customizations that are not mission-critical is a waste of money. The best way to make your program unique is to customize initiatives that are unique to your organizational mission and that produce inarguable return on investment. Designing programs that serve as pats on the back for the sake of fulfilling a Total Rewards checklist should be replaced by programs that scale to produce measurable results. If you cannot calculate and measure program success BEFORE the program is launched, you are using the wrong measures for success.  

Q. What are the biggest challenges to employee adoption of new HR technology and what advice would you give to HR professionals to ensure that employee adoption of new HR technology is successful?

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Make it easy to use – one screen simple process submission process.
  • Promote, promote, promote – on internal HR Resources site, in print, in the workplace, in any area employees congregate.
  • Make training simple, quick and available for employees to utilize at-their-own-pace.

Q.  Technology is enabling HR to look at how their strategy affects organizational performance, in addition to HR-specific problems. To what extent are today’s HR professionals able to step outside the box that has traditionally defined their role?

Employee Engagement and Performance Management are THE areas for HR Professionals to differentiate themselves as leaders! Both initiatives require guidance from Human Resources to all organizational functions. HR has the opportunity to be the conduit to change, collaboration and revenue production through Employee Engagement and Performance Management. Employee Engagement has a tiered past, HR Pros need to take the organizational steering wheel to determine what will produce the leaders of tomorrow, how to build organizational trust and how to turn obligatory pats on the back into measurable bottom line revenue drivers. Performance Management is the gateway to creating organizational transparency and to amplifying the internal talent pool.   

Q.  As technology evolves, what do you think the future of HR will look like?  

Performance Management is the key initiative of the future. While several HR Tech vendors have set the pace, this space has a ton of untapped potential. Technology that helps managers utilize SCARF and Holacracy as a means to involve employees in their own develop can set the road map for a self-empowered workforce. The days of a single manager protecting their employee development are over, yet we are still leaning on technology that promotes glorified performance reviews. We can do much better:

  • Employee Recognition should be front ended by impactful performance initiatives.
  • Leaders should be home grown.
  • Pay outs for off-the-shelf objective fulfillment can be replaced by opportunity for leadership exposure.
  • Everything should be social… who hit their goals (badging), who can assess performance (input from peers, managers and executives alike).
  • Be Boldly Transparent – if there is never a need for an exit interview, no employees will depart disengaged!    





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