HR Technology Q & A with Jessica Miller-Merrell

The 2016 HR Technology Conference is October 4-7. Over the next week, 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 Jessica Miller-Merrell, VP of Talent Strategies at Advanced Group.    


Q. Which new type of HR technology is most revolutionizing the HR profession?

I love machine learning and artificial intelligence technology, as I believe that smart technology will help HR professionals. AI and machine learning will help personalized the candidate or employee process while also automating administrative tasks allowing HR to focus on being a strategic business partner.


Q.  What is the single most important piece of technology an HR pro can have in 2016?

This question really depends on a lot of factors including your business size, industry and plans for growth. The most important HR technology starts with the HR fundamentals which are identified in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. We need technology that helps us in first the physiological stage, which in my mind includes payroll. From there, we can advanced to safety which includes your HRIS, compliance and your applicant tracking system.


Q. Why is it important that HR include their technology department leaders at the beginning of the software selection process and not after the contract has been signed? 

Your IT or technology department are critical to the success of an HR technology implementation. They are experts in the area of technology where maybe as HR professionals we are not. Your technology team can help you identify and ask the hard questions with the technology vendor you are considering. They can help you take a hard look at implementation, timeline and the support needed for the new technology to not only be launched but become a part of the larger business and organizational culture.


Q. What important questions should HR professionals ask HR technology vendors in the selection process?

You need to ask your HR technology to be clear about implementation timelines, support including training they offer during and after the launch, customizations, their response time as well as integrations.

Push back on your HR technology vendor and make sure you identify if the integrations already exist versus needing to be created and built as well as modules and products you have paid for. Many time startups in our industry have products built out in training or are on their roadmap for development. You need to make sure the product that you are purchasing is already built especially if you need it and are paying for it as part of your larger HR and talent acquisition strategy. I’ve heard my share of horror stories of practitioners who have signed multiple year contracts only to learn later the product was not fully developed and would not be available for implementation or use until the next year. I love working with startup and early stage HR technologies, however, it’s important to ask these questions so we can plan our businesses accordingly.


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? 

Your technology rollout involves incredible amounts of planning, strategy and project management. The biggest challenge for a HR technology to be adopted is through communication, resources and marketing by not just your HR team but your senior leadership as well as your front line managers.

Treat the launch of your new HR technology the same way you would when launching a new product or service to our business or customer market. Work with your marketing strategy, PR and communication team to leverage their expertise on ways to touch your employees using multiple internal marketing and communication channels and build a internal marketing and product launch plan that focuses on training, communication and re-communicating to your employees and leaders multiple times and ways.



The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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