HR Technology Q & A with Paul Hebert


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 Senior Director, Solutions Architecture at Creative Group, Inc, Paul Hebert.

Q.  What are the advantages of combining both HR professionals and technology process experts to design software that will address HR’s future challenges?
Simple. Technology people know technology. HR people know HR. Neither have the context and background to create the best solution alone. Specifically, the benefits are:
• Speed – faster development
• Fewer false starts
• Less cost due to less mistakes and rework
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 biggest challenge to technology adoption is that most tech is designed to solve the sponsor's or company's problem – not solve a problem for the user. When ever I see lack of adoption I usually find a technology that adds value for the company but is a task to the user. Technology can't be a one-way street. Make sure that any technology you launch has a user benefit and sell that. Also – don't forget that any behavior change needs a reinforcement, communication and visibility plan. Continually reinforce users with some sort of recognition, communicate relentlessly on the technology and surface and make visible those that are using the technology. Nothing drives adoption more than seeing others using the technology successfully.
Q. Employees are increasingly using mobile to access their employers’ HR services.  How will employees’ evolving expectations affect an organization’s HR technology regarding access and security? 
You probably heard a lot at HRTech on the "consumerization" of HR technology. That isn't just for HR – for all technology in the business context. We are consumers and employees and our expectations are that all our technology should work like best in class technology. This significantly increases the expense and time needed to create and maintain quality technology for HR. Every business needs to use consumer technology as a bellwether for their own internal applications. If it is doable in the consumer space it is expected to be doable in the business/HR space. A good technology design firm (user experience/ user design/platform) should have a handle on the consumer space and be able to migrate that thinking to the business/HR application. If not – find someone else to work with. Consumer leads business most of the time.
Q.  What advice do you have for companies that are moving to a mobile responsive design for their recruiting process (career site, applications, communication)? 
My first piece of advice it to really understand the difference between, responsive and mobile. They are not the same. The idea that simply converting a site to "responsive" solves your mobile issue is a misnomer. Mobile apps are very different than a responsive site. I personally believe apps provide more user value because they focus more directly on the task the user wants to accomplish in a mobile context versus simply interacting with a website that looks okay on mobile. Mobile is more expensive typically as you have to build and maintain two or three apps so you can handle iOS, Android and maybe Windows platforms. A good mobile design company can help determine if building an app (or couple of apps) or converting your website to responsive is the right answer. But don't assume they are the same thing.
Qa. Recently, Goldman Sachs replaced campus recruiting with video.  How is video changing the way HR promotes employer brand and recruits new talent?  Qb. What advice do you have for HR pros who want to incorporate video into their talent management processes?   
As an "advertising" and branding effort I think it is the wave of the future. Youtube is still the second most searched site on the internet. Bite-sized, well designed video is the media choice of a huge number of people today. However, video in the interview process has to be handled a bit differently. My advice on video is go slowly on video interviewing. 
While it seems to be the fair-haired child of tech today there are many downsides that may not make it worth putting a huge amount of energy behind just yet. Things to keep in mind:
1. Bias is possible based on age, weight, sex and ethnicity. We can't eliminate our unconscious bias and video can acerbate that.
2. Video is not a technology many applicants may have experience with. If the job requires the use of video then it makes sense to judge a candidate on their ability to do the job suing a video option. If not, it could be seen as a negative if the tech didn't work right – or they don't have video capability on their computer (if they have one) unfairly coloring the applicant. 
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