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 Jeremy Ames, CEO of Hive Tech HR.
Q. Which new type of HR technology is most revolutionizing the HR profession?
I might disappoint you by saying “none of it,” but hopefully redeem myself by adding “yet.” There are a lot of great products out there, and I plan to see many of them at this month’s conferences, however all major revolutions require one key component – cohesion – and right now there is a lack of cohesion in the utilization of HR Technology. Some companies are stuck in old technology and unwilling to take the leap forward. Others have invested heavily in newer, “integrated” systems that handle things well-enough across the board, but now those same companies can’t pay the incremental cost to be revolutionary. It’s coming, and I sense that Talent Acquisition and Management are likely disciplines where it will originate. That said, other than the early adopters, the Revolution isn’t quite here yet, though I hope to be a part of it.
Q. What are the advantages of combining both HR professionals and technology process experts to design software that will address HR’s future challenges?
Great software almost always comes from the intersection of what’s needed (business) and what’s possible (technical). As long as you get HR pros that can express themselves (not usually a problem) and technical people who can listen and interpret, you’re most of the way there. The challenge will be in finding the HR pros that can think 3 years into the future, detailed as follows:
- 9 months between idea conception and a marketable product
- 9 months to sell the darn thing
- The buyer then a year-and-a-half of a product that addresses future challenges
Q. What do you want HR professionals to understand about the process of selecting HR software? What are the key considerations?
A while back, Tincup and I wrote about the 7 keys to buying HR software (product, implementation, support, adoption, etc.). That’s all still relevant. However, the #1 thing that HR pros need to understand today is that you’re no longer buying different varieties of hamburgers. There is an immense variety of options out there not only at the product by product level, but in your overall approach to getting there. Talent Management is the ultimate example of that, where you can literally take a dozen different paths to achieving your goals, with one product or 12. You can be innovative or conservative in your choice of paths and products. The help you needed before of simply shepherding you through the process is combined with the need to match what you need to what’s possible…and it now goes well beyond varieties of cheese.
Q. What advice do you have for HR professionals that will help to ensure a more successful technology implementation? Where are most mistakes made?
Spend 2 hours listening to me rant? Here are some things you’d hear:
• Take time upfront to understand the process.
• Get your resources lined up before the project starts
• Find the documentation you need and load it up to the shared site, and organize it well
• Don’t assume that all of your existing processes are going to make it into the new system.
• Have somebody who really understands project management serving as the liaison to the vendor/partner implementer.
• Most mistakes are made on budget and schedule, so nail that part of it if nothing else.
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?
A topic near and dear to my heart, it speaks to the value of our work. Some thoughts:
- Don’t wait until a month before go-live to consider adoption. In fact, start planning how you’ll obtain adoption from the moment you first see the product
- Communicate. Assume they aren’t talking and don’t know it’s coming. People don’t high five at the water cooler over benefit admin systems
- Choose software that will be easily adopted. In a recent article I called it a Journey to the S.O.L of user adoption (simple, obligatory, loved)
- If you don’t get help with user adoption the moment you identify the problem, by the time you act it will be too late
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