When implementing new HR Technology, it is important to ensure that you have carefully scoped out the requirements and have a multi-year technology plan outlining how the HRIS system will support the organization in delivering the business plan. If you have the right system, clear objectives, expectations, and a strong HRIS team, HR can add significant value to the business. It is more about how you use the technology to analyze and paint a picture of the business versus the technology platform.
Given the continued push for driving efficiency in the work environment and delivering people analytics to help business leaders make better informed decisions, many CHRO’s are conducting RFP’s on HRIS systems and/or looking to upgrade their current HRIS platform. What is often missed when evaluating functionality is the primary objective(s) for investing in HR technology. Too often, the price tag becomes the #1 factor versus purchasing the technology that is right for the size and needs of the business. While cost is an important factor, it is critical that the project is scoped out prioritizing the objectives, functionality, must haves, future add-ons, understanding what is included and not included in the purchase price, and the time frame for implementation. Often, it is assumed that certain features are included, only to find out that there is an additional cost and impact to the company to have that functionality once you have already purchased the new system.
HR technology touches all areas of the business and functional areas within Human Resources. Areas to consider and to evaluate from an ROI perspective include Benefits, Field HR, HR Operations, Learning and Development, Talent Acquisition, and Compensation. The system can have a positive impact when automating processes, archiving information, reducing data entry, auditing data integrity, assigning courses, on boarding, and producing timely Human Capital Reports for leaders. Additionally, a huge benefit is applicant tracking and the ability for associates to access information on their phones.As the work environment continues to evolve and there are more remote workers, automation helps to engage associates online through texting, training, and streamlining communication and workflows.
The implementation needs to be well thought out with a project and communication plan in place to ensure a smooth transition and to create a positive end user experience. There is so much to think about as you plan the implementation – timing, customization, sequence of modules to be implemented, training, how people learn, goals and objectives, piloting and testing, ongoing technology support, dashboards, interfaces with other systems and vendors, and managing the change that goes along with introducing new processes and tools to the associate population. Special attention should be given to the data conversion projects since they involve coordinating internal and external resources to move the data and validate data integrity. Careful planning and attention to detail is a must in this area due to the impact it can have on getting employees paid correctly, benefit deductions, converting to new payroll cycles, and broken feeds and interface related challenges. There is nothing worse than impacting associates’ checks or benefits.
To lessen the anxiety and impact of a system or new module rollout, it is recommended that HR communicate the change well in advance and answer the question “why new technology and how does that impact me.”You may want to consider an opportunity to have users play in a sandbox version of the various modules prior to the official rollout to get comfortable with the new technology. Associates learn differently, so having a checklist, video, webinars, and refresher materials will come in handy. Incorporating change management into the process when contemplating new technology is critical for success and adoption of new technology.
Associates sometimes feel like HR is being replaced with systems and that the human interaction is missing from the work environment. It is not uncommon to hear that HR is behind closed doors and not accessible and that they are delegating their responsibility to the managers in the company. What is actually occurring is that the tactical functions are being automated and the human interaction is being redirected to allow HR professionals to focus on sourcing talent, learning and development, succession planning, employee relations, retention, and alignment with the business.Associates benefit by having the company leaders leverage the people analytics data to close skill gaps, identify areas of investment, allocate more HR resources to support key business initiatives, and enable self-management for accessing associate data.
HR technology enables optimization of the associate’s time through self-service, E-learning, and access to information. Through streamlining and simplification of HR workflows, HR technology can provide a better on boarding experience, learning new skills, new job opportunities, and placing a focus on engagement and communication within the organization. The impact on the overall organization is engagement and retention.
Robin Reininger is also the author of “Be the CHANGE,” A proven system to help you command change with confidence in your organization