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How to better engage workers in HR technology

Our HR Tech experts talk about how leaders can effectively engage employees in technology.
By: | November 4, 2019 • 5 min read

Influence in HR technology comes from many places, takes many forms and continues to evolve over time. When the HRE/HR Tech Conference team met over to work on this Influencers list, we knew it would be important to consider all aspects of influence. Some have more of a direct and immediate effect on products, while others have a more subtle yet longer-term impact. It’s safe to say all, however, are having an important and noticeable impact on where HR technology has been, where it is today and, perhaps most importantly, where it is heading. And that, above all else, informed the decision-making that went into compiling this list, which presents those being recognized in alphabetical order.

Click here to see the full list of the Top 100 HR Tech Influencers.

Chris Forman
Founder and CEO
Appcast

 


In acquiring and implementing new technologies, what’s the one or two most common mistakes HR organizations make?

Massive changes are afoot in talent acquisition. From the entry of Google and Facebook into the ‘jobs listing’ business, to the rise of software-driven ad buying, to the nascent introduction of AI to improve candidate experience…. the whole sector is on fire.

How can HR leaders best make the business case for HR technology investment?

Don’t be an early adopter. Be a ‘fast follower’. V1 of anything is messy.

How is HR technology changing the way people work?

HR tech isn’t changing how people work. The nature of work, who works and how they work is changing…. technology is endeavoring to keep up.

David D’Souza
Director of Membership
CIPD

 


What area of the HR function will be most impacted by emerging technologies, and why?

If one area of HR is impacted more than others, we are probably not using technology in the most integrated or joined up ways. To frame it another way, we need to make sure that that we are less focused on the impact on HR and more on the organisations and people that we support and enable to thrive. It’s clear, however, that professionals in some areas are leading the way in utilising technology. The candidate experience within recruitment has long needed a dramatic improvement and the impact of technology in this space in a thoughtful way has a chance to be genuinely transformative.

How can HR leaders best make the business case for HR technology investment?

The best business case for HR technology investment is to centre the case on the business rather than HR.  The problems we are trying to solve are business problems: improving performance, making the most of the potential of people in the organisation or supporting decision making. If we can link investment clearly to the ambitions and objectives of the business, it makes it far easier for other key stakeholders to understand the benefits to them rather than thinking of it as an HR initiative or localised investment.

Are there certain strategies that are more effective than others when it comes to getting your workforce to use new HR technologies being put in place?

One of the most obvious is to make sure that when selecting technology you are thinking about and involving the eventual users in the key decision making processes and also in the design of roll out plan. Despite being obvious some HR teams still manage the mental gymnastics needed to think they understand the potential user journey better than the users. The ancient skill of listening is key to the successful deployment of modern technology. Ongoing communication and role modelling then both play key parts—making sure that that the leadership teams lead the way in both delivering and communicating the value created for the organisation.

Lorna Borenstein
Founder and CEO
Grokker

 


What’s the single most dramatic shift you see happening in the HR tech space today?

Employees are clearly in the driver’s seat of the employment relationship: 94% of US workers want their employers to ensure the benefits offered have a meaningful impact on their quality of life—and 55% have left jobs in the past because they found better benefits or perks elsewhere. Employers need to create a culture of wellbeing and make their employees authentically believe they care about them. It’s not a CFO driven equation, it’s a CEO driven mission to care about more than just shareholder returns in order to thrive in a new workplace that is distinctly more human.

In acquiring and implementing new technologies, what’s the one or two most common mistakes HR organizations make?

Risk aversion causes HR organizations to make the classic mistake of taking too long to adopt and experiment with new technologies. So worry less about making a mistake and focus instead on how to bring a modern solution your employees will love. You may not get it right all of the time, but you will be learning, growing, and demonstrating that you are trying hard to deliver the best employee experience rather than sticking with the status quo.

Are there certain strategies that are more effective than others when it comes to getting your workforce to use new HR technologies being put in place?

Treat employees like consumers if you want them to use new technology. This means delivering an experience that delights them: pick tech that resonates with how employees like to interact (on their smartphones, using video, on-demand, etc.) and that uses consumer-grade gamification plus the kind of calendaring and notifications they have grown accustomed to. Don’t just set it and forget it—continuously provide opportunities for your employees to use the tech. So pick partners who know how to do this and have battle tested their tech with actual consumers.

Jeanne Achille
Founder and CEO
The Devon Group

 


What’s the single most dramatic shift you see happening in the HR tech space today?

It’s hard to identify a single shift because the HR tech space is so vibrant and dynamic. The one that intrigues me the most is the use of blockchain as a transformative technology. Previously, there was a lot of confusion around this technology because it was being associated with bitcoin. Au contraire. The potential for blockchain far exceeds one manifestation: in a recent Deloitte survey, 53% of respondents see blockchain as a top-five strategic priority, which is a jump on 10 percentage points over 2018. The use cases include background screening, skills matching, payroll and sourcing. For employees, it represents the portability of one’s employment credentials such as performance reviews, learning and development, and benefits.

In acquiring and implementing new technologies, what’s the one or two most common mistakes HR organizations make?

HR operates under a lot of pressure. Few business disciplines deal with the range of people, problems, deadlines and expectations. Sometimes HR technology buying decisions are made without a solid assessment of the impact across the enterprise. Other times, decisions are made point-in-time to fix an isolated problem that might be related to broken workflows. Multifaceted organization mapping—with a watchful eye on culture, candidates, employees and skills—should be an integral part of acquiring and implementing new technologies. It will not only serve as a roadmap; it will uncover opportunities and redundancies.

How is HR technology changing the way people work?

I’d argue this question should be flipped. It’s people who are changing HR technology. Years ago, whatever HR and the organization dictated became the norm. So, if your job included being issued a swell 7 lb. laptop, so be it. You lugged it around and did your job. Newer entrants into the workforce—especially those who are digital natives—won’t stand for less than a consumer-grade “bring your own device” experience in HR technology. It’s the key driver behind vendors scrambling to up their game and HR departments trying to complete digital transformations in a reasonable timeframe. The quality of the employee experience can make or break the employer brand. No organization can be an employer of choice if workers are forced to interact with outdated technologies.

Ram Charan
Business advisor, author and speaker

 


What area of the HR function will be most impacted by emerging technologies, and why?

In this age of transparency in which people have instant access to information, HR’s greatest need is to enable each employee to know his or her potential and to help the person achieve it at the right speed with the right experiences.  Technology will permit HR to extend its obsession to have the right people in the right jobs at all times. It will allow the employee experience to be personalized, just as Amazon personalizes the consumer experience, so an individual’s fit with the job can be continually upgraded as the world changes. A great fit releases human energy and delivers superior results against competition.

What is the single most dramatic shift you see happening in the HR tech space today?

The biggest shift I see is the use of technology in recruiting.  New algorithmic technologies have been developed to screen candidates.  This is especially helpful to companies such as call centers or big box retailers that have to recruit thousands or even hundreds of people a year.  Algorithms can screen for applicants that have the right values and cultural fit, or ferret out which candidates are likely to stay longer. These screening algorithms will improve as they incorporate feedback from the field regarding the candidate’s success or failure in the job.

How is HR technology changing the way people work?

HR technology plays a key role in getting work done by autonomous teams.  It can create a continuously updated “people diary” that goes beyond traditional data on a person’s educational background, jobs chronology, and accomplishments to track data on what skills and traits the person has developed in each job and how the person’s newly developed skills and traits could be leveraged.  This technology can then help team leaders find people from across the organization to build the right composition of their teams.

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