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Influencers discuss how to avoid mistakes when implementing HR tech

Experts from The Sourcing Institute, Paychex and others point out the pitfalls of an HR transformation.
By: | September 3, 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 HR techimportant 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.

Shally Steckerl
Founder and President
The Sourcing Institute

 


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

Talent acquisition is one area where emerging tools are making it easier to use technology to drive decisions. In the past, companies that wanted to make sense of hiring data first needed to know what message they wanted to convey, be skilled enough to manipulate data to match that message, and turn the results into something that could be easily understood. Now, with even the most minimalistic of platforms, companies can sort through decades of data using visualization tools to examine trends such as the time it takes to fill positions and common traits of valuable employees to appropriately allocate resources and find the best talent.

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

Implementing new technologies never goes off without a hitch, but a common mistake is adding more technology to an already overloaded system. If you have a customer relationship management system for tracking applicants and then implement LinkedIn Recruiter for connecting with candidates, the systems won’t talk to each other, and data will have to be duplicated. Every time a new system is added, you multiply the chance for data to collide. It might make an individual task easier, but it can also add friction in another area in an unpredicted way.

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?

When bringing in new technology, pick a system that is intuitive, easy to use, and simple enough that it can be managed by the users themselves. If a new tool requires extensive training and supervision to ensure its success, it may become more complicated than the problem or gap it was implemented to fix. Appropriate technology in talent acquisition is having a hiring system that candidates, recruiters, and hiring managers share, dismissing the need for a coordinator to schedule interviews and serve as a “middle man.” It should also be able to smoothly integrate with the user’s workflow and environment.

Stacia Garr
Co-founder and Principal Analyst
RedThread Research

 


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

We believe that the areas of diversity and inclusion will be most impacted by emerging technologies, given that, to date, there has been almost no technology in the space. Our analysis shows that there are more than 120 vendors in the space that are either solely focused on D&I, offer a D&I feature, or are “D&I friendly”—and we are finding new ones to add to our list every week. These vendors offer capabilities to help with understanding diversity and inclusion at every stage in the employee lifecycle, including talent acquisition, development and advancement, engagement and retention, and talent analytics. As leaders are required to more actively enable diversity and inclusion systemically across the organization, they will increasingly turn to these new technologies to do things they have never been able to do in the past. Folks can read more about our research on this here: https://redthreadresearch.com/2019/02/05/discover-the-new-landscape-of-di-tech/

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

The integrated datification of HR is the most dramatic shift occurring within HR today. While we have historically had data within HRIS or integrated talent management systems, that information has lived in disparate systems, making it difficult to see the whole picture. Critically, though, both vendors and practitioners integrating that data with new data sources—ranging from sales or financial data to “passive” data (e.g., organizational network analysis or work productivity tools)—which is delivering new and meaningful impact. This space is so hot that we are seeing a lot of new entrants to the market from outside the HR space, who will push the industry along further. Like with all digital data today, though, there are some serious ethics, privacy, and security concerns that practitioners and vendors alike need to manage.

How is HR technology changing the way people work?

One of the biggest shifts we see is in the introduction of new technologies that can provide in-the-moment feedback to employees. For example, we’ve seen some technologies that listen to managers’ phone conversations with employees and give those managers feedback on their tone, frequency of speaking over others, and how often they ask questions. Other technology will give feedback to any employee on their email habits, such as how quickly they respond (and how that varies by demographics such as gender or location), the tone in which they respond and how that compares to others in the organization, and the frequency with which they email outside of work hours. Still other technology will give feedback to people as they are writing and gives suggestions along the way, including asking if someone really means to use a certain type of language (when it is derogatory or could be perceived as having implicit bias). These technologies are all effectively learning and coaching tools that can be integrated at scale into employees’ day-to-day activities, which is a huge shift from our old models of learning and coaching. As folks get more comfortable with the algorithms behind these tools, we think they will become more prevalent for all employees—hopefully resulting in more people becoming better colleagues.

Jeanne Meister
Founding Partner
Future Workplace

 


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

The biggest shift I see happening in HR today is a focus on using HR technologies to create a compelling and seamless employee experience. I define an employee experience as the sum total of all the experiences an employee has with their employer over the duration of their relationship with their employer. We are seeing companies leverage intelligence technologies to enhance the candidate, new hire and experienced experience with the goal of creating an employee experience that mirrors the best customer experience they create in the marketplace.

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

One of the biggest mistakes an HR leader can make in implementing new technologies is to do this alone, without active partnership with cross functional stakeholders. Our learners in our online course Using AI 4 HR, cite integrating AI with current technologies as one of their biggest barriers to implementing AI in the workplace. Companies committed to developing a modern workplace now have apps for workplace wellbeing, recruiting, real time collaboration, and even, personalized access to temperature control and light in the office. HR must consider implementing HR technologies as a team sport and partner closely with IT, Finance, and Communications to develop a shared vision for technology investment and integration.

How is HR technology changing the way people work?

The use of artificial intelligence is transforming the way companies recruit candidates, on-board, provide opportunities for growth, predict retention, and develop employees. Both candidates and employees expect a consumer grade experience in the workplace similar to their experience in their personal lives. Forward thinking HR leaders are re-imagining the employee life cycle and using HR technologies to answer questions like: Who might leave the organization and what can we do to retain them? What elements of on-boarding create an exceptional employee experience?  How might we provide greater opportunities for internal talent mobility? Leveraging intelligent HR technologies has the power to exponentially change the employee experience.

RELATED: Learn more about the upcoming HR Tech Conference and Expo

Matt Alder
Talent Acquisition and Innovation Consultant
MetaShift

 


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

With so much change happening it is difficult to pick out one area, [but] recruiting is one function that deserves a special mention. There is potential for intelligent automation at almost every stage of the recruiting process and the key theme of the next few years will be the quest to get the optimal balance between machines and humans at each point.

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

I think we are seeing an inevitable shift that will put “talent experience” at the center of every employer’s HR Technology strategy.  Realizing the potential of technology to offer a seamless personal experience at every stage of the talent lifecycle is mission-critical for the industry in the coming months and years. Integration, analytics, automation, design and machine learning will all play an important role.

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

The biggest mistake I see companies make is not having a clear integrated strategy that covers all the aspects of HR which their technology implementation will cover. Very often while the technology can achieve specifically identified objectives it can also have unintended consequences for other areas if things aren’t thought through holistically.

Laurie Zaucha
Vice President of Human Resources and Organizational Development
Paychex

 

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

The use cases for emerging technology in talent acquisition are vast and growing. From chatbots that pre-screen candidates to digital interviewing, technology is being used to source, recruit, prescreen, interview, and even assess candidates often before any human contact takes place. Not only can technology result in increasing recruiter efficiency, it can also mean finding higher quality candidates who have the right background and experience.

Automation has changed the job of the recruiter. The more repeatable tasks a machine can perform, the less mundane work recruiters need to do. That frees them up to spend more time concentrating on having high-quality conversations, creatively sourcing candidates, and diving deeper into screening. This shift means today’s recruiters need to maintain an elevated skillset that includes more analytical and strategic thinking than ever before.

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

When I think about acquiring new technologies, a common mistake that I see is going after “shiny new objects” rather than developing a strategy and then finding the right tool to support it.  Additionally, it’s easy to overdo technology and risk “tool fatigue” for users. In some cases, the same tool can accomplish many things, and it’s important to consider that before investing in another new tool.

When it comes to implementation, I am a big believer in conducting pilots and experiential labs before rolling out new technology to the entire organization. During that testing process, gather feedback from the pilot group and work with the vendor to ensure the tool accomplishes the objective and can be implemented in a way that ensures success.

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?

Simply put, it’s about WIIFM (“What’s In It For Me”). No matter the audience, adoption is all about getting the user to understand the value of the technology and how it will positively impact them personally. Secondarily, the technology should be intuitive and not require a lengthy job aid. Most users today don’t want to read a manual or attend training to learn how to use a new application. If the tool(s) you’re considering can’t be rolled out without a job aid or other formal training, you should reconsider your investment.

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