Q&A With HR Tech Influencer Jason Averbook
Co-founder and CEO
What’s the single most dramatic shift you see happening in the HR tech space today?
The biggest shift happening in today’s HR technology space has little to do with technology, implementation, adoption, or even measurement. HR technology supports workforce experience, and that’s all about design. Over the past five decades, we have been designing HR technology solutions and deploying these solutions to match the title of our industry. In other words, we’ve essentially been building “technology for HR.” Times have changed; our audience has shifted where forever where a technology provider’s audience is the workforce and their experience. As part of this shift, we’re finally learning the importance of driving employee engagement, not enragement. And when the workforce uses the solutions we deploy to them—engagement as both cause AND effect—the people function gains the data we need to be true, strategic business partners.
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?
We set short-sighted goals when we put HR technologies in place: we just want to get it live, then we want to drive adoption, then we put a governance model around them to keep them current. The strategy for getting the workforce to USE them should support a longer-term, more strategic goal: the technology should support a business outcome and make the people using it more effective at accomplishing that goal. Start by calling them something other than “HR tools and technologies” and try “business or people solutions.”
We must also realize that Phase 1 deployments need to both add value AND create an experience that will bring them back. It’s a lesson we’ve learned from the outside world—when we download an app from the app store, we decide within seconds if we like it. If we don’t, we delete it. If Phase 1 of a deployment doesn’t make an immediate and positive impact on the employees it was designed for, the worker will abandon the use of that tool and our rollout will be for naught. We won’t get the workforce back, and they will revert to talking to the HR business partner.
How can HR leaders best make the business case for HR technology investment?
The best way for an HR leader to make a business case for HR technology is by a) not calling it HR technology and b) understand how “WHY = I”—why are we doing something, how it equates, and how we will measure the impact of our investment. Too many times our business cases are not business cases but HR cases; this doesn’t sell. We must consider broader organizational objectives and tie our initiatives to those efforts. If we’re trying to make the case for something we cannot tie to organizational objectives, then demonstrate the tangible impact of our actions, we shouldn’t be doing it. We live in a world of people solutions, not HR technology. Tie your business case to a solution for the workforce that you can measure and which meets an organizational objective, and it will meet open ears.