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HR Technology is crucial for driving better business outcomes, enhancing employee experience and facilitating growth, but many organisations still find themselves failing to implement it effectively. Where are we going wrong?

According to Bersin’s research, 42 per cent of HR professionals say their organisation has failed to effectively implement technology, with this shortfall defined as most employees refusing to use it or seeing little benefit in its features and functions.

For Pinpoint HRM’s Craig Aunger, many of these issues can be attributed to the way organisations have approached 3 critical stages of the HR technology journey.

Speaking on The HR Leader Podcast podcast, the founder and managing director explained.

“The research in the last couple of years suggests anywhere between 40% to 60% of these projects haven’t met the objectives that the organisation set out to achieve.”

“So what we focus on to address this is 3 core stages of HR tech projects. First is the early stage planning and evaluation of the solutions in the market. Second is the getting ready for the implementation, what we call ‘pre-implementation’. Of course there’s the implementation itself but the secret to real success is the third critical phase and that’s what you do ‘Beyond Go-Live’.”

Craig Aunger speaking into microphone during a podcast

 

Deep diving into the first of those parts, the evaluation stage, Aunger offered insight into where many organisations are falling short.

“Some organisations [do the evaluation stage] really well, but a large number of organisations – they don’t know what they don’t know,” Aunger said.

“They’ll often start out by going, ‘We want some new tech, let’s go and look at some solutions in the market. What have we heard of? Who do we know that’s using some of this tech? What are they using?’ And they bring in a few different vendors to show them what their solution does and that’s great – it’s good to do that and get a little bit inspired and maybe excited about what the future could be for you.

“But what tends to happen is you get lured into thinking about what I call the ‘whizzy bang functionality’ – the stuff that’s bright and shiny that detracts you from thinking about what’s really important for your organisation.”

Combatting common challenges

Despite having the best intentions, many HR professionals and other business leaders can have a hard time kicking off their technology journey in a way that will ensure long-term success.

Research by Gartner shows justifying technology investments, developing a strategic roadmap for HR transformation and ensuring ongoing adoption of HR technology are the top three hurdles facing HR technology leaders in 2023.

However, with proper planning from the get-go, organisations are more likely to reap success from technology implementation.

For Pinpoint it’s about asking questions designed to help you understand what your organisation needs and how technology can support that. This is critical in the initial evaluation stage and can be all the difference to success or failure down the track.

“Whenever we’re engaged to help organisations on this journey, we always start with: ‘Why’,” Aunger said.

“You need to be asking the business, ‘Why would we want to be doing this?’ And ultimately look at what the business is trying to achieve.

“Typically, they’re trying to improve their profitability, maybe they’re trying to grow, maybe they’re trying to enter new markets, maybe they’re trying to improve their customer experience [or] maybe they want to be more agile.”

Taking the time to ensure you understand your organisation’s key business drivers will make the process of getting approval to invest in tech a lot easier, Aunger said.

“If we go to the executive team and say we want to buy new tech to reduce admin or to reduce the number of integrations or to simplify a process, that’s not going to get them excited. If you can go to them and say, ‘We can drive higher customer retention through better customer engagement as a result of improving our employees’ engagement’, they’re the things that execs will get excited about.”

“This is the craft of the HR professional in this space, creating the link between this project and the business outcomes.“

Another common challenge leaders face, Aunger flagged, is getting lost in what will truly help the business and its employees versus what will be an unnecessary overcomplication.

“A lot of technology used to be custom-built. So, organisations went to a great deal of detail defining their future state processes and then creating thousands of line items of functionality around requirements that they then want to trace through to delivery,” he explained.

“Cloud software doesn’t work that way. Getting down and defining the processes at a really detailed level and then going and translating that into requirements just gets you caught up in an unnecessary detail that doesn’t add any value.

“Ultimately, what you need to be able to do is take a step back and again, think about what the business benefits are that we’re looking to achieve. And they’re going to be things like improving customer experience through employee experience, improving access to analytics in the flow of work, lifting the maturity of HR so that they can add more value to the business and help the business make better people-based decisions. So those things are the key outcomes we’re looking for.”

Involving multiple stakeholders to gain their perspective is an important part of the future state planning and evaluation process that is often overlooked, Aunger said. “Typically, what we find is we’re not just talking about recruitment, we’re not just talking about learning [or] we’re not just talking about payroll, we’re talking about how all of the stages of the employee lifecycle are interacting. You want a good cross section of stakeholders involved in the definition of those future state use cases.”

“When you define those use cases and what’s challenging for you, it’s far easier to zero in on the vendors that are a fit for you.”

Secret to Shortlisting

This then accelerates your ability to get to the next step in the evaluation process: shortlisting vendors.

With those use cases, then you think about, ‘Okay, what are the vendors that are in the market that can enable those use cases?’ with Pinpoint recommending you ideally get down to three vendors at this point.

“[You want to get to] a short shortlist, not through RFP, but through your own analysis,” Aunger said, noting that it is important to give the use cases to the vendors and ask them how they would address them.

“Bring them in for detailed demos against those use cases. If you don’t do that, they will come in and show you what their ‘whizzy bang’ things are. And that’s good too, but it takes away from you being able to differentiate between the solutions.”

And where they differentiate is not in the ‘what’ they do, but in the ‘how’ they do it. And that is best illustrated through vendor demonstrations against a use case.

To listen to the full episode featuring Craig Aunger, click here.

To learn more about how the team at Pinpoint HRM can help you on your tech journey, click here.

This article was originally published on https://www.hrleader.com.au/

About the Author

Hayley Parker, Head of Strategy, Pinpoint HRM
Hayley Parker, Head of Strategy, Pinpoint HRM
Since joining Pinpoint 6 years ago, Hayley has been involved in the successful design and delivery of Pinpoint HR Tech projects, she has led our Advisory practice and is now providing strategic direction and guidance across the business. Prior to Pinpoint, she spent 10 years consulting at the executive level with companies such as Qantas, Jemena, QBE and Snowy Hydro on enterprise-wide transformation programs.
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