The past few years have seen radical changes in HR technology, responding to (or in some cases, forcing) changes in HR itself. Systems of record have been replaced by systems of engagement. Tools that address the needs of HR have given way to those that address the needs of employees. And the focus of technology has shifted from automating HR processes to improving them. At the same time, the HR tech market has become very crowded with over 1,400 different vendors out there promising to make the lives of HR teams more simple, data-driven, productive, and people-focused.
So, how do you as an HR professional sift through all of this to make the right technology investments that will yield positive results?
Here are four big-picture steps to get started, taken from “The HR Tech Workshop”, a highly practical and hands-on Program from the Josh Bersin Academy that teaches you how to make better HR Tech buying decisions.
Step 1: Solve the right problem
When it comes to making decisions about HR technology, a lot of us do it backward. We start with the technology and try to fit it to our problems, rather than the other way around. To select the right tools for our business, we have to dig deep into what our organization truly needs. We have to understand the business problems we’re trying to solve. To accomplish this, it’s a cross-functional effort and getting key stakeholders engaged from day one is a make or break. Rule of thumb: business problem first, HR technology second.
Step 2: Evaluate solutions by tapping into your people
You’ve identified the business problems that need to be solved. Now the other half of the equation is understanding your people, specifically the day-to-day employee experience. People are the engines of every organization. Ultimately, all problems start and end with people. The same is true for any technology we choose: the success or failure of it is entirely dependent on the people who use it (or don’t) every day. So, having a clear sense of what employees are experiencing—what tools they’re already using, the pressures they’re under, the needs they have, the support they need—is crucial before we can find tech-based solutions.
Step 3: AB test through well-designed pilots
Now is the moment to try, not buy. Pick the solution you think is best, and set up a pilot (or several pilots). Do not go straight to buying and implementing! Pilots are popular right now, and for good reason. Certainly, they let us test and adjust products before we make a resource-intensive investment of people, time, and money. But pilots also let us experiment and iterate. How might a tech solution work for both our front-line service employees and global sales reps? Would a service work well to connect our people across multiple time zones and languages? Will a particular product serve the user experience problems we’re having as we try to integrate HR into the flow of work? Pilots can give us clear data to answer these questions and help us uncover additional questions we haven’t yet asked.
Step 4: Engage the right stakeholders
As you get closer to rolling out a new HR tech initiative, you will most likely experience resistance or confusion from colleagues and potentially key stakeholders, but underneath, it’s something much more basic: fear of change. With any new piece of technology, there will be those that are eager to adopt it and those that would rather be stabbed in the eye with a needle than switch their day-to-day processes. That’s why it is important to engage the right stakeholders from the start. Widen your team and lean on stakeholders—people outside of HR whose work will be crucial to building, implementing, and rolling out the new technology— to ease change management.
These four steps are just the beginning. For a deeper dive into this topic explore our new Academy Program, The HR Tech Workshop. Over the course of the Program, you’ll learn an iterative process for assessing, testing, scaling, and improving HR technology. And you’ll start using the process right away, sharing your discoveries with your fellow learners and learning from their experiences— all with guidance and insights from Josh Bersin.
Become a member of The Josh Bersin Academy to access all our programs, resources and our global community of HR experts. Explore which plan is best for you and your organization,