The HR industry underwent massive shifts over the last year. The pandemic reframed the role of HR to focus more holistically on employee experience, and emerging tech has become mission critical.
As a result, HR teams’ tech stacks continue to grow. According to Sierra-Cedar, the average HR organization has 11 systems of record, with 10 for recruiting departments and almost 203 for L&D departments.
And demand is growing. Sapient Insights Group reports that 28 percent of organizations plan to increase investments in nontraditional HR technology areas like remote-working tools and infrastructure.
While the excitement and need for HR tech remain essential for supporting agile and resilient workforces, the influx of new tech and systems doesn’t come without pain points.
Here are five common mistakes companies make with HR tech adoption (and how to avoid them).
Purchasing Vertical Solutions for Each Pain Point
We get excited when we have the opportunity to buy a beautiful tool that gives us a laser-sharp focus on a pain point—be it improving employee engagement, payroll systems, recruitment, and more.
But here’s the rub: when you have several platforms and systems of record working at once, it’s nearly impossible to extract related data into a single view. Data becomes siloed, and we end up taping together each solution without the ability to look at the information in context.
I was once in this spot, and I had to ask my Excel-wizard colleague to help me each time I needed to look at data. This is not sustainable when you consider the complexity of data and how many work technology solutions we use in today’s business, not to mention how difficult it is to keep up with data in companies experiencing rapid growth or change.
Thinking the Technology Will Do the Work
Maintaining your tech stack takes time. Whether you use one tool or 100, your HR team must spend considerable time updating, maintaining, and correcting data.
To add another layer of complexity, insights are not always cut and dry. Say you’re in the middle of your compensation planning cycle. You’re prepared to reward your high performers and make recommendations to those who haven’t hit their targets. Sounds easy, right?
In reality, what constitutes high achievement is not always clear. For example, if a candidate achieves four out of five of their KPIs and really struggled on their fifth, you might be compelled to give them glowing remarks. But when you dig deeper, you find that this person’s fifth KPI was actually the most directly relevant to their roles and responsibilities. Beyond that, the person also received some pretty negative 360 reviews on their management style. What now?
Ultimately, it’s best to contextualize data within your org’s mission and goals. HR teams need to make sure they have the clarity to connect data points to real action and solutions.
Acting as Data Gatekeepers
To foster strategic decision-making throughout the org, HR needs to make data accessible. This doesn’t mean posting every team member’s personal files on your org’s intranet. It requires strategic thinking about what data people need to do their jobs and what data can be too distracting.
For example, 60 percent of employees spend five hours or more per week waiting for information. HR teams are often main sources for answers to questions like:
- How many people are currently on the engineering team?
- I just opened a new position for a marketing manager; what is our compensation range for that role?
- Can you send me a copy of my last performance review?
- And many more
Centralizing and increasing access to information can be a huge time-saver and productivity booster for your entire org.
Using Technology to Be Reactive vs. Proactive
Too often, we use data to respond reactively to isolated issues. That’s a problem.
Let’s say your company has a DEI issue. You look at the numbers and see that Black people make up only two percent of your workforce. You conclude there’s a need to direct attention solely to your applicant pipeline. After tapping into new applicant pools, you increase that percentage to 15 percent. Congrats!
Flash forward to a year later. You look at your numbers and find that you’re back down to two percent. What happened?
All those people you hired left.
That’s because your team doesn’t have a recruiting problem; it has a culture and retention problem. Improving workplace culture and inclusivity involves its own dedicated stream of data collection, programming, and initiatives.
Putting your data insights in context and strategically identifying the root causes of issues gives you the tools you need to plan proactively.
Failing to Train Key Users
When you get a new tool, you may be struck with a newfound zeal to get things up and running. You just made a significant investment, and you’re ready to prove your ROI.
Yet, even the most simple tools require time. Rather than immediately jumping in to configure your accounts, take a moment to learn:
- Review tech onboarding files to understand everything that’s possible with your new software.
- Tap into customer communities and reviews to see how others have leveraged the platform.
- Make sure to connect potential outcomes with the original intent for purchasing the tool.
Then when you’re ready to use your new tech, you know exactly how to get the most bang for your buck.
Better Tech Adoption for Strategic Planning
If we’ve learned anything this last year, it’s that HR teams need the ability to anticipate, adapt to, and react decisively to change. To do so requires thoughtful investment in resources and tools that give teams the upper hand.
The challenge is that different tech means that data is often housed in multiple applications, obscuring the “real” truth and insights needed to make complex decisions.
But don’t let that overwhelm you! With patience and the right mindset, you can make sure that your team is effectively leveraging new tools and tech to support your org and its people.