HR tech

Photo by Thomas Reimer

HR Tech: 5 Reasons We Too Often Buy the Wrong Stuff

I spend a lot of time talking with people about HR tech and the best ways to use that technology. As I often say, “Making a technology choice involves endless forks in the road — and sometimes the right path isn’t the most obvious.” Sure, the bells and whistles are sexy. But in the end, shouldn’t technology make our jobs easier and our lives better? 

However, our reality is that as buyers and users of HR technology, we sometimes can’t see what is in our blind spots. We get dazzled by the power of cloud-based offerings, big data, and all those bells and whistles. In the end, we don’t always see clearly. So when you’re making HR tech decisions, watch out for these five blind spots.

Don’t Succumb to Scope Creep

Just because a tech solution can do something that appears amazing doesn’t make it the right choice. So before you start shopping, know your needs. Are you going for recruiting? Payroll? Performance management? Engagement? Recognition? Do you need help achieving better diversity and inclusion? Or maybe seek the newest all-in-one solution? 

If you already have specific systems in place you like and people are comfortable using them, look for focused tech that meets your immediate needs and can be integrated into existing systems. Or if you are really looking for an all-inclusive solution, make sure they check all the boxes on your shopping list — and don’t get seduced by features you didn’t even know you needed. 

In other words, don’t fall into the scope creep trap — set your boundaries, then don’t exceed them.

Don’t Get Distracted by Shine and Buzz

Without knowing what something is or what it does, we hear about it, and we must have it!

At a recent virtual gathering where HR tech was a topic, someone jokingly uttered the word “tyrannobytes” — and half the people on the Zoom call instantly perked up. Of course, there’s no such thing as tyrannobytes. But the concept of a monster-sized unit of data was just too irresistible. Ever since, I’ve referred to this as Tyrannobyte Syndrome: Our innate need as HR Tech buyers to have the latest, fastest, biggest, and greatest.

Instead of succumbing to what can be a crippling affliction, focus inwards. Do you really need enough data storage to rival a seed vault? Is blockchain a vital component of a software solution? Do you absolutely need the latest and greatest — or would a smaller, more-focused niche platform better serve your needs?

Don’t Marry for the Honeymoon

Customer service isn’t just some random concept. In HR tech, reliable service has to extend well past the courtship stage. After initial adoption and for as long as you both shall exist, do you have access to responsive support? Do you get the benefit of any updates, fixes, or improvements the tech company makes? Or is everything an upsell?

The availability of continuous help and support is a critical factor in your buying decision. You must be able to count on your provider for the long-term. So for the lifetime of the tech you’re about to purchase, ask your vendor to set service and upgrade milestones aligned with your short-term needs and long-term projections. If they’re really in it for the long haul, they will not only gladly look that far ahead, but they’ll be transparent about their performance all along the journey.

Make Sure They Love You for You

If you’re a small and lean organization or a scrappy startup, will your HR tech partners still pay attention to you once the sale is completed?

You’re not a big account with scaling spend. As you focus on other parts of the business like people management, you may not increase hiring for the duration of your contract. So what’s in it for them if you stay just the way you are?

If one of the provider’s core values is making their customers happy, you’re in luck. Do smaller companies rave about them in case studies? Sure, the salespeople will tell you what you want to hear, but objective testimonials are far more powerful than a polished brand story. Is there social proof of their commitment to customers? However, don’t stop there; your CFO will want data and analytics that demonstrate this is the right solution — and the right investment — for your organization. 

Expect Easy-to-Use

As veteran HR tech companies trot out their 2.0’s and new tech enters the fray, we see impressive new offerings every year. For example, AI is firmly in the mix and proving immensely capable of certain tasks. But no matter how sophisticated the tech or how customizable the user portals, will your team be able to work with that specific piece of tech?

Your HR tech provider is responsible for making sure the plane stays in the air. But can less tech-savvy members of your HR department steer it and stay on course? If there is a problem, can the provider troubleshoot and help solve it in real-time — as opposed to “let me call my boss” or “we’ll be back Monday” time? Whether it is a software glitch or human error, or both, things happen; that’s Murphy’s law of any technology-based product. When that much-needed piece of technology fails at the worst possible time, will your provider have someone available to talk your team off the ledge and save your data?

The Quest for the Best in HR Tech

Like you, I want the best tech I can find — and I love innovative, front-of-the-pack ideas. But there is much more to buying tech than falling in love with the loudest bells and whistles and the shiniest of objects.

That is why we started TalentCultures HR Tech Awards — and why I’m so proud of the work our Managing Partner, Cyndy Trivella, and her team do to identify the best companies, platforms, and services available. This is our way of giving back to the communities we serve — and a great way to help make your work and life better. This year’s winners all set out to solve a specific challenge within the HR community; each has earned our respect for being the very best at what they do.

Before you invest in new HR technology and perhaps buy the wrong stuff, learn all you can about our 2021 HR Tech Award winners.