Choosing New HR tech? Here’s 9 Tips to Get You Started

Are you reading this blog bored at work? Perhaps you don’t feel like your company truly engages you at work. Or, (here’s the big one) can you truly say you love your job?

There’s a reason we ask. 16% of the US workforce are actively disengaged – they’re miserable in the workplace and extinguish anything that engaged employees build. An astounding 50 million employees aren’t engaged at all.

Companies today need to work harder to not just attract the best, but keep them – and, most of all, keep them engaged.

There isn’t one single answer to solving this, but there is one thing that can help in numerous ways: the right HR tech. This can equip not just HR and People leaders, but the workforce too, to fight the productivity and engagement drain – and ultimately create great workforce experiences.

But where to start with choosing new HR tech? Here’s our 9 tips to get you started.

  1. Have a clear business case, and define success

What is the biggest one thing you want to achieve? Do you want to engage your workforce? Automate your core HR tasks and people processes? Consolidate different systems and spreadsheets into one single version of the truth? Adapt to stay ahead of the changing HR industry? Or equip your company for global expansion by making sure you can apply policies at global and local levels?

Some HR systems can do all of this and more – others less. Know the problem that you want to solve first, so you can not only prioritize functionalities, but put forward the business case internally too. If you’re clear with this, then you can calculate and communicate the ROI to your business. This also means that throughout the project you also don’t lose sight of your goals.

  1. Nail the logistics early

Before you begin considering new HR software in detail, make sure you have a clear understanding of the project ahead of you. Know your budget; the timeframes in which you want to have a new system in place; and the stakeholders internally and externally you need to engage with when. This will help you manage the project over time, and make sure everyone is on the same page.

  1. Cloud: it’s a no-brainer

If you’re serious about the right HR software, then you have to go cloud. On-premise solutions are clunky, costly, difficult to update, and can’t always meet user needs for your workforce. Cloud-based HR tech is simple, flexible, agile and available on-demand. Cloud software will be able to grow with you as your company grows; and it will mean easier and better experiences for your workforce, who will be able to access the software remotely and on mobile.

Every company is different and there is no one size fits all for most HR tech criteria, but if you’re going to do one thing, then go cloud. Trust us on this one.

  1. Do your research

There’s a lot of information available on choosing the right HR software – in fact, so much that it might be hard to know where to begin. Start with analysts’ like Gartner, Fosway or Aragon to get an overview of what’s out there. If you don’t want to read lots of research, then why not get out there and meet the vendors face to face at events like the annual HR Technology Conference? You can work your way around the exposition speaking to different vendors and asking questions about their products. (If you want to do that, then you might find our HR tech essential checklist handy). Finally, don’t forget word of mouth. Find out what others in the sector recommend, and get their views too.

  1. Plan for your entire workforce, not just HR

One trap that’s easy to fall into is looking just at what your HR team needs; but if you want a platform that can scale with you, really help drive engagement, and help free up time in your HR team, then you need to think about your workforce, too.

For example, maybe you want to free up your HR team’s time by offering self-service functionality for holiday bookings across the workforce – but, is it designed in a way that employees want to use it? If not, then it’s not going to fulfill its purpose. So always keep your workforce front of mind when considering what options are available to you.

Ask yourself: ‘Does this tech reflect consumer-like experiences so that employees want to use it?’ Workforce experiences are intrinsically linked to performance and productivity – so get the tech right, and the rest will follow.

  1. Bringing the A-game

Analytics is a hot topic in HR right now, with some software vendors offering the ability to increase the visibility and understanding you have of your workforce through data.

Think about where you currently hold all your data. Is it in one place, and not spread across different systems? Is it all secure and compliant to relevant data protection laws? Can you produce a headcount in minutes, not days or hours? If the answer to any of these is no, then you might want to think about how you can use data to manage your workforce even more effectively.

Ultimately, with some platforms you can go as far as calculating flight risk of your high performers, or understanding which teams are more vulnerable to high-turnover. But again, bring it back to your business case and strategy – what problem do you most want to solve through understanding more about your people? And then: what actionable insights do you need to gain? Then work backwards from that.

  1. Align the tech to your HR and People strategy

Where do you want your team to be in five years’ time? For example, many HR and People leaders want their team’s time freed up from admin to concentrate on things like employer branding and People Marketing, or creating great workforce experiences for their people – so they’re turning to automation to help them do this. Understand how you can use tech to get you where you want to be.

  1. Map your legal requirements

As well as being clear what you want new HR tech to do, and how it can support your business strategy, it’s also important to clearly understand what you need it do to. Different countries’ laws can impact your organization in different ways, and you’ll want to have the peace of mind knowing that you’re always compliant, no matter where in the world your workforce is.

This is even more important with updated laws coming into effect in 2018 for all companies that hold data on EU citizens. The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will have significant impact on how global companies hold and manage personal data. Make sure any HR tech vendor you’re researching and considering is clear about how they ensure you’re always compliant and secure.

  1. Reflect your brand to attract the best

Hopefully, new HR tech should help you solve a problem, and make managing and engaging your workforce just that bit easier. But that means your requirements are going to be different from other companies’ criteria. And it means you’ll need tech that will reflect your brand and culture.

When you’re shopping around, think about how HR technology can reflect your company. Can you tailor and configure it so that it’s something your employees are more likely to engage with?

Companies use their brand to attract customers – so why too shouldn’t they now do the same to attract one of their biggest assets, their people?

Ultimately, it’s about what your people will love to use

There isn’t one single answer to fix the productivity problem, but we know that if companies engage their people better by creating great employee experiences, more people will love going to work.

This ultimately makes a workforce more engaged, and makes good business sense too. It boosts a company’s growth and, in turn, adds to workplace productivity and national economic growth more widely.

Getting the right HR technology is vital for this. What’s stopping you from getting started?

Shopping around for new HR tech? Why not download our free exhaustive checklist of the vital components for any modern HR and People system?

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