HR is at a crossroads. Technology is making it easier to streamline messy, time-consuming HR processes, but where does that leave HR teams? On this week’s episode, longtime HR pro Ryan Higginson-Scott of PeopleDoc joins us to share answers every HR team needs.

An innovative HR leader with more than 15 years of experience spanning business partnerships, shared services and strategic program design, Higginson-Scott works to optimize the employee experience, enhancing both engagement and productivity.

He has helped organizations develop and scale HR/people operations as an advocate for continuous process improvement, operational efficiency, legal compliance and self-service enablement for managers and employees.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

Managing Change

Higginson-Scott has extensive experience managing others through process change, and he shares some of the challenges he has faced helping others adapt, along with the strategies he’s relied on to overcome those roadblocks.

“My number one priority in managing change, helping people adapt to change or even helping them accept that change is imminent is to help them find the value in the change,” he says. “Everyone’s human, and they have their reasons for their perspective. I’ve talked people into change, and I’ve talked people out of change when it was the right thing to do.”

He shares a fascinating example of working with an already efficient payroll department on implementing a new piece of technology that was essential but that primarily benefited HR. He explains how he ultimately, through conversations with payroll, discovered one of his biggest pain points overlapped really well with one of payroll’s biggest pain points — which was a challenge they didn’t necessarily realize was a problem. That prompted both departments to look at a different technology that was a solution for both of their problems.

“I’ve worked in a number of different industries and different teams,” he says. “It’s always important to find the right way to communicate with teams and individuals who think differently from you.”

Helping People Adapt to Automation

The rapid pace of technology change in the HR world, particularly when it comes to automation, can be a source of anxiety for people who wonder if they’re going to lose their jobs with the elimination of manual work. Higginson-Scott says including those workers in the implementation of change can help reduce some of that consternation.

“Technology has changed HR more in the last few years than I ever would have expected,” he says. “It’s scary when we start talking about automation and self-service. It feels like the whole role of HR is changing in general. How do people on the front lines, people whose job it is to be tactical and transactional, navigate that change? For me, it’s always been really important to include them in the process and to have them help drive not only the immediate change, but actually be part of the road map design.”

Looking Ahead

With technology reshaping HR, Higginson-Scott talks about his approach to handling the technology and also trends he’s seeing in the space.

“Something I’ve found really interesting lately — because really it’s a move away from the big bang, one-size-fits-all enterprise approach to technology, for the most part,” he says. “It’s become about collaborating between the right tools in each area of HR, to help the teams build the right employee experience and improve efficiency and productivity on both sides of the table.”

He says that while HR departments don’t necessarily have to have a tech-focused person at the helm, organizations should invest time and resources in keeping up with technology trends.

“Business partners, COE leaders, anyone can contribute to or take on management of any of these tools and upscaling around technology and innovation,” he says. “Being part of that process is really where I think everyone in HR needs to spend some time and put some of their focus.”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

  • HR tech news:
    News release: Ultimate Software Enters into Binding Letter of Intent to Acquire PeopleDoc for HR Service Delivery.
  • Ryan Higginson-Scott at PeopleDoc on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific, or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

This episode is sponsored by PeopleDoc.

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