By Sara Loe, BusinessForward Solutions Analyst
When you think of human resources, what comes to mind? Policy enforcers and paper pushers, and employee relations, oh my! Well, we’re not in Kansas anymore. Things are changing.
For many outside of the HR realm this transactional stereotype rings true, but in reality, HR is now expected to be strategically impactful. These organizations are transforming at a rapid pace as the availability of technology and analytics allows HR professionals the insight to become strategic partners in the business. The technically equipped HR organization, poised with the knowledge of the business strategy combined with the insider scoop on employee opinion, offers a unique perspective in the boardroom.
A Human Resources Management System (HRMS) is a combination of systems and processes that connect human resource management and information technology through HR software. Sounds like a great way to achieve strategic success, right?
So why then are not all parties within HR on board with this movement? Why is there a desire by some to resist new technology or turn a blind eye to implementation efforts? Is it the fear of change or rocking the boat? Are the technical skill gaps generational or merely a result of an overall discomfort with a rapidly evolving HRMS landscape?
In my role as an HRMS implementation consultant, I have seen the full gamut of early adopters and change resistors; the latter of which span all generations. The underlying discomfort often stems from unfamiliarity with HRMS due to the organization being late to embrace HR technology or being siloed in its former utilization.
In these observations I argue that the majority of change resistors are not malicious, but rather unsure of what the new technology may bring and how it may affect their role. These uncertainties can often be quelled through inclusion by means of direct participation in the technology selection and implementation efforts combined with transparent communication.
Are they resisting because they were not part of the technology selection process?
Even if the organization has already begun implementation efforts of an HRMS or related technology, it is never too late to invite these HR stakeholders to be a part of the process. As change resistors are offered a chance to have their voices heard and be part of the design of a new technology tool, they will often become proponents of that new technology. Offering them tangible benefits, particularly in the form of analytics and visibility to real-time data is another surefire way to win them over.
Providing transparency and participation opportunities to HR stakeholders takes added effort that should be factored into the implementation project plan, but the payoff from those efforts will lead to early technology adoption at the heart of HR and a higher likelihood of success in transferring ownership of HRMS processes to the HR subject matter expert. These in turn will improve technology adoption rates by other stakeholders and the general employee population.
Key strategies for technology implementers to turn resistors into cheerleaders:
- Get everyone prepared
Study up on the features of the tool in advance so that you are ready to speak confidently to the HR stakeholder about what is on the horizon. Provide them with an overview of the role you need them to play in the selection and implementation process.
- Gather their requirements
Dedicate time to documenting day-in-the-life, ad-hoc, and recurring needs of the HR stakeholder that the tool should support. Review with them the prioritization of those requirements.
- Hand them a scorecard
Invite them to the vendor demos and arm them with a scorecard so that they can assess the vendor’s capabilities per requirement.
- Align on expectations
Once a tool has been selected and the announcement made, schedule a sit-down with the HR stakeholder to review benefits and challenges of the new tool based on how it scored with their requirements.
- Seek their help with the design
If their comfort level with technology is low, include them in some of the less technical implementation meetings such as the kick-off, a requirements review with third-party consultants, or workflow definitions.
- Give them homework
Assign them tasks to complete such as conducting research, providing a write-up of their processes, or filling out a template to be used in the configuration of the technology.
- Avoid surprises
Keep them abreast of risks and status updates to the project timeline. You will undermine all efforts if they find out about major project updates, releases, or setbacks thirdhand. Don’t forget to celebrate milestones with them!
- Give them a teaser
Let them see the fruits of their labor at each phase of the project by inviting them to participate in pre-release demos and user acceptance testing.
- Arm them with the resources to take ownership
Schedule recurring knowledge transfer meetings and provide them with user guides applicable to their role and the roles of those they may support.
- Team up with them
Collaborate with them on change management initiatives, such as company training webinars and Q&A sessions for the new tool.
- Reward them
Get to work building them user-friendly reports and beautiful dashboards. Review this data with them in detail and get their feedback as part of the overall knowledge transfer. Actionable data at their fingertips is the ultimate cherry on top.
- Empower them!
For further value realization, show them how to build or manipulate their own reports and dashboards to allow them to independently draw upon the data for their ad-hoc needs.
As a bonus, keeping a diligent pulse check on HR technology disruptors allows HR to continue to challenge the status quo, creating a ripple effect that calls into question much of what we thought we knew about talent management.
HR technology is here and yes, it can be overwhelming and confusing to select, implement, and adopt. Embracing the task equipped with these strategies and the right partner will ensure you are all on the yellow brick road to success.
Thinking about HR technology? John Huckle, CEO is ready to listen and help firstname.lastname@example.org