Here’s how to respond to dramatic shifts in HR technology

Influence in HR technology comes from many places, takes many forms and continues to evolve over time. When the HRE/HR Tech Conference team met over to work on this Influencers list, we knew it would be HR techimportant to consider all aspects of influence. Some have more of a direct and immediate effect on products, while others have a more subtle yet longer-term impact. It’s safe to say all, however, are having an important and noticeable impact on where HR technology has been, where it is today and, perhaps most importantly, where it is heading. And that, above all else, informed the decision-making that went into compiling this list, which presents those being recognized in alphabetical order.

Click here to see the full list of the Top 100 HR Tech Influencers.

Gerry Crispin
Principal and Co-founder
CareerXroads

 


What’s the single most dramatic shift you see happening in the HR tech space today?

The vision of what is possible is shifting back to the HR and TA leaders. For decades it was mostly the technologist as entrepreneur who built HR ‘solutions’ that they envisioned would satisfy a 21st century HR function. Today, increasingly, it’s the TA/HR/TM leaders, who now with years and years of experience and frustration managing those unfulfilled promises who are beginning to drive a new set of solutions.

In acquiring and implementing new technologies, what’s the one or two most common mistakes HR organizations make?

Replicating flawed processes. Executing on solutions that simply make bad practices cheaper, and more efficient instead of rethinking what is possible with technology that makes a real difference for [all] the stakeholders.

How can HR leaders best make the business case for HR technology investment?

Fully embrace automation that either tackles directly or allows for new approaches to candidate, employee or customer satisfaction. It is, for example, nearly impossible to provide a cost-effective means to offer feedback to candidates. Compliance, consistency and competency are major obstacles that automation and machine learning could solve in ways that would be easily measured in reduced cost of hiring downstream. A failure to aggressively pursue these ‘possibilities’ will quickly change the landscape of successful employers in the next few years

Trish McFarlane
CEO and Principal Analyst
H3 HR Advisors Inc.

 


What area of the HR function will be most impacted by emerging technologies, and why?

I’m going against the grain and saying the Core HR functions. For years, areas such as payroll, benefits, compliance and employee relations have been neglected compared to the focus and development spend on other areas of the people experience. Today, vendors are doing some very exciting, innovative development in the core areas. By not only further automating and adding better analytic capabilities in the core areas, but providing enhanced mobility, scalability and security, I predict this will be the season when organizations can be less hesitant on investing in new HCM technology.

In acquiring and implementing new technologies, what’s the one or two most common mistakes HR organizations make?

I think the first big mistake organizations make is having vendor paralysis. They look at far too many vendors for far too long. The scope should be kept as specific as possible, then deep-dive with 3 top vendors. The second mistake is not being realistic about the amount of time needed to go through implementation. My recommendation is to determine how many hours you think your team will need to devote to the implementation process, then double it.

Are there certain strategies that are more effective than others when it comes to getting your workforce to use new HR technologies being put in place?

The most effective strategy is two-fold. First, communicate early and often. Be sure to start talking about the needs LONG before you buy a solution. Ensure that employees and leaders have an opportunity to weigh in on whether the perceived problems are the real problems. The second recommendation is to identify some of your biggest detractors, then pull them into the selection and implementation process. This should be people from every level of the organization. By getting known detractors on board, they become the trusted voice to convince the rest of the employees to use the new solution.

Katrina Kibben
CEO and Co-founder
Three Ears Media

 


Are there certain strategies that are more effective than others when it comes to getting your workforce to use new HR technologies being put in place?

Those “mandatory, read now” subject lines aren’t it! I recommend incorporating a technology onboarding with skill-based training. You’ll not only upskill your team on the technical how-to but the techniques that will make the tool most effective.

How can HR leaders best make the business case for HR technology investment?

Empathy. Every member of your organizations has been a job seeker before. Put them in the scenario and highlight what’s broken. Most importantly, explain why that hurts the human on the other side of this exchange.

How is HR technology changing the way people work?

HR technology is creating more efficiencies that improve the overall communication for people on both sides of the equation. We’re finally admitting that recruiting communications need to happen across channels—from email to mobile and social. Bonus: we’re even starting to track it.

Dan Shapero
Vice President of Global Solutions
LinkedIn

 


What’s the single most dramatic shift you see happening in the HR tech space today?

Technology continues to transform the global talent marketplace, with the rise of automation (more than 50% of the activities in the U.S. economy are susceptible to automation) and the shrinking shelf life of skills. We’re simply not operating under the same rules that were in place just five or 10 years ago. The majority of candidates (and jobs) can now be found online and via smartphones. Employees and job seekers are more informed about opportunities than ever before, making them more agile than ever. And, gone are the days where the skills an employee acquired while getting a college degree are enough to sustain them throughout a career. Led by this growing skills shortage, demographic shifts and the new rules of work, the competition for talent and getting hired has reached a new level.

How can HR leaders best make the business case for HR technology investment?

In a market so noisy, data is a super power. Just think: Every function within an organization, from supply chain to finance, that has upped their game has used data to do so. As I meet one-on-one with companies big and small around the globe, what I’ve learned is that every good leader knows that companies win or lose based on their people, or really, on the quality of their teams. But you can’t build great teams if you don’t know anything about the people on them. The challenge is, there’s poor visibility into the talent companies have, the talent they need to find, and the talent they can develop. Only 8 percent of organizations report they have usable data about talent, and we know from our customers that the data they do have access to is often stale and disconnected. Backed by the right technology, HR leaders—and their business partner—will be armed with the data and insights they need to build teams that can navigate the changing world of work.

How is HR technology changing the way people work?

In a world driven by division and uncertainty, where employees have countless options and make career altering decisions in real-time, companies must act just as quickly to engage, develop and retain their employees. Employee engagement is quickly becoming one of the most important indicators in gauging organization health and employee happiness. Technologies, such as Glint’s people success platform, is built on a new approach that is changing the way organizations engage and develop their people. Through understanding employee sentiment and empowering managers with the right actionable insight companies can build stronger cultures where people are happier and can do their best work.

Ben Brooks
Founder and CEO
Pilot Inc.

 


What area of the HR function will be most impacted by emerging technologies, and why?

TALENT MANAGEMENT! HR tech has addressed the more commodity-like “plumbing” aspects of HR. Emerging technology is quickly moving to help address the more vexing elements of HR including: shaping culture, tapping into unrealized talent potential, empowerment of employees, greater self-directed work and other trends in the future of work. What were once elite professional service offerings for the top-of-the-house become democratized products that get scaled down the hierarchy. The business case for future HR tech will be less about reducing HR operational cost, and instead will be focused on increasing the ROI from the comp and benefits line, now the No. 1 expense in most service businesses.

In acquiring and implementing new technologies, what’s the one or two most common mistakes HR organizations make?

We are too cautious in HR! I often see HR moving far too slowly and taking a backseat to other corporate functions. Traditionally HR is one of the laggards to adopt emerging technologies in the C-Suite—just compare us to marketing! We need to be more adaptable and quicker to deploy emerging technologies. I also notice that often times HR departments prematurely seek “enterprise-wide solutions” with cumbersome RFP processes before testing solutions with smaller groups to validate and enhance larger roll-outs—or discover multiple solutions are needed. By being more adaptable and decisive, HR can truly be the change agents we’ve long aspired to be, breaking down barriers to innovation.

How can HR leaders best make the business case for HR technology investment?

Do not make this about HR or the HR budget. This must be about the organization’s strategy and driving performance as measured by the KPIs everyone focuses on. The technology you buy should be positioned to make the organization as a whole successful, not just the HR function. Saving 2% of the HR budget is peanuts compared to increasing the output of total people spend by 2%. Focus the technology investment towards solving persistent organizational problems and driving desired performance. And prove it with numbers! As Mike Bloomberg says: “In God we trust; everyone else bring data.”

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