We recently sponsored a webinar in which a panel of experts tackled the topic of HR technology, and we all learned a LOT. For starters, a whopping 72% of the webinar attendees said their organizations have increased HR tech budgets this year.
This tracks with the trends we’re seeing more broadly among employers of choice. Building a smart HR tech stack is crucial to competing for top talent, improving employee experience, and boosting retention. HR technology supports business agility, too, so the entire organization benefits.
Driving HR Tech Adoption - According to the Experts
The expert panel covered a lot of ground during the virtual event, and here are the best strategies for garnering support for your HR tech investments—and to fuel adoption once those new tools are implemented.
1. Be Clear About What You Need and Why
People don’t know what they don’t know, and none of us are mind readers. If you want other people in your organization to understand and embrace the need for new technology, you have to give them context. Share the specific problems you’re trying to solve with technology and back up your story with data. Depending on your organization’s particular talent acquisition challenges and goals, you might show that your time to fill is longer than in the past or that a majority of candidate experience surveys reveal a demand for video interviews.
As organizations in every industry continue to adapt to the hybrid work environment, it makes sense to seek new tech tools to help you better support your employees in this new world. So choosing the right tools for your organization is key.
That’s challenging because there are so many more options and innovative tools on the market right now, with countless new tech vendors popping onto the scene since the beginning of the global pandemic. It’s important to understand your current capabilities—and their results—and to look for opportunities to close gaps in your efficiencies in order to get the most out of a new HR tech tool. Do your due diligence to ensure you’re making the best choice: understand your technical and functional requirements, ask the right questions to learn about your options, collect employee feedback, and consider a pilot program so you can really test drive a new tool (more on that later).
2. Illustrate the ROI to Garner Support
Just as data can help you paint a picture of the problems you hope to solve with new technology, you can also use data to forecast your progress. (This section is especially important for TA leaders struggling to get budget approval for new HR tech. If that’s you, you have our sympathies and we wish you the best of luck. However, be aware that you won’t need quite as much luck if you follow this expert advice.)
Perhaps the biggest obstacle to the enthusiastic adoption of new tech platforms and/or programs is a negative experience for the people who will actually use the tool on a daily basis. HR leaders proposing a new tool need to understand and outline the immediate benefits clearly. Will this new tool reduce or eliminate tedious administrative tasks? Will it free up employees’ time so they can focus on more meaningful aspects of their jobs? Does it promise to lead to better end results, making work less frustrating and more satisfying? Will learning how to use this tool count as part of employees' professional development? Calibrate your internal communication tools to get insights into employee sentiment before, during, and after adopting the new technology.
If you’re working to get buy-in from your C-suite company leaders or board, you need to tie the new tech to long-term gains and broader business success goals. This means showing—again, with data whenever possible—how a new tool will impact the larger organization, such as reducing the cost of hiring or improving retention by helping you make better hires.
3. Gain Buy-in Before and After Implementation
Generally speaking, humans don’t like change. Learning new things can be challenging and uncomfortable, especially when the change wasn’t our decision.
Creating curiosity about prospective additions to your HR tech stack is an important early step to maintaining employee engagement. This might mean facilitating group demos with the people who would use the tool, and inviting their questions and feedback about those experiences. This approach not only builds excitement, but can help you make a better selection by uncovering considerations you may not have identified previously.
Once you’ve narrowed down your selection of technology vendors, experts advise running a pilot program before a full-scale implementation of any one solution. By starting small and tracking results, leaders get the opportunity to test their hypothesis about the benefits of a tool. Piloting a new tool also allows employees to really put it through the paces, to acclimate to the new technology, and see/feel how the tool impacts their workflow and results. If you’ve promised a new HR tool will free up time but the user interface turns out to be less-than-intuitive, you might discover it’s not the best solution for your goals. On the flip side, a pilot program might reveal that a tool helps more than you expected—and if that’s the case, we recommend celebrating with cake and ice cream!
It’s essential to measure the impact of new tools after implementation as well. Track key performance indicators (KPIs) that illustrate whether your new HR tech addition is bringing about the results you predicted. If it isn’t making a difference after a year, it’s time to reevaluate whether you should continue that relationship.
HR Technology is the Key to Competitive Advantage
Finding the right HR tech tools to support your team and your organization is a big challenge, and it’s one that most HR leaders and business experts are grappling with this year. But identifying the solution you need is only half the journey. The other half lies in building curiosity and excitement throughout your organization, getting support from your C-suite, and driving adoption after implementation. The experts argue it’s better to show than to tell, and leaning on data throughout the process can help you do exactly that.
If you want to listen to the full conversation on building a high-performing HR tech stack, you can download the webinar recording here.
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