When we look at buying HR technology, we often have this ADHD moment where we get distracted by shiny objects. We start off looking for a core payroll system and end up looking at something completely different. You find yourself thinking “Oh, my gosh, you can text all of your employees from this system? That’s so cool.” And then you buy a system because it could text everybody when that had nothing to do with the payroll problem that you had in the first place.
It can be tricky to know where you should be directing your HR technology budget, especially with so many impressive tools available. So let’s have a look at the must haves, nice to haves and shiny distractions in HR technology.
The basics of HR technology used to be a core system of record and a payroll system. The new must haves for HR tech now include performance, recruiting and reporting as well. It’s no longer OK to just do really good core HR and payroll. We’ve been elevated so that we have to do really good recruiting. We have to do really good performance management. And then the analytics are given as part of that.
Nice to Haves
Nice to haves are wants, not needs. You can survive without them and if you don’t have the “Must Haves”, start there.
BUT, wouldn’t it be great if we could:
- Measure engagement
- Deliver learning virtually
- Have a social graph of recognition
- Give every employee a kitten (the cool kind, not the mean kind you return to the RSPCA)
That last one was a joke if you couldn’t tell…
These are undoubtedly great features of HR technology that can really enhance the HR function. But don’t be fooled into thinking you need these. Focus on the core must haves before you move on to these.
The shiny objects stuff that gets our ADHD kicked in are largely to do with functionality. Mobile is a huge one, as is social functionality. I’m not saying social media isn’t important, but is your core problem that you don’t have social functionality? Don’t think so.
Also beware of promises of wild user conferences. There are user conferences out there that have some big name entertainment that has absolutely nothing to do with the HR technology you’re thinking of buying. But when you’re an HR person who has to sit in an office for 12 months out of a year and all of a sudden someone invites you to come to Las Vegas, that’s pretty cool. You want that experience again. So you have to understand what you’re really sold.
And don’t be lured by big name companies using a particular HR technology. If your main buying decision is based on the fact that Google uses the technology, you’re probably making a mistake. The reality is that your HR practices are going to be different and a piece of HR technology is not going to transform your company into Google. We tend to measure ourselves against brands that we’ll never be, and then often find out that a lot of the HR stuff those big brands are doing isn’t working either, so be careful what you wish for.
So before you delve into the shiny, bright world of HR technology, make sure you’re focusing on the “Must Haves” and doing them really well.
About the Author
Tim Sackett is a HR pro with over 20 years’ experience. With a career perfectly split between recruiting and HR generalist roles – (also split between the HR vendor community and the corporate world) – he’s seen the HR world from all angles of the boardroom table.
Tim was a top-rated presenter at HR Tech Fest 2015 in Australia.