6 Things to Consider Before Investing in New HR Technology

For 2018 and Beyond

With unemployment rates remaining at or near historical lows, the war to attract talent is leading most organizations to pursue technology solutions for faster, more efficient ways of finding job seekers. If predictions are correct, the challenges of finding talent will only worsen. According to an article posted by the World Economic Forum, the labor market will see significant job losses over the next five years. The bottom line here is that technology advancements will be replacing many lower-end hourly jobs. According to the article, the technology advancements in fields such as artificial intelligence and machine-learning, robotics, nanotechnology and others will end up replacing humans.

While the predictions above may or may not be accurate, it’s no secret businesses have been looking for ways to become more productive at lower costs while reducing risk and increasing the bottom line. This has been especially true in the HR sector, where over $2 billion was invested into HR tech systems and platforms in 2016. As pressure mounts on organizations to find better, faster, easier ways of performing business, so do the challenges of wading through all of the choices in the HR tech world. While it may be easy to find technology solutions, the danger lies in making sure organizations can actually implement those solutions effectively. Before making those choices for the upcoming year some important questions should be asked…

1. What’s your problem?
Have all of the main business challenges been identified and agreed upon? Is there a single piece of technology or a platform capable of addressing all challenges? It is critical that all business units involved in decision-making meet and agree to share true business problems that exist. Thoroughly identifying each of the challenges will enable teams to discuss operational and financial transformations over the short, medium, and long-term as they are matched to potential technology solutions.

2. Who’s the boss?
How many departments need to be involved in making decisions? What are the potential impacts to those departments and potential hurdles or sticking points? Determining which departments are impacted and the stakeholders for each of those respective departments is a must. Most projects will be significantly challenged without buy-in from each of the people expected to use the solution. Involving all stakeholders during evaluation stages will enable feedback and input to identify potential areas of friction and consideration.

3. Does the shoe fit?
Making sure the proper infrastructure is in place can help to avoid performance issues during implementation and utilization. What are the other systems already in use and how will your new solution work with them? What kinds of technology exist not only at the enterprise/corporate level but also the user level? What are the other solutions being considered in the immediate future and how will they work with your new technology? Will your new solution provide the ability to grow or contract at the projected rates of your business? Consider these aspects and any others your team can think of to help create the best plan for utilization.

4. Make it happen, captain!
Identify the proper individuals and/or team to run the entire project from evaluation through implementation and ongoing support. What are the skillsets of the team players? Have they been properly trained on the solution and how it addresses organizational business challenges? What are the stages and timelines for continued evaluation? Will the project team be capable of executing all tasks? Assigning the proper team increases chances for success throughout the lifecycle of your technology solution.

5. Be Wary of the unicorn:
Does the technology/solution sound too good to be true? Does it leverage features or base the business benefits on capabilities not currently utilized by any other organization? For example, artificial intelligence or machine learning may become a reality in the future, but be wary of how long these solutions have been in use to avoid becoming a “testing customer” or utilizing underdeveloped platforms.

6. Don’t give up!!
Having confidence in your decisions means understanding expectations will need to be managed. Timelines will often be impacted by unforeseen factors and need to be adjusted. Managing unrealistic or overly optimistic expectations are part of complex projects. Flexibility will be required to make sure adjustments can be part of the plan to meet all long-term goals.

Careful and thoughtful planning will go a long way towards helping your new technology meet all goals and adoption expectations. Creating your own list of considerations will be contingent on many factors. While the above list is in no way meant to be comprehensive, it will hopefully serve as a reminder for aspects associated with the entire lifecycle of your new technology project.