Fall is in the air. Year-end is in sight. As happens every year, the buzz begins to build around what’s hot right now in the area of HR technology, and what will be anointed the next big thing for the coming year.
My focus is on the future of work and on what talent advisors must do to ensure the talent needs in their organizations are met. I’m always interested in learning about the latest product launches and the new cool tools on the block.
I try not to get distracted by shiny object syndrome, and to keep in mind that technology is often not the best — and rarely the first — solution to every challenge that we have within human resources and recruiting.
Unfortunately, as humans have evolved to include a smartphone as an additional body part, it’s become the norm to assume that “there’s an app for that.” The world provides instant solutions to practically any problem that we have, question we need answered, or decisions we must make.
We may have reached the tipping point in seeking new technology solutions for problems we already had the ability to solve when even our bodily functions have been geo-located, socialized and gamified.
There are plenty of new or improved HR technology solutions that promise or aspire to address your data analysis, employee engagement, applicant tracking, talent management, workforce planning, legal compliance, or onboarding challenges. I recommend that you do the following before considering a purchase:
Explore unused capacity or options with technology you already have.
We use a fraction of the capabilities of technology available to us today. Why? Because we typically purchase tools or software with a specific need in mind, such as time tracking, performance management or maintaining a database of employees. Often, these products can do much more, but many systems are never fully implemented, or the latest upgrades and enhancements are ignored.
It’s also possible a system or product that’s already being used in another area of your organization may be a viable solution for something else.
I’ll give you an example. A couple of years ago, I worked as an interim executive with a company that had some serious internal communication challenges. After doing some research, I discovered a cool HR technology product that functioned much like a corporate Facebook – threaded comments, discussions, groups, instant messaging, etc. I signed up for a free trial. We piloted the software with a couple of teams in the organization. Everyone loved it. The only problem was the price tag – $75,000 annually. (But it was super cool, y’all.)
Eventually, the IT director approached me and asked why we didn’t consider Google+ instead of looking for yet another software solution. (The company was already a user of Google Apps.) There wasn’t a real reason other than I didn’t like it – and as a result, I’d never really explored it. He scheduled some time with me to show me the capabilities of Google+ and even created a fairly adorable short video story of how a skeptical consultant (me) discovered all of the capabilities of the product. He helped me to see that although Google+ wasn’t perfect, it met our needs, and could be implemented right away. And it didn’t cost the company any additional money.
The reality is that you may already have the solution – or a viable answer – to the workforce challenges you’re facing. So pull out that user’s manual and reacquaint yourself with your account rep. Ask peers in other companies how they’re using the software or tools that you already have. If all else fails, have a conversation with the geeks in IT.
You may be surprised at what you’ve been missing while window shopping for the latest industry darling.
A Bentley is nice. But a Hyundai also gets the job done.
Throughout the month of October, our resident talent advisors are focused on all things HR technology. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions and learn about the latest trends in HR tech.