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Q&A on HR Technology

Thursday, September 1, 2016
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Q: What's the one HR-technology solution today that is most transforming HR departments?

A: In this transformative time of employee engagement, HR is gaining a new understanding of how its role and decisions regarding HR technology can impact company culture. While the administrative burdens regarding time-tracking, payroll and compliance remain, streamlined systems and processes are better enabling HR executives to elevate their focus and functionality on more cultural and learning initiatives. HR technology that incorporates learning and performance-management tools is altering the landscape of human resources by enabling HR leaders to directly impact employee opportunity and company growth.

In today's highly competitive talent market, we are seeing that the thriving employers are those that are able to consistently improve employee performance and quickly build leaders. The C-suites of these innovative growth companies understand the connection between a robust learning platform and culture, and the ability to successfully execute their business plans.

In addition, employees are gaining a greater understanding of the company's mission, vision and goals, and how they fit into the big picture. For our "me too" generation of millennial and Gen Z talent, working with purpose is critical to engagement. Having the tools to survey, educate, motivate and reward talent is one of the most innovative and transformative areas of HR today.

Q: Going forward, what areas should HR leaders be focusing their tech investments on to secure the best bang for the buck?

A: The responsibilities facing our HR-executive clients are only growing, and their time is a resource that continues to be in short supply. This is why investing in HR technology that champions automation and efficiency is essential -- not only for these HR leaders, but for their employees too. Integration used to be the only option for connecting multiple HR applications and vendors, but today's single-database platforms give you the biggest bang for your buck by eliminating the need to integrate. When you have to integrate, you end up creating unnecessary challenges such as trying to get all of your HR products -- which are often built in different database languages -- to communicate with one another. Integration can be a time-consuming nightmare that demands significant IT support and the management of multiple vendors. It can also be a constant struggle to maintain accurate data and generate valid reports.

Vendors that offer all HR functionality within one application empower HR executives with time and peace of mind. There's more time to spend with employees and more time to spend making strategic decisions versus sorting through disparate data. The accuracy of information that a single platform provides becomes even more important when you consider today's additional compliance needs, as we do with the Affordable Care Act, COBRA and the Fair Labor Standards Act, among others. And as critical as reliable data is to compliance, it's as essential in providing the insight needed to make the best workforce decisions to manage labor costs and grow your business.

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Q: In implementing new HR technology solutions, what are the specific best practices HR leaders should be employing to ensure that those implementations go smoothly and successfully?

A: Investing in the type of enterprise-wide buy that HR technology represents can be daunting, but there are things you can do to aid the implementation process. For starters, select a vendor who offers on-site training and sales representatives who will own the transition process and stay with you until you are satisfied. Also, embrace the change and be open to evaluating your current processes and procedures. The opportunity for a fresh start with new technology opens the door to asking the "Why are we doing it this way?" questions and enables you to implement innovative best practices to make the most of your new technology purchase.

Another best practice is to invest in the implementation process versus outsourcing implementation. The most successful transitions occur in companies that are fully bought-in, not just to the new technology, but to the rollout of that technology. That includes helping employees understand why the technology was purchased. I urge companies not to miss that cultural opportunity.

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