THE CHANGE SERIES #2 Getting the most out of your people tech

Jane Sunley, business author, CEO + Founder of Purple Cubed 

For organisations of all types and sizes, digitising the ‘people stuff’ will bring about numerous benefits. You’d expect it to help you save time and cost though, used correctly and with commitment, it will also help with recruitment and selection, with employee engagement and retention, with communication, creativity, recognition, health and wellbeing, with growing capability, with leadership, with enabling people to progress, contribute and drive their careers – the list goes on…

However, investing in people tech is seen by many as a potentially risky and expensive business and therefore sometimes moved down the priority list in favour of ‘safer investments’. A crucial factor is that implementing new technology generally goes hand in hand with change which, for some, is a reason to consign it to the ‘too difficult box’ or until the right time. You can read a summary of our latest research on change here though the ‘right time’ is fast becoming a thing of the past in today’s fast paced, volatile and uncertain world. Chaos has become the norm and it’s those who take decisive action to change the way they do things that will succeed. And besides today’s employee needs and expects tech tools that will help them both professionally and personally.

When choosing HR tech, start with the end in mind – what you’re setting out to improve and what the results will ‘look like’. Tech providers generally employ armies of very skilled sales people and it’s easy to become bewildered by the vast array of game-changing solutions. So instead of being seduced by the ‘coolest app’ and the most compelling sales patter, be clear about your desired outcomes and expect to see evidence of these outcomes in the form of case studies (with metrics). And speak with other users so you can hear the reality and not the pitch. Unless you’re a very large business, avoid ‘overbuying’ large expensive systems when there are smaller more creative and more agile providers, now often working together to provide integrated approaches.

Most of all, do your homework. People are still investing heavily in products that are fast becoming obsolete (such as eLearning which, aside from statutory type stuff, has already largely been usurped by just in time, bite sized approaches) –your tech needs to grow as you do. If in doubt, ask an expert.

Make sure implementation plans are realistic and well thought through, including the all-important communications plan (teaser campaigns work well to spark interest and kick-start momentum). It’s important that people understand ‘the why’ – how using this tech will benefit them personally and professionally. Choose intuitive systems where users can log in and go – avoiding the necessity for ‘user training’ – after all no one ever taught them how to use Facebook. And a lot of tech training is pretty dull, which does nothing towards getting people engaged in and excited about their new tools.

The successful implementation of technology is largely dependent on buy-in from the top. It’s highly unlikely people will embrace your shiny new tech tool if your leadership don’t. They also need to be ‘talking it up’ – just as they would with any other change. Work with people to show them ‘what’s in it for me’ and publicise successes, user stats, benefits – anything that shows it’s worth doing. At the end of the day though, the best tech is that which is easy to use, has obvious benefits to individual, team and organisation and evolves as your business does. As such it gathers its own momentum. Overall, look for a partner not a supplier…

Our next blog in the Change series will look at the role of Culture in successful change…

2018-04-24T10:47:10+01:00 March 27th, 2018|