HR Technology: Turning Around Our Love/Hate Relationship

Our lives have altered since the HR Technology industry’s first applications.  It stopped the practise of recruiters leaving paper resumes on managers’ desks and the need to advertise job openings in the Sunday “Help Wanted” sections. It has grown to be a $20 billion or more business.  Companies are investing thousands of hours and money in HR technology to make our lives so much more efficient.  However, according to the PwC HR Tech Survey 2022, many HR executives are dissatisfied with their HR tech vendors, with 36% of them indicating that switching vendors is somewhat or very likely and only 20% saying it is extremely unlikely. Why then do individuals dislike their HR technology after watching demos, feeling impressed, investing in it, and putting it into use?

Is It Because We Don’t Adapt To Change Well?

When we first start using a particular technology, we have a tendency to compare all new technology to those early encounters.  People frequently demand that tools mimic the systems with which they are already familiar.  Even though a new technology might enhance a certain experience, adults of any age can find it difficult to acquire new skills, which can lead to resistance.  It can be difficult to switch from an Android to an iPhone or a PC to a Mac, even though these changes seem straightforward. Expectations frequently relate to past experiences, especially firsthand ones.  To be completely honest, the vendor administration system I used initially was also my favourite for a very long time.  Why?  Because I was completely familiar with it. Yet, how have I grown? My viewpoints have significantly evolved: primarily because I now work in the field of technology research and have grown to comprehend and value the tools available to increase productivity.

How Do Misaligned Expectations Lead To Dissatisfaction?

There are three tiers of consumer expectations, according to the Kano Model: expected, typical, and exciting.  A product or service may have some “satisfiers” and other “wows” characteristics. Our expectations of what constitutes a “wow” for tech goods and services have increased along with the exponential growth of technology use.  According to the Kano Model, as expectations increase, what was once exciting or a “wow” becomes the norm.  When was it thrilling to stay in a hotel with Wi-Fi for $15 per day?  Nowadays, having complimentary Wi-Fi in a hotel is considered standard or a “satisfier.” In terms of HR technology, this means that if a technology only provides you with what you deem to be a “satisfier” or something that is regarded to be typical or expected, it is unlikely to “wow” users.  All vendor management systems, for instance, support timesheets (“satisfier”), but many businesses now demand simple-to-implement platforms that support multiple schedules, currencies, and cost centres.  For a prospective vendor, these features would be “wow” differentiators.

80/20 Rule.  Are We Unhappy With the 20% Our Tech Can’t Deliver On?

It comes down to a number of questions in the change or not to change discussion.

-Was the initial decision proactive (i.e., let’s find an improved system) or reactive (i.e., we need to get a system right away to do “x” because we failed an audit)?  

-Does the proposed or existing technology support our overall digitization plan across all departments?

Are all user(s) or the company’s standards for partnership, support, and development being met? (What is the travel guide? The technology is truly for who? Have we been specific enough?

-Was the technology applied effectively or in a less-than-ideal way?

-Were both internal and exterior use cases taken into consideration? Have recent changes led to a new requirement for updates or unexpected features?

Was the advertising procedure exaggerated? The system, its unique selling points, and the needs of the customer may not have been sufficiently explained. Additionally, connections that don’t fit “the sales pitch” may result in this. (For example, length of time required to complete, unanticipated inefficiencies, lack of real requirements, bottlenecks or issues with speed, etc.) 

Is the Problem the New Learning Curve or the Technology or Both?

When individuals or processes need attention, it’s easy to blame technology instead of them.  Instead of utilising a technology’s capabilities for what it was intended for, businesses frequently modify it to suit their processes. This is what we like to refer to as “MacGyvering,” and it occasionally succeeds and occasionally fails. While pushing a technology just a little bit past its breaking point is inventive, it is best to exercise care. When it comes to technology, it is crucial to confirm that the fundamental purpose of the technology continues to address your primary issue statement. Once that has been completed, feel free to use your imagination to incorporate additional “wants” into the outlier capabilities.

But wait, there are opportunities to turn hate into love!

We’ve Explored the Problems, Now Let’s Look at Solutions! Here Are My Top 3:

1.  Consumer awareness is constantly increasing, and seamless experiences are prioritised over point solutions.  In the next three years, 48% of CHROs intend to use an HR platform that will systematise the automation of many HR procedures, according to ServiceNow.  In my opinion, this all-encompassing strategy will end the suffering caused by disparate systems and force HR tech firms to get along with one another in order to compete in this market.

2. HR tech businesses have a chance to snag that development talent and begin addressing their pain points in light of all the recent tech layoffs at organisations like Meta and Twitter. The time for hiring IT talent is better than it has been in a while, so HR tech businesses that want to advance must take advantage of this large talent pool.

3. Shared views are VERY popular! This has been and will continue to be a fantastic method for software companies and those in charge of purchasing and managing software to comprehend how they can ease the suffering.  As a general guideline, get user feedback before, during, and after tech implementations. Although LinkedIn is a fantastic resource for starting business conversations, you can also use your personal network connections to get more thorough input.  If you spend every day in the weeds, you’ll be amazed at what you might miss.

People frequently detest their HR technology, whether it be due to issues with adaptation, expectations, implementation, or broken processes covered up as technical difficulties.  We are now left needing more than what once satisfied the need for a recruiter to avoid leaving a paper resume on the desk of a hiring manager.  As we move into 2023, HR tech firms that are well-suited to address our issues will take advantage of market chances to establish themselves as leaders in the field and, ideally, permanently change the hate into love.

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