'Shiny Objects': Mistakes HR makes when buying new tech

There's no denying that 2020 was a year of cataclysmic change

'Shiny Objects': Mistakes HR makes when buying new tech

There’s no denying that 2020 was a year of cataclysmic change. The COVID-19 chaos caused businesses to rethink their strategies, realign their priorities, and overhaul their processes. And through it all, technology saved us. If it weren’t for the advancements in digital tools and platforms, swathes of companies would have been forced to shut down leaving thousands of employees without work.

If there’s one positive we can take away from the pandemic, it’s a renewed interested in authentic, reliable HR technology. But what sorts of technology should you be investing in? What systems do you really need in order to scale-up business?

HRD spoke to Aaron Hudson, VP implementation at ADP Canada – and author of Increasing productivity with the right tech. Hudson revealed the common mistakes employers fall prey to when selecting the right tools for their companies.

“I like to call it the ‘Shiny Objects’ problem,” prefaced Hudson. “This is when an employer hears of some fantastic new technology and decides they simply have to have it. No thought has gone into what it can do, whether it will fit their current needs, whether it would even work in their structure.”

Read more: How financial wellness can spark recovery after COVID-19

Hudson explained that employers are essentially trapped in a balancing act. One the one hand they want to try new products - experiment in order to make their businesses better. But on the other hand, they have to consider whether or not it will work for their people and for their specific needs.

“Another issue is adaptation,” added Hudson. “After purchasing a new piece of technology, there’ll be this desire to make it conform to their pre-existing business structure. Say, for instance, an employer buys a new HR solution because it has a recruiting tool that’s new and better than their current one. There's other features the product has that are also better than what they already have – however, that would require them to interact with their user community differently. If they’re not willing to actually embrace that change management piece, there’s no point in buying the tech in the first place.”

Read more: Financial worry: When should HR step in?

This focus on change management is a skill HR leaders should have perfected by now. However, despite the tumultuous months behind us, it seems that securing that C-suite buy in for new tech is still a sticking point.

“Not so long ago, the HR function was seen as a sort of necessary evil. They weren’t strategically important to the business – or at least they weren’t aware that they were. Now, HR is an imperative. In order to get senior management on side when buying new tech, HR leaders need to start thinking numerically. They need to find a way to properly measure what kind of manual effort their practitioners have today, and then select the new technology in a way that they believe sincerely is going to result in that manual effort going away.”

To hear more on how you can increase employee productivity by selecting the right technology, download ADP’s free whitepaper here.

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