Strategic processes are found in many levels of businesses and other organizations. As a business leader, you likely spend your time in meetings discussing marketing strategy, financial strategy, pricing strategy, hiring strategy, and more. Yet, there is one strategic area of business that is all too often overlooked – HR technology strategy.
In this post I’ll cover actionable strategies for business leaders to align their HR technology with overall organizational strategy. Specifically, I’ll address:
· Aligning HR technology strategy with business goals
· Making your HR technology strategy agile
· Thinking beyond simple automation
Aligning HR Technology Strategy with Business Goals
Fortunately, the timing has never been better for business leaders to establish their HR technology strategy. With the rise of software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms, many new and innovative HR technology providers are now in the market. Thanks to the fact that all these services can be hosted in the cloud, implementation can be done very efficiently. Further, customization of these platforms to fit your specific business needs is possible more now than ever before.
Firstly, you should always consult with your own IT staff before determining which HR strategies to implement. Their expertise and feedback will ensure that you don’t choose to implement a technology that exposes sensitive employee data or otherwise compromises the integrity of your HR strategy. However, another advantage of HR technology SaaS platforms is that once the platform is integrated with your organization, IT’s role in managing that system can be minimal. These cloud-based services require minimal intervention from your IT staff once they are all set up. This means your HR team can fully utilize the platform without having to wait for potential delays associated with getting IT involved.
As you are considering your options for HR technology, it’s important to have a clear vision of what your business goals are. When evaluating potential technology vendors, prompt them to show you how the platform can directly help you achieve these goals – especially in terms of improving your HR operations. Due to that fact that there are many exceptional HR technology platforms available nowadays, know that you can shop around until you find a solution that fits your business’ exact needs. One crucial mistake many leaders make is to settle for a platform that doesn’t truly fit the unique needs of their team’s operations.
Another important point to make is that you shouldn’t jump the gun when it comes to HR strategy. Ask yourself, are all members of your leadership team aligned with your company’s HR strategy? Which team members were involved with developing those strategies? Are the strategies based on reliable feedback and data, not just the gut instincts of upper level leadership? Ask yourself these questions in both an HR and a non-HR context.
It’s best to hone in on all these key areas before investing in HR technology to help you achieve your organization’s goals. By having a clear strategy prior to making HR infrastructure changes, you can avoid making a significant investment into an HR technology only to find out that you need to adjust your business strategies in such a way that makes them incompatible with the technology.
Making your HR Technology Strategy Agile
If we’ve learned anything over the past 12 months, it’s that the future in the business world is often unpredictable. No business leaders in November 2019 could have predicted that in November 2020 we’d be in the midst of the worst pandemic that the world has seen in nearly 100 years. The biggest unforeseen change that has resulted from this pandemic is that telecommuting has become the new normal for many employees.
Many HR processes that had in-person steps are now forced to be 100% virtual, such as hiring, I-9 verification, and onboarding. Businesses with agile HR technologies were able to adapt much more easily to these changes than those without.
As you’re considering which HR technologies to implement, envision different future scenarios that your business may face and aim to implement a platform that affords your team the greatest flexibility.
When we talk about HR technology agility, this generally means having it in the cloud and being able to configure or customize the offerings in an efficient manner. When you have licensed software manually installed on your team’s computers, it is generally much more difficult to change or customize at a moment’s notice compared to cloud-based systems. Standardization of SaaS applications can reduce complexity and make upgrades faster.
Thinking Beyond Simple Automation
The final strategy that we’ll discuss in this post is to think beyond simple automation when considering HR technologies. It’s important to remember that technology itself is not the solution to your business’ challenges, but rather a tool that enables your skilled employees to improve processes and systems. Your business has, and always will be, managed by people – also known as “Human Capital” in the HR world. Keep the focus of your HR technologies on managing human capital. Don’t put the creativity or innovation of your employees at risk for the sake of simple automation.
Employers will always invest significant time into developing organizational strategies. At Launchways, we often see employers neglect important aspects of their HR technology strategies. To ensure that HR technology strategy aligns with overall business strategy, we recommend the following:
· Strongly consider implementing software-as-a-service (SaaS) HR technology platforms. There are many modern, effective options to choose from, and if you invest sufficient time into considering your options, you should be able to find a platform that will perfectly match your organizational needs and culture.
· In addition to focusing on SaaS platforms, focus on making your HR technology agile. We often don’t know what lies ahead in the business world, but you should feel comfortable knowing that your HR technologies can easily adapt to changing workforces and workplaces.
· Most importantly, remember the value of human capital. The mindset of implementing new HR technologies should be to maximize the value of your human capital, not just to automate processes.