Recruitment Directors LACE

HR technology adoption – it’s not just ‘plug and play’

We sat down with Rachel Mawson, Practice Lead for our HR Adoption and Change side of the LACE Partners business, to talk in a little detail about some of the common challenges she has seen for businesses working with LACE Partners. She gives us some insight as to what HR adoption looks like, but also some of the challenges that both HR and line managers face when a new technology is implemented into a business.

Companies and workforces are looking to make themselves more efficient and align the productivity of their workers. HR as a function is looking to position itself in a more strategic way within the business, hoping to realign some of the more perceived transactional work that they do, like time off recording, payroll, absence, etc. ‘This is something that I know the HR on the Offensive whitepaper touched on and so it came as no surprise to me when reading the feedback from the 22 senior HR professionals from the report’.

There’s a rise in demand for familiarity in technology and systems, like Workday, Oracle HCM, SAP Success Factors, that democratise the functionality of such transactional tasks like recording absence. For example, HR should be looking to be able to ‘let go of the reigns’ of some of the high-frequency, low-value, activity.

What happens after 'go live'?

Then when the system goes live there might be quick reference guide, four to six weeks of ‘hyper care’ which is the tech side of the programme making sure the tech itself is working and there are no broken elements to the functionality. But this doesn’t necessarily look at whether people are still using the system after initial ‘go live’, or whether they are familiar with all of the different parts of the system.

Often you will find technologies that months after you have launched don’t have the adoption you need in order to realise the value you need to demonstrate efficiencies within a business. What we typically find is the HR function having to realign their own activity to fix problems such as data, or some of the inaccuracies that may come from manager or employee ‘self-service’. We have often seen instances where the implementation of a new technology is premised on the possibility of reducing an HR function in terms of people size. But if proper technology implementation doesn’t have adequate adoption amongst the workforce you end up re-hiring in people to get the technology working.

Changing behaviours of employees

Our view of HR adoption is more focused on helping managers, employees and HR understand and communicate the new ways of working and the behaviour changes associated with the technology that you’re implementing. Often we've seen that it isn’t the issue with the technology itself but the processes that have been created that are too cumbersome for the speed and agility you need to push the processing through. In some instances, it could be resistance from the manager to adopt the new technology. In that case the need is in helping the manager to understand the value that is created by the new technology, how it acts as an enabler to help them improve their own job and reduce some of the transactional parts of being a line manager.

For HR the benefit is that the conversation between line manager and HR becomes more strategic in nature. It focuses more on what HR can do to help the line manager achieve their strategic goals, rather than deal with transactional issues, some of which I mentioned above.

In terms of where we have often been bought in to support at LACE Partners, often the perception is that we should be part of an offboarding of technology in place for a new supplier, we often find that there is more work to be done to drive behavioural change than to just plug in a new technology. Helping people to understand what is changing and why, as well as how it will be of benefit in the long term, is a labour-intensive piece that in my experience is only successful if you have a partnership between HR leadership and business leadership.

Behaviour change has to start at the top of any business, and in that, right from the beginning.

If you would like to talk to Rachel about how your business adoption programme is developing then get in touch with her today.

Further reading

Digital Adoption Solutions – what you need to know ahead of time…