HR Technology – Don’t Believe the Hype

Kris Dunn Talent Management Power Rankings

Editor's NoteDon't Feed the Vendors is a new series we're bringing into the FOT fold, just in time for Christmas.  The goal of the DFTV series?  We get hammered by third parties who want to write at FOT, so we give them a challenge.  Write something cool and significant we can learn from/talk about in the FOT style, and you can roll with the FOT crew.  Try to sell our readership your product and/or provide a whitepaper, and we'll openly mock your company in public for not understanding the DNA of our readership.  Many inquire, few follow through once they learn they can't post a workup of their latest "research".  For those that make the cut, we'll offer up associate FOT membership as part of the Don't Feed the Vendors stable.

Sean Conrad of Halogen Software is one of the ones that made the cut.  Show him some love in the comments for being up to the challenge and not writing something that should be read on PBS. 

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In the words of Public Enemy,

We don't need it do we?

It's fake that's what it be to 'ya, dig me?

Don't believe the hype….

OK, personally, I'm a big believer in social networking and Web 2.0, 3.0 (and pretty much anything with a dot 0 after it) technologies. Why else would I be blogging on FOT?  I'm just not convinced when it comes to talent management, that these technologies are something the average HR pro needs or is actively using today.  Should people be on top of the trends and what is coming? Absolutely. Should HR be aware of new technologies and how they impact their employees?  Without a doubt.  That said, after spending time at the HR Tech conference back in October, I confirmed my belief that many companies aren't ready for or in need of more 2.0 technology as far as HR apps go.

I attended plenty of sessions where the panelists waxed poetic about the virtues of the latest social networking features, but the reaction from my view at the back of the room, was often the same – shaking heads and stunned looks. That's not to say HR pros don't "get it" but rather they don't necessarily have the need for this stuff today.  When you listen to analysts and pundits talk there seems to be this underlying assumption that most companies have all of the key applications – HRIS, recruiting, employee performance management - in place. 

That's simply not the case. Stop and take a look at the market sizing numbers for talent management alone.  The market is growing at a rapid rate as organizations push to automate tedious functions and take on-boarding, appraisals, succession planning and learning management to a new level.  And yes, I did say automate.  It's not sexy. It's not going to draw a crowd big enough to give an HR pro rock star status, but automation is where it starts. So before worrying about integration with FaceBook or LinkedIn, HR needs to work on things like ensuring employees have goals set that align with the organzation's goals and have the tools to manage them.

Once that's all done and working well, then HR and the organization can start thinking about how to use technology to make even greater gains.  But technology, for the sake of technology, might mean you show some extra sizzle to your exec team or employees, but without the fundamental building blocks in place – let's call it steak (so that my lame pun can work here) – they ain't gonna get to the sizzle anytime soon.  Remember, technology is an enabler, not the be all and end all of your strategy and tactics.

Save yourself the headache, focus on what you need to execute your strategic HR plans today, while taking the time to learn more about how you can build on that over time and can be ready for new technologies when your organization can actually use them.

After all, Flavor Flav has a basic clock, not a digital one, as a necklace.  Thanks for the post inspiration Flav!