My HR and leader-friends, I am going to make a bold statement. I think technology scares the hell out of us. That fear is spooking us into lethargic, gooey submission. Our inaction is making our teams fat.
Worst thing an HR pro can do regarding HR tech is nothing. You create value in taking action.
I attended the #SHRM15 conference a few weeks back and had the pleasure of interviewing one of FOT’s own—Kris Dunn. Kris was briefing pros on HR technology topics and someone skipped their session. I figured I’d take that opportunity to have a fab 1-1 with him about some of my own HR Tech woes.
Believe me, I have many HR Tech woes. And I work for a tech company. So, the way my pea-brain sees it, if an HR pro who works for a tech company is having anxiety attacks over technology purchases then I imagine the entire HR field is in need of some Xanax. High-doses.
After vetting 6 tech systems over as many months, I recently purchased a new Applicant Tracking System and Onboarding portal. I told Kris about all the fabulous things my new system offered, which are many. I then launched into the handful of items the tech salesperson snowed me on. However, that handful of things… that mighty, mighty handful… got me hot under the collar.
Exacerbating my frustration, after months of vetting, demo-ing and negotiating, as soon as I made the purchase, if felt like 5 new platforms just hit the market with better functionality. AAAHHRRGH. AAAAHHHHH!! A cruel fate. Cruel enough to make you not want to pull the trigger on anything. What to do?
KD: Take action anyway.
Me: What if something better comes along?
KD: It will. Take action anyway.
Me: What if I have buyer’s remorse?
KD: You will. Take action anyway.
Huh. Pause. Relief. Whew. At least I took action.
Some other food for thought from our conversation:
- The shallow HR pro doesn’t take action. It’s a fool’s paradise to think any tech platform will be perfection. Even if you hire a company to custom-build a tech solution for you, your changing business needs will likely make it somewhat obsolete as well. But doing nothing, especially neglecting the importance HR technology has on modern HR teams, is a killer.
- Some of us like being fat. We’d rather have a larger team of folks handling transactional tasks than purchase a tech solution with the ability to take administration off our plates. All snark aside, some of us feel our value is in transactional work. I don’t, CEOs don’t, but some do.
- The Emperor Has No Clothes. Some of us stall on a technology play. We believe once transactional HR is off our plates we’ll be forced to elevate our game to strategic talent management. That’s a scary proposition if you don’t know what that is or how to do it.
- Some Don’t Like Getting Burned Twice. Tech implementations just stink. They just do. They are always harder than you anticipate. It’s heartbreaking when a technology platform you put your heart and soul into fails (for a variety of reasons). Just like dating, sometimes its hard to put your self back on the market once you’ve gotten burned. Understandable, but still shallow. Not a good excuse.
- Learn Negotiation Strategies. At least if you’ve negotiated a great deal, it hurts less if some features and functionality aren’t as great as you hoped. It’s a double stinger if features aren’t as shiny as you thought AND you got raked.
A body in motion tends to stay in motion. A body at rest tends to stay at rest. Newton said something like that in his first law of motion.
Keep moving. Take Action.
Be on the lookout later this month for the new FOT video series called “No Scrubs”—brought to you by Chequed.com.
Dawn Burke, Sr. Consultant for Recruiting Toolbox and founder/advisor for Dawn Burke HR, is an HR leader, speaker, and writer specializing in new HR practices, engagement and workplace culture. Her HR/recruiting/leadership career has spanned the last 20 years, with past gigs including a foundational role as VP of People for Birmingham, AL’s award-winning technology company, Daxko (And yes, Kris Dunn and Dawn are making Bham the HR capital of the world! Who knew?). You can also check her out at DawnHBurke.com and a variety of other interesting places. Google her, it’ll keep you posted on what she is up to.
Most importantly: She is addicted to TV, knows most of the lyrics to Hamilton and West Side Story, loves to cry at movies (check out Cinema Paradiso for a cry fest!), thinks wine, a wheel of Brie and Milk Duds make a well-balanced dinner, and sings in her car daily. Her husband and cat are the Yin to her Yang.