HR technology: How to set up for success with your L&D tech

July 20, 2020

HR technology success tips from Degreed

Sarah Danzl, Head of Communications and Client Advocacy at Degreed, discusses how companies can make the most from their HR and learning technology investments.

Business leaders are under increasing pressure to ensure that their HR and learning investments are equipping their workforces for future business goals. Through maximising what budget they have or through utilising existing technology investments already in place. But if your current solution isn’t meeting the needs of your workforce strategy, what do you need to consider to ensure you make the most of future investments? Follow these six tips:

Link to your goals and strategy

While the right HR technology can be truly ground-breaking for your workforce, it won’t be effective without a clear strategy behind it. One that links with the wider business strategy and goals. Maximizing these platforms comes down to how administrators implement, utilise, and market them to their companies. 

Become mission-led

For purpose-led organisations, it’s also worth matching your technology investment to your mission. Offering a personalised learning experience, for example, can help frontline non-profit workers keep up with industry thinking and trends, new tools, techniques and improve their productivity. 

Meanwhile, Booking.com has a mission “…to make it easier for everyone to experience the world. We promise access to everyone, to all life’s experiences, whenever, whatever, and however.” This has informed its L&D strategy, by encouraging workers to learn in an explorative, curious and memorable way. It invests in rich learning experiences, facilitated by technology, to pique its employees’ interests and engagement.

Make sure you prioritize your user

People won’t engage with a new process or technology if they find it cumbersome and difficult to use. When investing in a tool, it’s worth trialling it with a few employees across all business areas and levels, to get their feedback and understand if it could be easily implemented company-wide. This also ties into scalability, as a user-friendly platform will be adopted more readily and make it easier for you to deploy across locations, offices, teams and so forth. User-centred design in a tool is key, it will drastically improve engagement, adoption and the longevity of the technology.

HR technology doesn’t exist for its own sake. It ultimately exists to improve the employee experience. So it needs to have employees at its core. Make sure you communicate its benefits and rewards, as this will increase buy-in and start to build a tech-driven culture.

Consider your existing processes and culture

Technology that aligns with your existing culture will have a shorter implementation period than one that requires change management. For some tools, like Total Talent platforms, completely changing your processes will pay-off (with greater agility, competitiveness and future-proofing, for instance). If this is the case, you’ll have to factor in a company-wide internal communications campaign to get employees on-board with your plans, and this can add months to your implementation. Again, a user-centred tool will be easier to onboard and deploy than one that requires extensive training to use.

For other tools, it can be worth looking for technology that augments your culture and operations. Highly social cultures, for example, will take well to tools with internal messaging and interaction options. On the other hand, some employees may prefer to see results displayed quickly on a dashboard and then quickly return to their day-to-day.

Find your champions

Even the smartest tools are powerless unless people actually use them. To ensure that the entire organisation actually adopts the technology, you must find and invest in your advocates. Ideally, you will have a champion in every business area and workplace location. 

Start with your IT team. These stakeholders can drive widespread adoption because of their touchpoints in every business area. Plus, they can influence technology adoption because they are trusted by employees for technology advice. Bring a technical team on-board from the beginning and keep them engaged throughout the trial and development process. Working in tandem with your IT team, you will be able to identify other potential champions, address pain-points and concerns, and explain the benefits of a new technology company-wide.

Your second group of champions will be the early beta testers of your technology investment. Give early access to a range of employees from different backgrounds and departments, as this will stress-test your tool in many different scenarios and give your champions in many functions. Again, if you decide to deploy the technology across your organisation, this will be invaluable as you’ll have people embedded in each team to drive adoption and best practice.

For other tools, it can be worth looking for technology that augments your culture and operations. Highly social cultures, for example, will take well to tools with internal messaging and interaction options. On the other hand, some employees may prefer to see results displayed quickly on a dashboard and then quickly return to their day-to-day.

Think about the future

Your technology investment should stand the test of time – at least for a few years. When investing in a new tool, make sure it can scale with your anticipated company growth. If your headcount increases, check that licensing fees won’t rise astronomically. Make sure the tool is supported globally, in case you expand to new markets and locations. 

Your technology must be adaptable to your business strategy. If your organisation plans to launch a new cybersecurity service, for example, it’s worth investing in a learning tool that can upskill employees in this planned business area. Likewise, there should be a degree of futureproofing for market changes. Ask your technology vendor how often they update their tool, how they foster innovation and their processes for experimenting with new functions. The more a vendor innovates and upgrades their platform, the more prepared they will be for sudden market and demand changes.

Your line of sight

Your HR and learning technology lays the foundations for your workforce’s success. It takes time to trial and decide on the right tools, because of the significant impact such technology can have on your organisation. 

Fundamentally, you must ensure a clear line of sight from your business goals to your technology investment. Think about how it benefits each worker. The technology must place employees at the centre of its processes and design. It needs to align with your business strategy and add value over the long-term. This will keep you, and your technology investments, on track with your growth and ambitions.

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