How to get employee buy-in on new HR tech

Although some people might say that HR is a little late to the technology party, there’s real progress to be seen in that area. In the past two years, HR tech initiatives have reached a balance between people, process and technology.

Here’s how the HR technology spending trend looks like:

Technology spending 2010-2014Source: TowerWatson

Companies have come to realize that HR technology is a key driver of HR effectiveness and efficiency. Pen and paper exercises are great for stimulating creativity, but they have become obsolete in managing agile teams and dynamic projects. Human Capital Management software is impacting the way employers interact with their employees, at a very rapid pace.

Leaders have understood that they need to reduce the time spend on administrative costs as well as the costs of HR service delivery. HR automation adoption is still ongoing but it’s picking up speed, as big data proves invaluable to HR managers.

Now that managers are interested in implementing new HR tech to boost their team’s performance, there is one problem that still remains to be tackled: getting employee buy-in on these new technologies.

If you build it, you’re not done

If finding the right HR tech, evaluating it and purchasing it seemed like the final challenge, companies have come to realize there is one more important step: adoption.

Adoption is crucial. Making employees aware of the need for an HR system, the reasons behind it and convincing them of how this system will help is a goal of its own.

At this stage, employees should be viewed like customers of a service. A selling process has to be put in place to ensure widespread adoption and, ultimately, return on investment.

Before we talk about the actual “how” behind getting employee buy-in, let’s address some of the most common concerns regarding HR tech solutions.

Common HR tech concerns

Before you’re able to sell the new system that will help your company’s performance, you should be prepared to address some fears that employees might have:

1.People become numbers

A common fear in using a new tech solution is that it will make the workplace impersonal, isolating people behind a number. It’s important that you explain how the new system you intent to use will increase collaboration, focusing on improving the overall experience of everyone involved.

If managers are empowered with smart, easy-to-use tools, they will spend much less effort on administrative tasks and more time on developing the people they work with. The more data they have about employees and their level of engagement, the more they will be able to effectively address important matters, saving time and energy.

2.Data remains just data

Big Data has become the equivalent of Voldemort in some HR circles. Too much talk about data, too much data in itself and not enough proof of how it’s being used or how it’s improving the overall work experience.

Employees fear that this is just another system that will gather more data, never to be actually used. To counter that thinking, managers have to be prepared to invest time and patience into actionable initiatives based on the data they gather.

Keep employees informed on new developments, new data and, most importantly, on what’s being done to maximize those figures. If your new employee engagement system is showing a decrease in employee motivation, talk about the key disengagement drivers that have been recorded and also the HR initiatives that have been devised to address them.

These systems are meant to increase communication and focus efforts in the right direction, not just to record information.

3. Privacy

A sensitive subject, especially in light of the new cloud breaches that targeted Apple and Gmail. Privacy is a main concern for employees because it can mean their job.

Our brains have been re-wired into thinking information is sensitive. We might not all be aware of this yet, but we will be in a very short time. Privacy matters, like Alessandro Acquisti demonstrates in this great TED talk.

Make sure that the system you’ve adopted has a good policy in place regarding privacy and take the time to explain to employees how that policy works. Encourage them to come forward and voice their questions and make sure you address every one of those.

“Key to the success of organisations being able to use employee data will be developing measurable benefits for those who hand over their data and building trust through clear rules about how data is acquired, used and shared.”

 Anthony Bruce, HR analytics leader at PwC

Getting employee buy-in

Hold an introductory presentation where you can address the main reasons why this particular HR tech solution will be adopted and how it will be rolled-out over the next period of time. Communicate your reasons clearly and invite employees to address questions.

The new HR tech solution that you propose to implement has to be clear and intuitive enough for employees to use.

Hold a demo of the new system or even set-up a training on how to use it. Constantly ask for employee feedback and make sure you follow-up on their suggestions.

Here are some of the main arguments that you can use to secure employee buy-in. Of course, there might be other great arguments that we’ve missed, in which case we’d love to hear them in our comments section bellow.

1. Increased collaboration

HR tech solutions facilitate real-time communication with a series of features that speed-up many processes.

“Enhanced and underpinned by technology, collaboration is the single most important trait of an agile business, no matter the size or scale. Collaboration should never slow down workflow; rather, it should become implicit in every stage of a project and should make each decision more effective.”

Raconteur Media, What Makes a Business Agile?

2. Increased management capabilities

As I mentioned earlier, these HR tech systems provide managers with invaluable knowledge that saves them the time and energy of guessing or assuming. With help from these systems, they can redirect their attention and energy to developing talent capabilities and maximizing employee engagement.

3. Workplace flexibility

The majority of these HR tech solutions aim to increase workplace flexibility and streamline processes. If By simplifying ways of working, employees can also reorganize their priorities, working hours and reporting tasks.

Bottom line

The HR tech market has grown by 17% over the last year (Bersin by Deloitte). That’s because companies gained confidence that these software solutions can help grow their business and retain their talent.

In order to implement a new HR tech system, employee buy-in is critical. Managers have to communicate why and how the new system will be used, encouraging employees to give feedback and express their concerns.

Image via under C.C.0 license