Future Friday: Will your HR technology cost you employees?

by Michael Haberman on January 9, 2015 · 2 comments


Will your technology help or hinder HR?

Will your technology help or hinder HR?

I helped a client with a survey. One of the things that was clear from the responses was that the employees considered the HR technology to be “clunky”.  In fact many of them tried to use it and then gave up. They would resort to paper or email to get what they needed from HR. As a result there was a disconnect from HR. Is this happening in your organization?

Three things happening in HR in technology

According to HR writer Karen Higgenbottom, there are three things that are occurring in the HR world around technology. The first of these is that there will be an increased amount of transparency. It has already started with sites like Glassdoor and the capability people have to leave comments about companies. Higgenbottom suggests, based on the work of Steve Parker of Achievers, that companies will start using applications that allow employees to provide feedback, both good and bad, internally. This will allow HR to quickly re-engage employees who have become disengaged, much like companies that monitor Twitter to pick up negative comments that have been Tweeted by unhappy customers.

The second thing that is occurring is also related to engagement. Companies will use technology to allow employees to better engage with each other. Higgenbottom has a quote from Parker that says companies will do this “…by providing people with tools to connect across functions, catch others in the act of doing things right, and stay aligned to what’s most important.” I have actually seen this in action. I have another client that uses Chatter from Salesforce.com to enhance communication amongst employees. In fact they forbid the use of internal email as a communication tool.

The third thing that is a happening is a digital divide. As companies and HR make greater and greater use of technology there is going to be a divide that will increasingly separate your employees into adopters and slow adopters. Higgenbottom quoted UK resident Tom Payne of KPMG’s People Powered Performance Team, who said that this digital divide will most likely occur across a generational divide. He said “On the face of it new technology sounds like a good idea, but the challenge will be whether organisations can adopt new technologies quickly enough to satisfy employee need whilst ensuring everyone is able to get the most out of it. Failure to do so may create conflict in the workplace with some people feeling empowered and others left behind.”

The next question

The next question for each of you in HR is “what effect is technology having on my organization?” Are you experiencing this digital divide? Are you losing employees because your technology is not up to date? Is your productivity, ability to engage with people, and ability to find people all hindered by your clunky technology? If the answer is “yes” to any of these the next question is “what are you going to do about it?”

 Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Pooja @ Mettl January 9, 2015 at 7:43 am

I have noticed a lot of organizations take up technology for innovative new ways to engage with the employment force, specially when the number of employees is of the order of thousands.
Many Employee Engagement Officers are deploying Quizs, contests and Hackathons using technology to engage employees. I think, if technology, used well, can always work towards a positive change.

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Michael Haberman February 3, 2015 at 10:47 am

Pooja: I agree that technology can be a very positive change in employee engagement. But at the same time if consideration is not give to the people component all it does is replace workers and not improve them.

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