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Procuring HR technology for the future

By Neil Everatt, CEO at Selenity

Today’s HR departments are experiencing change like never before and the last few months have had a significant impact on HR departments across the country. HR processes have faced increasing pressure through the introduction of furlough schemes, redundancies and adjustments to working hours – on top of managing ongoing issues such as sickness, absence and holidays.

For those organisations without HR software in place, the switch to remote working has been tricky, hampered by the lack of technology available to employees at home. However, looking beyond the crisis, requests for home working are expected to rise.

This significant shift to home working will bring about additional challenges for HR professionals, as they’ll need to make sure the right tools and software is in place to make it successful in the long run.

The right tools for the job

With an abundance of cloud technologies on the market, navigating the current technology landscape can be a struggle for many HR and IT departments. The conventional request for proposal (RFP) process and long buying cycles aren’t future proof or nimble. In times of crisis, organisations need to be able to response rapidly to keep processes on track and as much as possible ‘business as normal’.

With home-working here to stay, HR-technology buyers should focus on solutions that offer a wide range of features, while also addressing user-specific needs and processes. From removing manual processes to streamlining administrative tasks and supporting strategic objectives – technology is making it easier to access, gather and analyse information.

Taking this tailored approach means that buyers will be more likely to look for solutions that reflect the existing processes within their organisation and can be personalised. But how can HR teams identify the cloud technologies they need whilst also spotting the solutions that will deliver the greatest return on investment (ROI)?

Plan out practices and build the business case

The first step is to identify the functions that are ripe for digital transformation for instance payroll, employee benefits or employee relations.

Then breakdown the processes that need to be improved and would benefit from being digitised or automated in some way. Think about the stages required to manage employee relations cases such as grievances or disciplinaries. How is information being shared across the team and gathered for report generation?

For the employee benefits team, are staff following the company’s expense policy? What must a line manager do to approve expense claims? Are there variations in the way these tasks are being carried out? Be sure to record the time and any costs involved in managing these processes currently, as this can be used to demonstrate projected savings.

Following that, buyers will need to make the case for cloud technology investment. Producing a detailed account of how the solution will benefit the HR department and the wider organisation as a whole. Make sure to include any savings or ROI calculated when process mapping.

Picking the right technology partner

Software performance, the roadmap for new features and the ability to personalise and customise functions are all in the hands of the solution provider. So, it’s important to go into the procurement process with the mind-set of choosing a partner, not just a product.

Identify suppliers with cloud technologies that will support the HR department as it stands today, as well as in the future. Looking towards partners who can integrate and demonstrate understanding of changing workforce dynamics.

For example, when purchasing a digital expense platform, it’s important to consider both the benefits to employees and administrators. Mobile technology is a big enabler of remote working and instrumental in helping organisations support flexible working in the long-term. Does the preferred supplier offer a mobile version of their product or even better an app?

Equally, for administrators transferring information between systems can be a big burden. Question whether data can be easily transferred into the organisations existing accounting system? This functionality will be of great benefit to finance and payrolls teams as it gives them increased visibility and control of the financial data they manage.

However, it isn’t just tech specs that HR-technology buyers should focus on, a provider’s approach to customer relationships also needs to be considered. Successful cloud technology implementations depend on continued expert customer support. Relationships with technology vendors are important, especially as HR teams look to implement specific solutions to meet their needs.

Changing for the better

In today’s ever-changing business environment, software must be able to quickly adapt to new circumstances. A one-size-fits-all approach might be easier when it comes to the procurement process but it’s certainly more problematic in the long run.

We know that HR technology requires ongoing investment, which is why it’s best to look for technology providers who offer customisation, scalability and robust customer support. Harnessing technologies that integrate well with existing processes and ultimately help to drive efficiency, meet the needs of the HR function and support strategic decision-making, now and for the future.