The technology spend of organizations is at an all-time high, reaching $389bn by the ending of 2018 (source: Gartner). According to the same research the largest domain of increased spend, is the domain of HR technology. This can also be observed in the market, organizations are all experimenting with the latest greatest technology to see what is working for them. Old tech has been removed and is replaced by more user friendly and better-looking technology. On the other hand we see projects fail and budget get burned on damage management! Based on Forbes research, 25% of technology projects fail straight out of the gate and 50% of the projects need to be massively overhauled! In conclusion, the road to success requires a different ball game.
Why HR tooling is important
One of the key elements for the purchase of HR technology should not be about technology, but about how it can serve the business. In other words, how does it help my people and organizations to be more successful? According to Hein Knaapen, CHRO of ING, it’s all about critical HR areas: effective and efficient performance management, succession planning, leadership development and capability management. We totally agree with Hein Knaapen! These are very important focus areas, which determine the added value of the HR function. But why is this so difficult to achieve in practise once digitalisation comes in the picture?
How it all goes wrong
Many (IT related) projects run out of budget and time or lack commitment of stakeholders, its businesses, organizations and staff. Mostly, root causes are not about the tech & concepts itself. More than 80% of the success factors are not even about IT at all, but the result of under addressing other important factors for successful implementation. This is also the case with implementing innovative digital HR solutions. The technical implementation is not the end game but just the beginning: the beginning of the change process and doing things differently within your organization.
25% of projects fail straight out of the gate!
In the field we see that the focus on the change process is often overlooked. There is a lot of focus on content and technical requirements. And this is good. Let us be clear: it MUST be good! It’s a precondition but it’s not enough. It all starts with what you want, why you want it, who is involved and how are you going to implement. And, although none of this is rocket science, the following six important principles are often overlooked or severely under addressed:
1. What is your vision: why do you want to implement a new tool? Why is the current situation not good enough?
2. How about your people: people have the knowledge of the organization. How do they feel about your plans? Are they motivated to change?
3. Everything has a rhythm, change as well: think upfront on how you are going to work. Divide the change up in smaller steps, creating urgency & commitment to prevent day2day operations killing your programme. Also, this way of working offers learning potential for the organization, people and processes.
4. Dare to change: Change is holistic and touches many roles & responsibilities. Do not play this down ever! It takes guts to address the difficult things. It feels easier on the short term not to talk about negative effects for some. But it never is in the long run. It takes leadership to stay cooperative, positive and critical at the same time.
5. Be as transparent as you can: keep the progress of the change as clear as possible. Use dashboards, but keep note nothing really fancy is actually needed here, to help track the performance of the organization.
6. Anchor the change: Ensure agreements are met. Discuss and decide, upfront, how this will be done. Keep in mind changing behaviours is tough. And when things get rough, and they will, you need to be able to address and act upon commitments made.
Not all change is set up equally
Then there is this thing on HOW you want to manage the change: your programme or project plan. This is also very important but there is no need to get dogmatic about it. You can take a flexible, situational, approach. But you have to make sure you address how you want to manage the programme, manage the cycle and very important: change the company.
To effectively make the combination of HR-tech AND change, in order to ensure successful implementation, and therefore securing added value of the HR function, Blue Carpet and RibbonWood have combined their core competencies and experiences. Are you curious on how this works, have a success story or learning experience to share, please comment below!
Femmeke Ruisch – Steve Sichtman – Jerry Ruitenberg – Kees Lindhout