coin-laundry-coin-slot-1-1I’m always somewhat amused when a new iPhone (or pick your device) comes out. As soon as the iPhone7 went on sale on September 16th my Facebook timeline was filled with status updates of “I’ve ordered mine!” and “my phone should be shipped by xx date!” The memes quickly followed. Headphone jacks? Anyone?

Pundits and bloggers in the tech world weighed in on the standard upgraded features any new release is expected to give us…thinner, faster, more battery life….you know the drill. (note: while the Schooling household phones are eligible for upgrade, we have, thus far, postponed any activity).

The fanfare. The lines at the stores. The delayed shipment dates. I have yet to speak with anyone in person about their new gadget; therefore I have zero insight on individual satisfaction levels.

It did get me thinking though, as I get ready to head off to the HR Technology Conference & Exposition (#HRTechConf) next week, about the ‘upgrade’ experience for the users of HR technology. And I mean all the users; HR staff and administrators, employees, managers, and candidates. What do they expect from a new system launch or upgrade? When we, as HR practitioners, select a new solution and subsequently go through the planning and implementation phase (whether that be a few months or a few years) are we really looking at the end result through the eyes of our users? The final, full-on, ‘let’s make this go-live” end result?

Quite often I think the answer is no.

When we’re working through the project, as we’re building codes and tables, and when we find ourselves knuckle-deep in migrating data from potentially disparate systems, we tend to focus on our back-end/HR-back-of-house improvements. It’s top of mind, naturally, for us to get excited about how the solution is improving our HR day-to-day; ease of use, reporting, and data integrity come to mind. Move me from four systems (with dozens hundreds of spreadsheet thrown in) that can’t talk-to-each-other to a platform with full connectivity and integration and I’m a happy HR gal. Right?

Oh sure, we may give cursory thought to our end-users, especially as we begin the communication phase and gear up for user adoption. “How we will get our team members to not only use this platform but also love this platform?” we ask ourselves. Well…hopefully we’re asking that question.

But I think the work around user adoption requires a couple key elements we, in HR, often neglect to think about:

  • Our users (employees, applicants, managers) want to replicate the type of experience they have with technology outside-of-work, and
  • Our users want access to all the features

At the end of the day our users aren’t comparing this “new” solution we roll out from the human resources department to the previous solution we’ve provided for them. “Hey wow! We now have electronic workflow approval to sign off on training requests!” (said no manager ever). Rather they’re comparing what we’re giving them to their personal experience and the expectations they have for interacting with technology outside-of-work.

Our average candidate, meanwhile, wonders “If I can apply for a mortgage with one click why in the hell can’t I apply for this damn job with one click?”

What do our system users want?

They want simple sign on, ease of use, instant upgrades and the ability to self-solve. They want to reset their own password and recover their own user ID and sign-in. They want, when they click on an embedded “how to video” link, to be able to watch the training video apparently embedded within.

Our fellow HR users (you know – the people on your HR team?) want access to report writing capabilities, our managers want access to the full manager self-service functionality, and our applicants want to be able to change or update their log-in information without having to track down a phone number in order to place a call (a phone call!) to the HR Department. (note: you may scoff; you mean to tell me HR teams buy these solutions and then keep these basic features turned-off? Yes; that’s exactly what I’m telling you).

Think about it…if you bought a new iPhone7 would you be satisfied with something sort-of easy to use? Somewhat useful? With partial functionality?

I didn’t think so. That’s the headphone jack of HR.

Time for an Upgrade – the HR Technology Experience
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