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Jamie Lawrence


Insights Director

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Interview: Eoin Carty, Product Manager, ADP UK

On Wednesday 12th February 2014, ADP UK hosted a webinar, "How to stay connected to your workforce," with Professor Cary Cooper from Lancaster University Management School. View the video recording today and join Cary, alongside ADP UK's Product Director Trevor Townsend, as they discuss the best ways to learn how to align your people with your organisation’s objectives and improve business performance.
When it comes to implementing new HR technology, what do companies do wrong?
Implementing new technology is an extensive process involving various stakeholders and during the project, companies often forget what their initial requirements were. Even though users should be able to take advantage of new IT solutions, accommodating every need may not add any value. We often find that businesses spend excessive amounts of time and energy trying to address non-standard scenarios. Therefore it is crucial to ensure that everyone involved in the implementation process understands what the end goal is. A dedicated project manager, who serves as a bridge between HR, the business, and IT, has an important role in ensuring communication between stakeholders.
Especially with large scale projects, unexpected challenges can often slow down the implementation phase. Therefore it is critical to test the new systems thoroughly before go live so that any necessary changes or upgrades can be made first. At the same time, whilst it is important to plan for the unexpected, companies should be flexible and not let any setbacks derail the entire project.
What advice would you give to businesses struggling with user adoption of new HR technology?
The adoption of any new technology is based around good change management and communication. Keeping key stakeholders informed throughout the process not only helps companies understand the requirements for new technology but also lowers the barriers to employees using these systems. It is important that employees understand the business benefits of the new system, as well as how it can make their own jobs easier. With business critical systems, companies may even want to look into embedding user adoption for HR processes such as performance appraisals, or learning and development programmes.
Once the system has been rolled out, employees should be provided with sufficient training to encourage them to become active users. Even though suppliers usually offer support services, the HR department may want to have a “super user” in the team who is able to provide on-site support, and the internal IT team should also be familiarised with the new software.
Are clients’ expectations of what they expect from their HR technology provider changing? How has the HR technology landscape changed in the last five years?
There is a constant change in the way companies use technology, which naturally affects what they require from HR solution providers. Cloud services have become the norm, as they offer attractive cost benefits compared with maintaining and resourcing technology in-house. Technology providers are also required to be able to offer a full range of solutions that work on multiple platforms across mobile and tablet devices, as well as social platforms.
Digitisation of HR processes is no longer enough, and technology now has to reflect the needs of the HR professional, as well as the employee. Whilst numerous organisations still use a combination of various disconnected systems and aging technologies, solutions have been moving towards integrated platforms. For example, a number of organisations require HR technology to include analytics and social media functionality that provide them with strategic and cultural benefits. Going forward, big data will also play a major role in HR technology. Utilising predictive analytics will enable HR professionals to better anticipate changes in their organisations and provide leadership teams with real strategic insights.
You offer solutions to companies of all sizes. What insight has this given ADP into the types of requirements and concerns that all companies have over HR technology, regardless of size?
The common problem that businesses face, irrespective of size, is choosing a suitable HR system. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and companies often struggle to find the right blend of technology and services that suit their needs. Whilst all companies won’t think they need the full suite of products at the moment of enquiry, it is important to match technology with the organisation’s long-term strategy. As a business grows, its needs for technology will also change, and therefore HR solutions should be adaptable and importantly scalable.
Finding the right HR technology also enables organisations to reduce costs and streamline processes, whilst supporting businesses throughout the employee lifecycle. As the skills shortage and competitive landscape become more apparent, systems should encompass integrated talent management processes that enable organisation to develop top talent.
How can companies get more value from their HR technology solutions?
Poor processes, over-burdened staff and outdated systems can lead to mistakes, delays and employee dissatisfaction. By removing time-consuming tasks and moving to HR solutions that better suit business objectives and employee needs, companies can increase the productivity of the HR function, as well as the productivity of the wider organisation. For example, HR promotes the benefits of collaboration and employee empowerment, delivers effective business process management and compliance with HR legislation. To get the best from HR technology, solutions must be embedded across the business, and employees should be allowed enough time to adopt the new system, as this may mean a change in processes, as well as organisational culture.
What’s next for ADP?
ADP will continue to expand its Human Capital Management offering for companies of all sizes. Latest trends – such as usability, social, mobile, cloud and big data – will be at the heart of our product development. There is a need for features and functionality that will increase the value of our clients’ HR technology, for example document management, semantic search and social networking. In addition, to improve employee engagement and productivity, we are developing new interfaces that will give users an experience to rival one they might enjoy with popular consumer-facing applications – something we feel would be a big step forward for HR technology.
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Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

Read more from Jamie Lawrence

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