No Image Available

Peter Grant



Read more about Peter Grant

Technology alone moves no mountains – HR must understand this


Building a boat without a bottom

In the past, enterprises have been guilty of simply trying to buy performance increases. One of the biggest money-sinks in this vein has been software, with decision makers often at fault for pumping money into expensive products without doing the correct research or installing the right infrastructure around it. Unsurprisingly, these unplanned forays have regularly failed, leaving many people in management uncertain and unsure about the value of technology when it comes to improving performance across a business.

Luckily though, there has been a gradual change in how people view software in this regard. Management figures have begun to realise that not all the blame can be laid at technology’s door. In many ways, software is like motivation, installing and instilling it will not succeed with a one-size-fits-all approach, it needs to be specifically tailored for the task and person at hand.

A stone without a sculptor stays a stone

The one glaring thing that is usually found to be missing from such failed policies is the human element, something that is required to make the application of technology successful. This vision is reflected in a recent report from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). The research found that in 2014, CEOs are set to adopt a “worker-centric” approach in order to maximise future growth. Technology has a vital role to play in this, as it is able to allow managers to interact with their workforce in a more personal and intuitive manner.

By taking this trend as a base-line for growth, it becomes clear that technology should not be exempt from this office revolution. This means that for the introduction of software into the workplace to be a success, it needs to fall under the same rules as any other office innovation. Although this overall plan of action makes sense broadly, implementing this against what is actually occurring in offices is a different challenge.

Each brush’s bristles move differently

Some of the biggest new technology trends requiring the focus of management are the rise of cloud computing and the proliferation of mobile devices. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is rapidly changing how and where employees work and has the potential to totally transform businesses.

This is down to the increasing power that BYOD delivers to the worker, giving the individual far more control over their work life. The difficulty here for management is how they get the best results from employees. With the rise of social media, which empowers employees and gives them their own voice, workers are increasingly less willing to work in ways they don’t feel suit them. This rise in individualism in the office raises some tough questions for management, regarding how they deal with it.

Solely implementing software will no longer make the required difference. This tactic was used in the old-world, in which no consideration was given to the end user who actually had to operate it. This resulted in low user adoption rates and poor returns for businesses.

In the new world, driven by cloud computing, social collaboration and gamification, this is changing. Software now must engage and motivate users in order to drive productive behaviours, allowing them to achieve their highest potential. This still isn’t enough though, software must constantly grow and morph with the users, making sure they are continually engaged and are developing at a pace that suits each individual. This way, improvements can be constantly reinforced and truly embedded within an organisation over time, as opposed to the short-term improvement spikes that quickly tail away, something regularly seen in the old-world approach.

Each canvas needs customising

For any technology to tap into the latent potential of employees across the organisation and deliver long term improvements, more is needed than a blanket approach. Instead, the software must be delivered as a managed service. Simply, this means that there needs to be an element of ongoing human control.

Although technology can give employees the tools to innovate, drive creativity and improve working habits, all this is worthless without someone behind it continually tailoring the experience, driving increased performance and creating the desire for users to remain engaged and follow best practices. This personal touch will make all the difference, allowing management to deal with staff in an intuitive and flexible manner.

With this in mind, for software to be successful in a business requires management to use it as an enabler, rather than the be-all-and-end-all. Implementing isn’t a one-step process in which it’s installed, improves every aspect of the company and solves every problem. Instead it should be looked upon as a tool that should be customised & nurtured in order to improve a business. By itself, technology is a tool, but in the right hands, it can move mountains.


Get the latest from HRZone.

Subscribe to expert insights on how to create a better workplace for both your business and its people.


Thank you.