If you’re part of a People and Culture (or HR, for the traditionalists!) team that is about to embark down the road of implementing a suite of HR technology and can’t answer that question, then now is the time to quickly revisit it. Before it all goes horribly wrong.

How often do organisations start with the solution first, and then never really work their way back to why the solution is needed in the first place? Or if they have done so, the message has never really permeated beyond the confines of the People and Culture (P&C) team? And then we wonder why the project never really got any traction in the business.

P&C teams exist to support and enable delivery of an organisation’s vision, via the business strategy. Now if achieving a business strategy were easy, we would all be in business running our own companies and making mega-dollars.

So the key problems that P&C are continually working to address are all business strategy related:

  • How do we attract and acquire top talent for key roles in our organisation in a highly competitive labour market?
  • How can we better identify, manage and retain our top talent (of whom we are losing too many)?
  • How can we enable our people to perform at their best and continually improve performance?
  • How can we ensure we have the required critical capabilities across the organisation now and in the future?
  • How can we help our organisation to be more agile and adaptive to the rapidly changing business environment?
  • How do we get the best value/business outcomes for our talent budget?

Now, read those focus areas above again and add the words “to enable delivery of our business strategy” each time. After all, an organisation’s people and culture (note the small p and small c) are the most critical factors in delivering on a business strategy.

So then, what gets in the way of Executive buy-in and support for investing in HR Technology? 

Well firstly, P&C are too often talking about the solution without reference to the problem. If people aren’t aware of the problems that the organisation is trying to address they will likely have less buy in to the proposed solution. 

Secondly, we need to talk less about the system itself and more about how it will benefit our people, leaders and help the organisation succeed (i.e. deliver on the business strategy). Let’s start with the why and then move to the how and what.

And in a related point, it’s not about the technology! Technology is the means not the end. Technology can (but not always) enable those fundamentals of People and Culture to be done better, faster, and cheaper. Sure, many of us find the tech part of HR Tech cool, but just as many may find it alienating – many senior execs included!

When it comes to People and Culture and IT, many executives may be cautious and/or hesitant in committing to projects that span these two often-uncomfortable partners in HR Tech.  

So how do we make the case?

Link to Strategy

First and foremost P&C needs to state the case in terms of the adoption of HR Tech turbo-charging delivery of the business strategy and solving or improving related business problems. P&C often gets too hung up in scratching their heads at providing hard evidence about the impact such initiatives will have. Not everything is quantifiable in dollar terms. Some of the impact is qualitative. P&C need to describe these in a compelling way.

Can I get an E.G?

Provide specific examples of how other companies have used HR Tech to drive business performance. If these examples are from your industry then so much the better as they will resonate more strongly with your Executive Team.

Say Yes to the Tech

Make it easy for the organisation to say yes to HR Tech. Start with a trial (or better still, call it an experiment) in a small but willing area of the organisation and then collect the data needed to demonstrate business impact. 

The HR Tech journey is an exciting and important one for many organisations. But let’s make sure we are really clear on the problem we are trying to solve before pushing a solution.

Note: This post was originally published on the HR Tech Fest blog.