As we reflect on the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic (and those we continue to learn), a common theme across industries is that many organizations are underinvesting in their HR and Payroll Technology portfolios. As a result, organization leaders discovered that their businesses were not fully prepared to support a shift to a more flexible, remote and agile world of work. Without the right enabling technologies, it’s challenging to create an environment where both in-office and remote workers can collaborate seamlessly and achieve high levels of self-sufficiency, engagement and productivity. This, in turn, has a direct impact on the ability to attract and retain the best employees.
If you’re facing these challenges, it may be time to refresh your HR Technology roadmap. An HR Technology roadmap is a detailed plan of action that defines a desired future state and spells out how your organization will get there.
The need for a formal plan has never been greater, as the HR function is under tremendous pressure today. HR leaders face high expectations from a multitude of different stakeholders, including:
- Boards of directors expect HR to develop highly effective talent management and total rewards practices that balance the needs to drive business performance and promote a diverse workforce. Increasingly, these mission-critical programs require sophisticated technology, much of it underpinned by artificial intelligence and machine learning.
- CEOs and CFOs are focused on limiting their overhead cost. As a result, they often demand that functions like HR and payroll maintain lean staffing levels, so automation becomes a critical lever.
- Senior business leaders require on-demand access to rich reports and analytics about their talent, in order to give them the insights they need to make strategic workforce decisions. These analytics are not merely backward looking – increasingly they need to be predictive as well.
- Line managers are asking for a cohesive, transparent and integrated transactional platform that supports their ability to manage team members day-to-day with minimal effort, so they can focus on running the business.
- Employees and job applicants expect a highly personalized, device-agnostic and consumer-grade digital experience with robust features to help them to grow and manage their career journey.
- HR and payroll professionals must provide quality service to their internal customers, while maintaining high levels of data integrity and compliance. They need access to a powerful suite of online tools to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
- Partners in information technology and finance rely on real-time data feeds from HR in order to operate a number of core enterprise systems.
- Privacy officers and internal auditors are required to ensure HR data management practices comply with regulations, such as SOX and GDPR.
- Information security officers need to protect sensitive HR data by confirming compliance with enterprise encryption and authentication standards.
It goes without saying that this is a tall order. Few organizations are well positioned to meet all of these expectations. Many find themselves with a portfolio of HR and Payroll applications that have evolved organically over a number of years. You may have had a hand in selecting some of the pieces while others may have been inherited from predecessors, some of whom are no longer with the organization. These solutions likely have varying degrees of customization and may not be fully integrated with one another. Typically, there are a handful of key feature gaps, as well as feature overlaps between systems. Some of these systems may not be running on the latest release, and a few may still be on-premise. Navigating between systems can be confusing and cumbersome for end users. Finding up-to-date and relevant HR content, such as policy documentation, can be a struggle. Stitching data together in order to produce consolidated, actionable reports is often very labor intensive and time consuming.
Questions to Consider
Sound familiar? Then it’s time to take stock of where you are in terms of your HR technology landscape. What’s working well and what’s not? What stakeholder expectations are you meeting, and where are you falling short? How well are you aligned to support the overall HR vision and strategy? What’s the gap between where you are today and what is considered state of the art? Which of your current technology vendors do you consider to be strong partners, and which are weak links? What other enterprise solutions do you need to integrate with more tightly?
Taking Action with Answers
After you collect this information, you need to decide what future state architecture makes the most sense for your organization. Do you adopt a best-of-breed approach, or do you prefer the simplicity of a “one-stop-shop?” Do you buy software off-the-shelf, or should you build some of the pieces yourself? You likely can’t answer these questions without assessing your internal capabilities and exploring what is available in the marketplace. You’ll need to conduct this due diligence in a very objective, structured way. Failure to do so will make it difficult to compare your options.
Developing your Roadmap
Once you’ve settled on a high-level future state direction, you have the beginnings of a roadmap. You then need to drill into enough detail that you can plan the work activity in a thoughtful way and estimate the resources required over the course of the next several years. Depending on the level of investment required, you may need to write a business case to justify the spending.
The world is not static, so your HR Technology roadmap shouldn’t be either. You’ll want to update it annually to ensure it keeps pace with evolving business needs. Refreshing your HR Technology roadmap can be a lot of work, but the benefits to your organization should far outweigh the cost. It is often unlikely you can make the best HR Technology decisions for your organization without a roadmap to guide you.
Don’t know where to start? We can help. Our team has decades of experience helping organizations of all sizes build their technology roadmaps. Talk to one of our experts by contacting us today.