3 Components to a Technology-Enabled HR Strategy

March 8, 2022

In the last few years, employers across the globe have begun to realize what the most forward-thinking companies already did: people are at the heart of the business, and we put their needs on the back burner at our own peril. 

That shift in mindset is part of the reason that so many businesses are now looking to hire HR staff, with job postings for HR-related position volume currently at 614% above the pre-pandemic baseline expected growth. The problem? We can’t make HR professionals fast enough or qualified enough to support that level of demand. 

That’s where HR technology comes in.

With the right blend of tools, employers can leverage technology to augment, support, and enable their HR teams to deliver value to the workforce, candidates, and the business. But it isn’t without its own challenges. Below we have three key elements of this shift that are important to remember: 

  • Democratizing the data
  • Building your own HR tech stack
  • Seeing the bigger picture

Democratizing the Data

Twenty years ago, HR leaders built a base of power in the business by holding on to every scrap of information to cross their desks. They needed to be seen as relevant, valuable supporters of the business. However, as outlined in the introduction above, the majority of companies have moved beyond that mindset, seeing HR as a valuable contributor to organizational priorities and operations. 

But there’s still work to be done. HR now has to go beyond holding information to actually sharing it, creating value through open discussions with stakeholders and other leaders in the business. As the audiogram below indicates, this enables a more strategic approach to HR that impacts both the business and the people at a deeper level.

Building Your Own HR Tech Stack

One of the most common ways HR leaders find a piece of technology is by picking up the phone and calling a friend to find out what they are using. While that’s not a bad way to vet a system’s overall capabilities, the truth is that every company has unique nuances, approaches, and requirements that make it very difficult to copy/paste a technology stack from company A to company B. 

In fact, most companies get hung up in the “suite versus best of breed” debate and struggle to find the right approach for their business. As outlined in the audiogram below, a powerful strategy for combining these two methods can lead to better outcomes than either one by itself.

Seeing the Bigger Picture

If we boil this down to a specific set of principles, many of them align with seeing the bigger picture. When we’re heads down, churning away at our daily tasks, we sometimes forget the importance of stepping back and doing some forward-looking planning. It’s easy to get caught up in the shuffle. 

One of the visuals that experts use to emphasize this is the “riverbank picnic” story. In this scenario, you’re sitting down with a friend to have a picnic next to a quiet, peaceful river. Just as you begin to eat, you hear a child splashing and screaming in the water. You both jump in, pull her out, and get her to safety. You sit down again to eat, and you hear screaming again. Now there are two children in the water! You both plunge in to rescue them and drag them to shore, but before you can sit down again, two more kids come around the curve in the river, splashing and calling for help. You go to jump in the water, but your friend walks away. You say, “Hey, we need to save these kids! Help me!” Your friend nods, “I agree. I’m going upstream to find the person that keeps throwing them in and I’m going to stop them.” 

That story is a version of every HR pro’s daily work. We get caught up in saving people, solving problems, and putting out fires, but how many of those problems wouldn’t have happened if we had put structures in place before they even began? 

The snippets above are some of the key ideas in this post were pulled from a conversation with Jacqueline Kuhn, Executive Vice President of HCM Strategic Consulting Services at HRchitect. The full conversation was aired live during the 2022 HR Summer School: Winter Break event in collaboration with Lighthouse Research and Advisory. To see the rest of this conversation, check out the video at this link

If you’re ready to begin the journey of finding the right HR technology to support your organization’s HR strategy, you can request a complimentary consultation with Jacqueline and the HRchitect team here.