Bridging the Gap between HR Leaders and Technology Solution Providers

I recently appeared on the HR Latte radio show with my CEO, Mike Cooke.  We spent time talking with host Rayanne Thorne about the human resources industry and HR technology.  One of the questions centered around the perceived disconnect between HR solution providers and the HR leaders and teams that purchase their solutions.

It is no surprise that many HR professionals wish they were well-versed in the HR technology arena. In fact, I meet more leaders each month who are spending personal time investing in educating themselves on technology, specifically around planning, selection and implementation, and adoption of the technology solutions.

In my recent studies on HR technology systems, respondents stated overwhelmingly that they were not fully prepared to take on the implementation process.  Only 15% of respondents stated that they felt fully prepared to handle the implementation of the core HR solution.  In contrast, when asking specifically about Talent Management solutions, 30% of respondents said they were fully prepared for the implementation process. This tells me that there is a big opportunity for HR solution providers to offer more support from the time the contract is signed until the solution goes live.

As a former HR leader who purchased and implemented technologies, I believe there is another way that HR solution providers can help bridge the gap. As an analyst, I see the direct value that each vendor has to actually help HR run the people side of the business more efficiently and effectively and also further align the business processes with the desired outcomes that leadership desires.  A disconnect is how providers choose to sell to the HR industry.

While there are many that are getting this right, there are just as many who hire sales professionals who are either not knowledgeable about the solution, who overpromise what the solutions can do, and who overpromise on how quickly the solution can be delivered and running.

Solution providers need to remind their sales teams that the HR leaders approach technology from this view:


HR leaders look first to find solutions to those issues that directly affect the business at the time, such as:

  • Ensuring the ability to track people-related data
  • Hiring candidates quickly and into appropriate positions
  • Paying employees properly and ensuring that benefits are delivered in an accurate manner.

If the organization has that type of solution in place, they move to the next layer of those items that are considered high priority.

High-priority items will vary from company to company.  This could range from performance management solutions, rewards and recognition, and collaboration tools.  These types of solutions could also be considered nice to have, depending on the mission of the organization and how it ranks the priority against business goals.

I don’t know that most companies ever get to the ideal state. As HR, technology and business in general continue to grow and change at a rapid pace, we’ll continue to monitor the offerings and the business climate to question and recommend solutions that can help specific companies meeting their business imperatives.

Trish McFarlane, Vice President of Human Resources Practice and Principal Analyst,
Brandon Hall Group

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