Walking onto the HR Tech expo hall floor is a confusing and intimidating experience for most HR technology buyers. When the doors to the expo hall opened, there was a lot to see: big booths, shiny new products, and many, many disparate technology pieces. As a buyer, it's overwhelming: lots of vendors and products, some whose technology overlap, all using the same industry buzzwords to tell completely different stories.
Add in the fact that all of these product options (recruiting technology, wellness programs, benefits solutions, performance management, etc.) are all an intertwined web, without any clear categorization or order, and the result is a lot of confused buyers.
At HR Tech, I listened to ideas and advice from analysts and experts in our industry.
Elaine Orler, president of Talent Function, gave a helpful summary of the cycle of HR technology adoption that occurs when companies shop for and implement new tools in her session, “The Recruiting Technology State of the Union.” She talked about four different approaches to improving recruiting performance: Adoption, Evolution, Experimentation, and Explosion. Elaine highlighted the fact that many organizations don't honestly assess where they fall in that cycle. Many organizations are in one of the early stages of the HR technology adoption cycle, just adopting or iterating current technology. Many organizations have some groups pushing the "explosion" stage when they need to reach out for brand-new tools, while others are focused on adoption.
I heard similar analysis from China Gorman, CEO of Great Place to Work who talked about understanding the adoption lifecycle of HR technology. I also had a great chat with Madeline Laurano, Research Director, Human Capital Management at Aberdeen Group about how to effectively categorize recruiting technology to make it easier to understand, invest, purchase, deploy and ultimately improve recruiting performance.
The message is clear: As a buyer of HR technology, the only way to leave a conference like HR Tech (or any buying experience) feeling confident is to prepare.
2 Questions Every Buyer Should Ask Before Shopping for HR Technology
1. Who are we as a company?
What are the pieces of technology that we currently have? What's working? Where are we in the adoption cycle? Are we willing to take a risk and experiment?
It's important to know where your company stands in order to be able to answer the second question,
2. Which systems and processes do we want to keep, and which do we want to leave behind?
It's easy to latch on to all of the shiny new products that catch your eye. But, no technology is going to make a lasting, effective impact on your organization if it doesn't fit into your overall strategy and culture. Don't try to push your company into the "explosion" category when what you really need to focus on is adopting and effectively using fundamental tools. One thing I've learned from my tech career is that what's hot one year is just as likely to be extinct as it is to be successful the following year.
Instead of buying disparate new technology pieces, think about your integrated technology strategy: what you already have, what you could be using more efficiently, and key areas where you need a solution that will work with all of your other existing tools. Not only is this important to improve adoption, but also to effectively measure your performance.
It's the same way you'd search for the perfect job candidate: you'd decide what your company needs and how that person would fit in before you started interviewing anyone. Applying these processes when you look for HR technology will help you find lasting, integrated, successful solutions.
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