Balancing Software and the Human Element

As of today we cannot… and I repeat, CANNOT solve any HR or Recruiting challenge using only software. There I said it! While I love technology I also know that full tech adoption will never be truly achieved without a focus on people. You can’t simply ask 100 people to download a mobile app and expect them fully adopt the app within, say 2 weeks. It’s impossible.

Let’s look at a scenario. The first scenario is a big HR tech company that has several products within their suite. This vendor sells to companies with more than 250 employees, and new customers are typically replacing an existing platform with theirs. The process by which this new customer implements the new software is more important than the software itself. Think about it. You’re the buyer and you sign the vendor agreement, and quickly start the implementation process but there’s nobody to help you on the vendor side. You do the best you can but you have nobody in your corner who is an expert in all facets of the new software to guide you, from both technical and people perspectives. Change sucks. People hate it. While ensuring the technical pieces of a software platform works the way it’s supposed to work, it’s more important to ensure that end-users are using it. Great software is shitty software when nobody is using it, every single time.

Let’s take it one step further. Let’s say initial implementation of the new software was seamless. You had a vendor expert on your side to guide you through every step of the way, including helping with people change management. The implementation is now finished and the project implementation lead has completed their work. You start using the software, and users start to have questions. Now what? Remember that great software becomes shitty software when nobody’s using it, right.

The point that I am trying to make here is that although software is getting better and better, we will never EVER replace the important human element when it comes to technology adoption. Some of you may be thinking, “well… this artificial intelligence thing is starting to catch on now”. Yes that is true, but A.I. will never fully replace people when it comes to adoption. A.I. will help us make better business decisions through data analytics, but it’s not meant to help with technology adoption. It never will.

I firmly believe that integrating software into all facets of HR is absolutely critical to success. I also firmly believe that to ensure successful adoption you will always need people. If you think you can just “build it and they will come” you will be disappointed every single time. I can’t tell you how many times during my career where I came into a situation where a piece of software was not being fully utilized. It wasn’t only because the software was crappy, but more cases than not, companies completely ignored the people element. To adopt anything in life you need to learn something new, and you need to practice it so it becomes part of your routine. The same thing goes for software in your work. You need to learn it, understand it and embed it into what you do. It may take time to get to a place where you feel comfortable with it, but when you do, you will absolutely say, “this software works and it rocks”. I guarantee it.

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