Employers need a ‘one-stop-shop’ for HR technology

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There isn’t enough integration in technology — and it’s a recurring pain point for HR teams.

This is a key focus for Michael McGowan, who leads consulting firm BPI group’s leadership and talent practice and argues employers have too many technologies for their HR processes and not enough of these tools are speaking to each other.

“Something that continues to come up in my work is the importance of one-stop shop for the integration of technology,” he says. “So many companies have different technologies for different HR processes now — learning management, succession, recruiting. The reality is, all of these different HR processes need to be aligned and integrated.”

See also: HR tech disconnect: Are there too many digital tools?

A recent survey from Reward Gateway of more than 500 HR professionals found that a fifth of companies use 10 or more different systems and applications at work, while roughly 60% are using more than five systems everyday. HR pros do want more integration and about 87% of respondents say that having tools that integrate into existing systems is key, Reward Gateway found.

But aligning all of these tools may be easier said than done, McGowan says. “HR people struggle because they’re using different systems [and] different vendors with different capabilities. It’s very difficult to align them or integrate them,” he says.

Dan Staley, global HR technology leader at PwC, advises HR teams to pick tools that already have integrations built into them. Finding HCM systems that consolidate processes like payroll and benefits in one platform, for instance, can help reduce some of these challenges.

“What organizations can do is look at their HR tech portfolio and say, ‘What are all of the applications that we use when we look at what our core HR does, and is there a vendor that can accommodate 70% to 80% of the needs that we have?’” Staley says. “There are some large HR tech vendors that have 20 or 30 different modules within an HCM system.”

See also: HR, benefits tech finds a home in the cloud

Not enough integration is just one of the challenges HR leaders face. Because HR teams aren’t technology experts, it also can be difficult for them to sort through vendors and pick ones that are a good fit for their company in the first place. They also may face budget constraints that restrict them from using larger, more expensive vendors.

“They’re not experts in technology,” he says. “There’s room for improvement [and] there’s room for education.”

HR teams should also be careful not to rely too heavily on digital tools, he says. It’s often a balancing act between assessing company culture and looking for tools that can enhance it. It’s also important to look for tools that are easy for employees to learn and manage on their own. Just because something uses AI or machine learning, doesn’t always mean it’s going to be useful.

“The technology can’t be the end-all be-all,” he says. “That’s not going to be the cure for what you’re going to do, it depends on culture, behaviors and technology.”

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