In a time when the pandemic has cooled spending, organizations are revising processes and implementing new systems to increase efficiency and productivity. They’re investing in HR technology and tools to help plan for a post-COVID future, according to an August 2020 SHRM article.
But even the most solid plans come with potential hurdles. For technology rollouts, securing user buy-in from executives and impacted teams can be tough to overcome.
On last week’s episode of Talent Experience Live, Anisha Patel, Sr. Director of Global Talent Acquisition at Unisys, shared her team’s experience implementing a new talent experience platform—plus, the secrets to cultivating change champions and driving long-term adoption among recruiters.
What challenges did Unisys seek to address by investing in HR technology?
As an IT services company, Unisys constantly seeks top talent to deliver the innovation and outcomes its clients depend on. Patel sought a tool that would provide agility for her team so that recruiters could meet marketplace demands and more efficiently attract top talent.
“In my experience, I’ve learned you have to change as the marketplace changes,” Patel said. “You have to change processes. Branding has to be updated.”
After developing its employer brand, Unisys selected the Phenom Talent Experience Management platform with the following goals in mind:
- Connect the Unisys brand with top talent
- Communicate through targeted messages
- Provide a personalized candidate experience with the career site
- Deliver messages tailored to individual interests
What potential problems threaten successful HR tech implementation?
The short answer? A lot. Despite an organization’s best efforts, issues are bound to present themselves: Disrupted timelines. Frustration among end users. Unforeseen process glitches.
During the show, Patel shared that the key is to select an HR technology partner dedicated to superior customer service. You should also look for one that will listen to your specific needs. From the outset, you should feel confident that your HR tech partner hears your organization’s specific challenges and processes, and uses that information to find the best solution.
Throughout implementation, your HR technology partner should serve as a reliable resource if issues arise.
How can you ensure a true partnership with your HR technology vendor—and that you’re selecting the right solution?
It’s all about communication.
“Be open and honest with the vendor regarding your journey and the problems you need to solve,” Patel said.
In turn, the vendor should provide expert perspective and advice on best practices. Look for transparency regarding the ongoing evolution of the software. In other words, make sure the company is investing in its own product.
And check your gut: If you can’t get excited about the solution offered, then it probably isn’t the right one.
What are best practices for implementing new HR technology?
1. Secure buy-in from executives and all impacted teams.
Executive teams are often bombarded by requests for new technology. To break through the noise— and earn the opportunity for a software demo—Patel advises HR leaders to educate key stakeholders on what problems the tool can solve. Plus, show how the technology will better position the company to deliver on current marketplace demands.
In Patel’s case, she described how the platform could increase talent at the top of the funnel and drive greater efficiency for recruiters.
The takeaway? Show stakeholders how the software can solve problems, make their jobs easier, and drive better outcomes.
2. Identify change champions.
After initial demos, Patel approached team leaders to help identify change champions, who would get peers excited about the new technology.
“People raised [their] hands,” she added.
These on-the-ground recruiters became integral to the rollout’s success by influencing adoption and becoming subject matter experts. They advised on configuration needs and feature selections and helped develop training decks by which to coach other recruiters.
3. Communicate to build engagement.
It’s important to maintain consistent communication with end users leading up to the technology’s launch date. Frequent updates should cover:
- The advantages the new tech will provide
- What to expect in terms of process and timelines
- Challenges that might arise and who can help
“Know that there will be a point where people get frustrated,” Patel said. "Plan for that and how you’ll work through it, keeping in mind that communicating, listening, and understanding is key."
4. Require recruiters to become certified platform users.
"Having all Unisys recruiters become Phenom Certified really boosted [technology] adoption rates," Patel said.
Change champions earned certification first, and then several weeks before launch, recruiters became certified through weekly courses. This strategy prepped recruiters for training and allowed them to get familiar with the platform before using it live.
5. Generate excitement at launch.
Phenom helped Unisys create a customized video, which featured a message from their SVP and CHRO Katie Ebrahimi on the new platform’s role in helping to attract the best talent.
The video, which showcased the tool and its benefits, was posted on the company’s global internet and distributed to its entire team of more than 23,300. Patel’s team kept communication active for two weeks post-launch to maintain high-level engagement.
How has working remotely impacted implementation?
Rolling out new technology in the midst of a pandemic adds an additional layer of complexity, as might be expected.
But Patel was able to have a seamless implementation experience, crediting the strong connection with her technology partner. Despite a lack of in-person contact, constant communication was maintained through phone calls and frequent updates.
“Embrace what’s available,” she said.
How can you maintain enthusiasm for long-term adoption of the technology?
Even after crossing the implementation finish line, you’ll still need to put in effort to maintain enthusiasm among your team. Patel offered these tips to keep excitement alive:
- Challenge the team to keep learning new advantages of the technology.
- Offer ongoing education to help users leverage additional features.
- Take advantage of ongoing training opportunities with your HR tech partner.
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