HR Software: The Ultimate Balancing Act
HR leaders have the toughest job when it comes to buying software, here’s why.
Half the job is compliance so you want a fixed product that ensures important stuff like payroll, leave and contracts all get managed in accordance with the right standards. The user is you (HR) and it’s a bit like accountants buying accounting software.
Employees as Users: The Shift from Tick-the-Box
The other half of the job is employee-facing stuff like onboarding, performance, development etc. The user here is employees. This used to be treated like compliance and employees would be told to fill out the forms or face the consequences. This gave rise to a low-value ‘tick-the-box’ approach to HR processes.
That doesn’t work anymore, today it’s critical to find software that employees WANT to use because we need to realise the true value from these employee-facing HR processes (for the benefit of employees and the business).
Why Picking Software for Everyone Isn't a Walk in the Park
Now, HR has the challenge of picking software on behalf of everyone…. every single person in the company!
It’s even harder than a department manager picking software for their department, like a CRM for sales or bug tracking for engineering, because the department manager has a hierarchical advantage that HR doesn’t have.
And another layer just to make it even harder! Most employees will be dipping in and out of HR software on an infrequent basis compared to their role-based software, so it takes much longer to benefit from the power of habit and familiarity.
Even with a collaborative procurement process, there are always going to be nuanced ways of working that only come out when the software lands in the hands of employees, this can literally derail the implementation for an entire department if the software can’t flex.
Rigidity vs. Flexibility: What Modern HR Needs
With employee-facing software, the last thing you want is a rigid way of doing things. Flexibility and experience should be at the core in order to cater for personalised experiences, unforeseen requirements, modern org structures and different ways of working.
And recognising the infrequency of many HR processes, it is not enough to simply put tools and resources in front of employees - they need to be packaged into a meaningful and relevant experience that guides each employee step by step through their journeys.
In 2016, we launched the first version of Crewmojo. It was a set way of doing performance based on the latest best practices, but every time we signed up a new customer, they wanted something slightly different.
Turns out there are big reasons why productised performance solutions don’t work:
- HR best practices and current thinking change over time, and often quickly.
- The focus of HR practices change unexpectedly to meet market conditions eg. retention for the great resignation - quick shift to performance in a tightening market.
- Every company is different and has their own unique culture and ways of working, that works for them.
- Introducing new or updated HR practices takes time for employees and managers to build the skills in those practices, and software needs to meet them where they are at.
We chose to embrace the differences in our customers. From government departments with formula-based ratings to NFP’s with no ratings and everything in between, customisation is at the core of our platform.
The Big Mistake: Don't Let Software Dictate Your Process
We believe it is only possible to achieve an exceptional employee experience (and performance) when HR processes are designed from within the organisation and the software is chosen to support, enable and scale these processes. It’s a mistake to choose software first with an expectation that employees will comply with processes dictated by the vendor.