The Two-Faced Challenge of HR Software Selection

Mark Lewis
October 6, 2023

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.

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).

Now, HR has the challenge of picking software on behalf of everyone…. every single person in the company!

The Hierarchical Disadvantage: Why HR's Job is Even Tougher

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.

The Power of Habit: Why Infrequent Use Makes Selection Harder

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.

Hidden Pitfalls: When Employee Input Reveals Software Shortcomings

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.

Crafting Meaningful Journeys: The Role of Experience Design in HR Tools

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.

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