A first timer at HR Tech Europe, I arrived on day one with anticipation and excitement at the prospect of inspiring talks, peer to peer learning and a multitude of product demos. However, by the end of the day I was torn by a real sense of inspiration, and the feeling that HR is going round in circles.
‘HR is not a department’
The opening keynote from Yves Morieux, Senior Partner & Managing Director of BCG was anything if not inspiring. He called for HR to reinvent itself with the catchy strapline “HR is not a department”. The point? That HR needs to understand the complex dynamics of group culture, going beyond siloed departments and recognising the crucial interactions between people, and the individual sacrifices made for team success.
His call was simple enough – to not live by KPIs and individual performance measures that focus on the self but look to recognise the extraordinary efforts, the critical interactions that occur to achieving shared goals. It’s an inspiring and motivating sentiment, not least for me personally as I believe it’s exactly what OrgVue aspires to help our clients achieve – by understanding their business as a complex (yet understandable) web of people, competencies, processes, objectives and outcomes. He went on describe the role of managers as catalysing this web of people into performing action that would otherwise not occur spontaneously. As a manager, I find that simple thought liberating, and I like its synergy with Agile communities role of the Servant Leader.
The battle with complexity
The inspirational high of the first session was dampened as I wandered the halls of the show, and immersed myself into product demos and case studies. I was left feeling worried. In contrast to Yves’ talk, HR is still struggling to come up to date with and HR technology is failing to help address the needs of HR’s customers. HR is still stuck in its battle with complexity, struggling to solve;
– Complex localisation across international boundaries
– Awkward interactions between compliance, reward and recognition
– Siloed boundaries which fracture the user experience.
There are some who are leading the way and Workday is one – a product developed with a single focus to create a unified employee centric platform. The Workday unified experience between desktop, tablet and mobile is both compelling and inspiring. The message? HR and product vendors must take a singular focus on serving their users – the employees. Adoption is crucial to success because the curse of bad data, and of poor reporting is best addressed by having users access, verify and maintain their data. There has been a strong and recurring theme throughout the presentations – that simplicity is crucial to success. I truly believe that that is right – simplicity is indeed the key, but as many speakers have confessed simplicity sometimes feels very hard.
Here is my message. I have heard from speakers describing implementation plans as long as a decade. This seems to reflect to me a fear of the complexities of bringing together data from multiple siloes, and getting that data to a state of cleanliness fit for purpose on a new, simplified and unified platform. It needn’t be this hard. Tools like OrgVue can be used to dramatically accelerate this consolidation process and through the power of data visualisation and crowd sourced data cleansing. Throughout, engaging with employees with the process so that the pain of migration to adoption is minimised.
See our first three blogs in our HR Tech Europe Series; HR data is beautiful, The HR tech revolution and 4 myths to be overthrown, William Tincup’s 10 lessons for HR vendors