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HR Relationships and Their Importance in Technological Change

By Daniel Fraser, HR Business Partner, Navitas

Daniel Fraser, HR Business Partner, Navitas

As technology continues to change and improve, business relationships remain key for HR practitioners.

In my first office job, while at University, I used to spend much of my time physically filing mountains of employee documents. Large companies had moved to electronic data management but there were still countless companies ‘living in the olden days.’ Many years later and I would be surprised if any medium to large businesses still store files physically, given the systems and server speeds now available. Technology has changed employee data management over the years but to successfully embed any system, it is still critical HR has the business relationships to support change.

On face-value, the purpose of any new HR technology is to create efficiency, ease of use, and overall provide greater value to the business. Unfortunately, managers at times perceive this as another ‘HR conspiracy’ which can create further challenges to the usual setbacks and teething problems commonly seen in the implementation of a new system. Therefore, good business relationships and trust in HR partners will always be critical no matter how advanced technology becomes. At least until artificial intelligence takes over! Here are three suggestions I would give to HR practitioners tasked with partnering with a business to implement a new technology above and beyond integrity of the data, enabling confidentiality and ensuring a good return on investment.

"Technology will continue to amaze us and make our lives easier but, only through leveraging our relationships can we truly succeed in its optimisation"

Expect Push Back

Just like every airplane has a crying baby, most companies will have a change-averse long serving manager in the business. Being aware of this will allow you to have a more effective change management plan and communication strategy. Knowing the ‘why’ in relation to the implementation is important but it generally will not be enough against some ‘change inhibitors.’ Luckily, there will also be ‘change advocates’ within the management group and it is important to identify them early to leverage their relationships with the ‘change inhibitors.’

Listen To Feedback and Investigate Solutions

Once the senior level of the business is onboard with the new technology, you might believe you have the required leverage to implement. For a more effective implementation though, you need to get user feedback and demonstrate a real willingness to improve. Showing a genuine interest in their concerns and searching for solutions will provide a more effective outcome and enhance your relationship within the business. Once the project reaches its goals, hosting a ‘retrospective’ or lessons-learnt session with the key stakeholders will also ensure an even better rollout for future changes.

Share the Success Stories

Once the new system has been successfully implemented, it is important to share and celebrate the achievement. This success should align to the original intent and purpose of the technology but now with internal real-world examples. If some users remain sceptical, these success stories can be powerful in helping them embrace the new systems available to them.

Technology will continue to amaze us and make our lives easier but, only through leveraging our relationships can we truly succeed in its optimisation. Always keep in mind that HR system implementation is only as good as the HR business relationship it is supporting.

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