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How HR Tech teams can respond to market swings with agility

April 23, 2020

As we are being tossed around by a crisis that’s changing the world in many waysHR and talent teams are under enormous pressure and are doing their best to respond and HR Tech teams are also under huge level of extra pressure.   

Over the past weeks and months (although it feels like years), HR Tech teams have had to make very fast changes – news and policy changes on a daily basistheir CHRO’s standing front and center in the crisismassive uptick in the scale of the remote workforcelayoffs and furloughs at unprecedented speedmajor changes to if and how recruiting happensand all the system changes and needed to support remote work.  For a start. 

HR Tech teams have always dealt with change, and were adapting to range of large emerging trends as this crisis struck, but some of them are better equipped to respond with agility. Mostly that’s about how you’ve built and designed your HR Tech Stack, and your data, connectivity and infrastructure. 

How does your HR Tech Stack stack up for rapid change?  If you’re not giving 2 thumbs up and a huge grin right now, you’re not alone.  Ditto if you have very little idea how you stack up.  SO…here’s how you can diagnose a good stack for rapid adaptation: 

  1. Integrations are easy, and they are controlled by you, not the vendors.  How many times have you wanted to use or at least try out a new tech only to discover it doesn’t integrate to the rest of your systems?  Or that there are just a few predefined and completely inflexible integrations you can do that don’t cover what you need?  Ugh.  This is the single most important quality of an A+ HR Tech Stack…that you can integrate absolutely anything to everything else however you need to.  New chatbot?  Survey tool?  AI?  Virtual interviewing tool?  It really shouldn’t matter what it is, you should be able to plug it in – just as you should be able to unplug one, and not lose any data for doing so.
  2. All of your data is available to you whenever and however you want it.   WHY is your data still in silos?  WHY can’t you access absolutely everything whenever you need it?  It’s most likely driven by a lack of integration power (see #1), but also you might be using a data warehouse and no data lake.  Increasingly decisions are made using wider ranging data, and unstructured data, and in crises likely also obscure data.  How much more easily could you answer the questions your organization needs answered if it was all together and constantly kept in good shape? 
  3. Sandboxing and testing is easy.  Weirdly, not all vendors give you stage, test and/or sandbox environments.  Or if they do, it’s really hard to get access to all of your data in them.   
  4. You can mix and match “HR Tech” with other tech:  I know that solutions like Zapier let you connect all kinds of tech together, whether HR or not…but they are frighteningly limited.  You can choose a few predefined workflows only.  NOT ok…your stack should support adding anything.  And that’s going to be especially true now we have all those remote working tools we need to understand if we want to analyze our workforce well. 
  5. You have full security and privacy control.  Including the privacy of your employees, obviously. 
  6. No black boxes:  There should be no need for apps to hide data or calculations from you.  All good stacks see what’s in there, what’s happening, and what’s moving between systems.  Of course AI is a big area for digital transparency, but it’s not the only one.  You need a fully transparent HR Tech Stack (or ecosystem, if you like). 
  7. You can measure how well any part of your stack is performing.  Data movements between systems, true success measured by outcomes in other systems, user engagement combinations, even user uptake.  You should have clear visibility across the entire stack, because your business processes and outcomes happen across all the systems.  Ideally you can see a visualization, but at the very least you have access to analytics across the stack.

And there are surely more!  What did I miss?

You probably don’t have that level of flexibility and control, but there should be at least a few aspects of that list that you need.  In the spirit of making lemonade, you can use the hurdles you faced helping your organization respond to this crisis as your business case for increasing your flexibility.  Because how much more effective and valuable will you be when you have a rapidly adaptable HR tech stack? 

Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

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