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Roundtable Insights

Unlocking the full potential of HR technology to adapt to the new normal

How can you successfully give the right information, to the right user, in the right format, at the point of need?

Photo by @alenaP via Twenty20

Unleash Your HR Tech HR leaders recently met virtually for a closed-door roundtable to discuss best practices of successfully driving organizational change through providing real-time, contextual help and experiential learning opportunities for employees.

  • Employees need to be empowered with real-time guidance and contextual help, to make the most out of HR technology applications.
  • Remote work poses a significant challenge to HR when it comes to recruitment, onboarding, employee engagement, and productivity.
  • Lack of know-how and on-demand support can cause infrequent usage of applications, leading to poor engagement and adoption.

The role of HR technology is more important than ever before. However, lack of know-how and on-demand support can cause infrequent usage of applications, leading to poor employee engagement, performance and productivity. Employees need to be empowered with real-time guidance and contextual help, to make the most out of HR technology applications.

UNLEASH Editor, Yessi Bello Perez moderated our recent roundtable session which highlighted how our group of HR leader participants have needed to adapt and react over the last year and what they believe the upcoming challenges for them will be and how they might look to address these.

Topline Pains:

  • Remote onboarding and recruiting potentially leave workers feeling disengaged, unsupported, and isolated from the true company culture and how they fit into this.
  • Reorganizational change projects and the upheaval of digital transformation projects, and new tech implementation can cause disruption and result in resistance to engage and adapt to the new ways of working.
  • Some of the HR leaders noted that by the time they had worked out what the workforce needs to learn and the skills they need to develop, they’ll have to start from scratch because of the rate of change versus the time it takes to go through this process of understanding the skills-gaps and implementing a plan to close this.
  • Self-paced learning in the flow of work isn’t widespread and something that still needs work in many organizations, as many still rely on formal modes of learning.

Empowering Your Employees Through Experiential Learning and Contextual Help

Most HR leaders, specifically those in the L&D-leaning functions, are familiar with the 70:20:10 model. As a refresher, the 10 stands for the 10% of learning that comes from formal situations like workshops, a course, or classroom-led training. The 20 represents the 20% of learning that comes from coaching or mentor-led learning. The 70: the 70% of learning that actually comes from our real-world experiences – experiential learning.

One of our roundtable hosts noted that many organizations centre their L&D programs on conventional methods of learning like classroom training sessions or webinar training sessions. “But in reality, what happens, is we leave the classroom and roughly 80% of the knowledge we’ve just learned, leaves us. And that’s just a human problem. Knowledge retention is a human thing.”

So from the roundtable, what did our HR leaders suggest as a solution to support the 70% of experiential learning for the employees within their organization to better understand new technologies and thus adopt them and engage with them more successfully?

Give the right information, to the right user, in the right format, at the point of need.

One of our senior HR leaders noted that they had already begun a digital transformation program before the pandemic and so they ran most of their global pieces of training digitally. However, they still had a summit that was held face-to-face. So, when the pandemic hit they weren’t sure whether to stop the summit altogether or what. Instead, they decided to shift their entire learning proposition and created an effective and inspiring virtual environment through a learning transfer platform where they create learning journeys through a honed framework. So rather than employees needing to reach out for help, or having to wait for prescribed learning moments – sitting down to classroom training, employees are experiencing their training in the flow of work.

The overarching takeaway from the discussion was the need to provide employees with contextual help and information at the point of need. And point-of-need help isn’t just valuable to the successful uptake of newly implemented technologies and processes, it’s also an expectation from our employees nowadays, living in a Google-Uber mobile-first world.

User-Adoption of Tech as a Direct Enabler of Business Value

One of our roundtable hosts told the group that the number of people using technology correctly is less than 20%, and that this number can be as low as 15%. And the reason for this is resistance to change.

Why is this a problem for HR leaders though?

Everyone has unique cases and on the ground realities of gaps between employees not able to use your systems, either because they are using them incorrectly, or just haven’t really tried to use them, because they think their current way of doing things is good enough.

HR leaders have procured certain technologies because of the business case associated with them and expect to be able to present ROI on these technologies. But if users don’t use it, or are using them incorrectly, then you don’t get the true value out of them, making it a must-solve problem for HR leaders.

One of our senior HR leaders told the group that they had experienced a budgetary freeze during the pandemic. As a consequence, if they wanted to implement any new learning and development initiatives, they had to think very carefully about the business results associated which they hadn’t really had to do (at least not to the same extent) before. Therefore, this particular HR leader needed to find the KPIs and whether those were really responding to the business needs and if the L&D initiatives would actually benefit the organization enough. Subsequently, they had to reduce their catalog from more than 100 L&D activities to less than 20. However, those 20 or so are now having a really tangible business impact.

These more stringent economic and business environments we are living through weigh heavily on the need for HR leaders to demonstrate ‘bang for their buck’ with the technologies that they are implementing. They need to be able to demonstrate the why and how this will be achieved and therefore the uptake of these initiatives is a huge factor for establishing the ROI.

Personalization vs. Individualization of Tech

Many senior HR leaders have control across different geographies, different business units, and far-reaching responsibilities. This presents challenges of providing information and imparting learning to employees that are applicable to their unique context and offering a level of personalization that makes learning relatable and engaging at the individual level. Equally, every organization has its own styles, structures, and processes, which in turn presents challenges of offering a company-level personalization.

Technology can certainly be an enabler for both personalization and individualization.

One of our senior HR leader participants noted that one of the biggest challenges they have is ensuring that the key capabilities they believe they need in the future, are pushed in an automated way towards their employees so that they can stay relevant to the organization for themselves, but also for the market because they know they won’t be able to keep all of these employees on board for the next couple of years. This shows a strategy for personalization by understanding where people are spread across different areas and different units – that they are communicating something relevant for them, but also individualization by showing they care about their employees’ futures and their career as a whole, not just their value in the here and now.

The crucial insight that our roundtable discussion highlighted was the business benefits of delivering personalized, in-the-moment learning journeys to employees where delivering contextual help and real-time guidance can really improve adoption of important technologies.

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