Why Do HR Tech Projects Fail and How to Avoid This Fate?

By: SparkUs Team

We’re all witnessing the significant benefits of digitalisation in every industry. HR Tech solutions promise nothing less with streamlined processes, improved user experience, enhanced employee engagement and, of course, lower costs than traditional methods.

As promising as this sounds, in practice, many business leaders seem to think that their HR technology projects are unable to achieve their goals. According to the UNLEASH 2020 HR Tech Adoption Report, 85% of leaders, who have a combined estimated budget of $3bn for HR Tech projects, are not satisfied with their HR Tech projects. 

So, what are the reasons for businesses not being able to leverage HR Technology in the right way- even when the next-gen technology and the enthusiasm for a change in the organisation are present?

Here are the top main causes why digital transformation and tech implementation efforts can fail within an organisation and how you can prevent these mistakes from happening.

1- Relying Only on Technology

Technology is usually considered to be a “quick fix” approach and it’s unrealistic to expect that technology alone will solve all the employee, skills, process and company-culture problems. A KPMG study claims that only 7% of project failure was due to technology itself. According to the same study, the main causes of unsuccessful projects were reported as a failure to define project objectives, poor communications and poor project management, which we will cover later in this article. 

Moreover, the UNLEASH report highlights another organisational mistake: 19% of respondents to the survey reported that they were too focused on technology rather than what the technology was intended to achieve. 

While it is easy to put the blame on technology, more often it is the mindset that causes failure. An HR Tech initiative must be implemented in everyday work and, more importantly, to the overall company culture.  

Since HR is no longer about administrative responsibility, an HR Tech project is much more than an implementation of technology. That’s why HR Tech projects should be considered as a getaway to an overall business transformation where roles, responsibilities and workflows can be redesigned for a more engaged workforce and stronger company culture

2- Poorly Defined Project Vision

One of the most common and perhaps the biggest mistakes is not having a clear project vision in line with the company’s HR strategy. You need to determine what you want to achieve or which problems you want to solve. Try to answer these questions before you start an HR Tech project:

  • Why does your organisation need the support of technology? (e.g: streamlining recruitment processes, increasing employee engagement, providing coaching/mentoring support to more of your employees, building a company culture, etc.)
  • What HR services do you want to provide according to your strategy? 

And here are some questions for you to choose the right vendor in line with your needs:

  • Is there an end-to-end solution that fully supports what you really need or do you need different technologies?
  • Are you going to be able to measure the outcomes and get tangible results? 
  • Is the solution scalable? 
  • Is the level of training and support provided going to match the needs of your organisation?
  • It is equally important that your vendor or technology partner also understands (and even helps you identify) your vision and closely works with you to achieve that vision throughout the project.

    3- Omitting Stakeholders

    The UNLEASH report also reveals that only 11% believed their HR Tech projects improved employee experience as intended.

    An HR Tech project should meet business goals but the workforce and culture goals are equally important. To create true engagement and overall implementation, you need to identify your stakeholders and get them involved in the initial stages. It’s not only about the C-suite table who will invest in the technology. It’s also the workforce that will use and benefit from it. 

    This brings us to another important topic: Don’t neglect the overall employee experience. In some HR Tech initiatives, employees are required to do the same tasks again and again when a new platform isn’t technically capable and/or not designed to work with the existing systems. The technology used should have the flexibility to integrate with different platforms.

    Communicate clearly with all the stakeholders about the process, their roles, the content and how the project will improve their skills, to build trust. The more visible it gets and the better it fits into their daily work, the greater the chances of engagement are.

    By clearly defining your vision and roles, you will be able to map the process, the project framework and the key milestones of the project. When planning out each phase, make sure you consider every user need and create scenarios accordingly. 

    Additionally, if possible, try to map your current processes so that you can also identify what’s working and what’s not.

    4- Underestimating the Need for Project and Change Management Teams

    Other significant challenges uncovered from the UNLEASH report are: More than 40% of respondents reported three or more problems that directly impacted project success. And one of them is poor change management, by 29%.

    This might sound very obvious, but for any HR Tech project to be successful and strong, project and change management is an absolute requirement. Managing complex projects requires skills such as leadership, risk-management, influencing skills, ownership, sales skills, change management and governance. Therefore, HR professionals need to make sure they invest in these skill sets to lead HR Tech initiatives successfully.

    5- Inability to Track and Measure Success

    An HR tech initiative needs to be reevaluated periodically to measure the effectiveness, engagement, the impact on productivity and, of course, help determine the return on investment (ROI).

    Showing the effectiveness in terms of tangible data and demonstrating a project’s ROI can be challenging when it comes to HR projects. That’s why even though you are running an HR Tech initiative, make sure you choose a solution that enables you to reach meaningful analytics and concrete metrics.

    Use HR Technology to Enable the Future of Work

    Last but not least, the UNLEASH report also confirms that highly successful initiatives are those that redesign jobs, careers, and workflows, and use HR technology to enable the future of work.  Organisations that strategise their vision and work with their technology partners to stick to that vision are more likely to achieve transformational outcomes.

    That’s why at SparkUs, we position ourselves as an end-to-end solution partner providing supervision, customer success team support at all stages and real-time reporting. Our approach consists of: 

    SparkUs Team & HR Meeting: Here we analyse your organisational goals and determine the development strategy and the main development agenda.

    Insight Meetings & Feedback: Here we evaluate the development agenda and provided that the programme requires utilisation of technology, we create a mock-up platform for the stakeholders.

    Program Design, Pilot & Launch: This is when we create a bespoke programme and micro-pilot for further customisation.

    Running our process through the SparkUs Digital Coaching Platform. Our platform enables you to

  • implement the right development program for your employees,
  • implement suitable measurement tools according to the strategic goals of your programme,
  • use the measurement design as part of the program design,
  • turn a verbal process like coaching into numeric data,
  • combine Net Promoter Score (NPS), 360-degree evaluation, pre- / post-test methods with the platform,
  • calculate ROI according to the strategic goal of your organisation
  • all without violating the confidentiality of the coaching sessions.

    Contact us to see how we can build the future of work together.

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