sourcing and implementing digital HR

As with all technology, the challenge of choosing the right options and implementing them successfully are considerable. And the hurdles aren’t just technical, but cultural as well. How can you get on the right track?

The first key challenge is what systems to go for. Recent years have seen an explosion in the number of HR Tech vendors and the tools they’re offering, which can leave businesses spoilt for choice. Some are overwhelmed by the range of options, with uncertainty over which opportunities to pursue creating strategic paralysis. Others find themselves chasing too many targets and hence spreading resources too thinly.


That’s why it’s so important to be clear about what you want the tools to deliver. This might be tackling pain points such as specific areas of process inefficiency. It might also be providing more strategic insight for the business or creating increased opportunities for virtual and flexible working. And this business case should be developed by the business rather than IT teams. The big risk is a technology-led strategy in which you buy or subscribe to the latest solutions without a clear idea of the issue they’re there to resolve.


Once you’re clear about what you need, you can approach vendors. If you’re bewildered by the choices or unsure about what tools apply, you can work with your strategic workforce partner to help draw up a shortlist and test the viability of the tools. Most vendors are happy to offer trial versions, so you can judge whether the tools are right and how easy they are to deploy. It is of course important to ensure that you test the tools in real operational situation and don’t have too many trials running at once.

Start small and work up from there

There is a tendency to look for big savings and sweeping solutions to big problems as part of the business case and evaluations of return on investment. In selection, for example, people want to use technology to screen more people at less cost. But experience shows that it’s better to start small by identifying a particular challenge or problem and then develop a specific solution for this. You can then broaden out the solution and capabilities from there. If you’re a mining business, for example, your initial focus might include how to engage with and attract hard to source personnel such as engineers and geologists. Rather than big design and implementation, many businesses now adopt a faster, more flexible and more cost-effective trial, assess and adapt approach. A key part of this is recognising the possibility that some tools won’t work and drawing on the lessons learned from these setbacks to inform roll-out plans and improvement.


It’s important to look at how digital HR can enhance decision making and improve outcomes. For example, a better fit between candidate and company means that the recruit is likely to stay longer in the organisation, and hence reduce re-hiring costs. It’s important to have baseline measurement of what you did before the HR tech was introduced, so return on investment assessments are comprehensive and realistic.


What emerges from our experience at Randstad is how many additional benefits become evident when the systems are up and running. For example, we’ve found that automated screening can help companies to improve the experience for candidates that aren’t selected and help sustain engagement for the future. This includes advising on what they could do to make them more suitable for the post and encouraging them to apply when a similar opportunity comes up.

Winning buy-in from your team

While the level of technical know-how needed to deploy digital HR is coming down all the time, implementation can still face resistance from within your HR team, especially if they believe this is simply a cost-cutting exercise that threatens their jobs. It’s therefore important to take your team with you by demonstrating how these developments can help cut out the humdrum work and create opportunities to play a more influential strategic role within the business.


In turn, it can be difficult to convince employees who’ve been performing well without the aid of too much technology that it’s worth embracing it. That’s why it’s important to ensure there is sufficient focus on deploying technology that improves people’s ability to make decisions and helps them to operate and collaborate more effectively. 

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