If you are an HR Leader you will enjoy some insights into our “tech-kitchen”. You play bigger part in shaping up HR tools than you may think. This behind the door perception can enhance cooperation with your HR Tech provider. For startups and creators in the HR tech arena, we are sharing some important lessons learned. All of us can do with useful tips to avoid a pattern of pitfalls common among the newcomers.
A phase of prosperous economy gave burst to a wide range of businesses. That phase is over, the economy took a dive, the Tech Hype Cycle came to its completion. In the HR software field, there are thousands of brilliant minds creating amazing solutions. The businesses are used to be choosing from a colorful palette of HR solutions of all shapes and packages. Typically, once they have chosen the essential software, they like to add a nice-to-have software.
However, the definition of these two software categories is changing. Let us take a company of 200 employees. Their core business is not a recruiting, but they would like to have a recruitment software. At the same time, they are in a cost-cutting mode with 80 % of their employees currently working from home. From the HR standpoint, they would most likely be on a lookout for secure and effective remote work solution to solve their burning need. Recruiting software however would not be addressing the issue of drastic changes in the operations.
As a software developer, you are now facing new powers of demand. A present-day situation is creating this push and pull to reshape your solution adding new modules, functionalities, and perks. In effort to provide a superb user experience you might be tempted to capture it all. In the end though, it really depends on you and your team how you approach these dynamics.
Here are two useful things to consider for both HR Tech vendors as well as HR practitioners.
1/ Equilibrium in Product Development
Start-ups in particular can get overexcited about all suggestions and demands coming from the first customers. They would happily exercise the muscles of the coders and testers just to satisfy them all. In time however comes a realization that this approach is not sustainable. One, it causes the product development pipeline shake way too often. Two, the development team runs out of energy under the projects overload. Three, the product gets reshaped from right to the left. There comes a loss of a firm grip of what HR Leaders are looking for – the top in the class solution matching a specific need. A hybrid product with imperfect features is not what they want.
The conclusion here? Even though we truly value clients’ suggestions, there is no need to cover each meticulous piece of HR, most likely used only by a handful of clients. Rather, categorize the suggestions. In the product development pipeline give each one of them an appropriate flag and completion date. When the time is right, cooperate closely with the HR practitioner to achieve perfection of a new feature.
2/ HR Practitioners and Start-ups Sharing the Journey
Creating and maintaining diverse client’s portfolio is a well-known best practice. How to organize it in the beginning of the business journey? Start-ups are like hungry lions; some are pawing after closing the deal no matter the type or size. But let’s skip the euphory of YES to all.
The question is: Are you clear on the ROI of each client? Count your resources in men days, take into consideration surrounding deadlines, estimate the energy of all who will be working on this development and add some buffer to your estimates. This analysis will give you pointers if the answer should be Yes, or even No. Such learning process will likely evolve in your internal rule with your preferred portfolio structure.
Let us now also include the HR Leader in the picture. When considering a potential new cooperation, envision the implementation process. Working in agile way with some leeway and flexibility, it is important to investigate the risk factors which may delay the expected Go live date. Such delay would pump up developers’ internal costs, lower the ROI and exhaust the team. On the other hand, multiple setbacks would frustrate the HR-change-leaders. As an HR practitioner, you can contribute a lot to success and smooth HR tool implementation.
Things to explore on both sides of a new partnership:
- What is the response time from the beginning of communication?
- How organized is the relevant data? Exchange samples early in the conversation.
- Are there clear HR processes in a company? Are both sides willing to adjust some to meet in the middle?
- Is there a project owner with a decision-making power on the side of the client and dedicated support on the side of the vendor?
- Are all departments unified in what is expected from the solution? Is this made transparent to the solution provider?
There is always a percentage of companies which are falling behind the standard in conveying the above. Clarity and timeliness are the pointers on both fronts. As a start-up you aim to build a solid client’s portfolio with a good base of major players; as an HR Leader, you want responsive and flexible solution provider with stable product.
Final word for all the cool startups: next time you get swamped by emotional and functional desires of your software users or you are tempted to skip the pre-deal analysis, exercise modesty. This may mean learning to say No. Let your HR Tech star shine!