Preparation is the Key to a Digital Employee Experience

Mar 06, 2020


Last year,  in Deloitte's 2019 Global Human Capital Trends,  seven  of the eight areas where HR  needed  to focus  were related to employee experience. We believe the  growing  use  of employee experience platforms  will fuel more interest in the benefits of investing in experience. 

The Problem with HR Technology  

It  wasn't  always so. Though vendors talked about  helping  employees, they  built  their  systems for complicated HR processes, not people. Moreover, their systems have been  too hard  to deploy. In a preview blog of Deloitte’s Tech Trends 2020 report,  Josh Bersin  wrote:  

  • 32% of HR projects  have been  significantly over budget,  
  • 53% missed  implementation deadlines, and  
  • 42% failed or  were  not  fully  successful  after  two  years.  

It’s easy to point a finger at vendors, but they  have been  scrambling to keep up  with what their customers wanted. As they  tried  to fit any business model in any industry, their  systems  became  more complex and  harder  to  manage.

Today, as  new technologies crop up, the number of platforms HR must manage continues to grow. The dream of having a single system that does everything and keeps all the records in one place has never arrived,  and that impacts employees.  

New Technology Mindset 

The  industry is  working hard to deal with the complexity problem. First,  new platforms  are coming online with a fresh approach to architecture.  For example,  ADP, one of our HCM consulting partners, has created a new network-based platform built for the way people interact with each other.  

ADP  built its  solution  with  a  graph database,  which  stores  relationships instead of indexes,  tables, and rows of data.  Graph databases have been around  for very long time, but they  didn't become mainstream  until  companies needed  to  manage  huge volumes of data  and - time responses. The technology is now  powering supply chain management, ecommerce, security, fraud detection, and many other  advanced analytics  uses.  

The ADP platform  also  uses "low code" development  that makes it much easier to develop applications  quickly. Teams can build applications on it  without developing a core technology or  worrying about  security. It's built into the platform.  It’s the same concept that drives Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, SAP Cloud, and other cloud platforms.  

The  ADP  platform  simplifies the experience  because  people  don't have to learn a new  interface. It promises to deliver the "no training required" model  the industry has  been trying to create for decades.  

The second solution we are seeing is  Digital Experience Platforms  that  provide a single user interface for  applications, processes, content, services, and interactions with other users.  We can think of it as a user layer on top of a group of technologies that gives user one place to go for their needs.

Technology Doesn't Guarantee Success  

Industry  experts  told us for  decades about the reasons implementations don't deliver on their promise. It's usually a long list starting with something like "failure to plan."  

However, the underlying problem is more than planning. Lack of preparation causes what I call the “not now syndrome.”  

It didn't take long for me to discover  it  when I started my career as  an  implementation consultant in 2005. The first instance had to do with matching  a third-party  competency library with the job structure. When asked the client if they would like to take time to reevaluate their jobs, they said, "not now." In that case, as in many others, not now meant never.  

I also  saw it in succession planning. Most companies used performance evaluations and manager recommendations to identify people with high potential for leadership (and still do). When I asked if they would like to take a more scientific approach,  they said, “Not now.” The results were  predictable.  

Preparation is Best for Success  

In a perfect world, every HR organization would have the best technology and implement it well, but ours is a world of compromise  and competing priorities. Think also of those who chase technology, thinking it will solve their problems, then pour their problems into  it.

Our recommendation is  to take the time to  plan your  alignment  of  strategy and your  HR structures and processes to the needs of your people before you consider  a  technology change. You  are  more  likely  to choose  the  right  technology, and much  more likely  to succeed.

Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results.

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