Making decisions on the choice and implementation of the latest technology once you don't have a tech background is often intimidating and confusing. HR is under increasing pressure to digitize all areas of HR, and therefore the impact of bad decisions can include wasted costs and poor stakeholder experiences. At a more extreme level, choosing the incorrect technology could expose you to legal issues, particularly in reference to data management and privacy.
So what to try to once you are liable for progressing the HR tech agenda but don't have a tech background?
Set Simple Goals and Constantly Check Them
Goals around HR tech implementation are usually fairly simple like “decrease administrative effort”, “enhance employee experience” and “secure employees personal data”. When selecting HR tech, however, these simple goals are often lost as you get deeper and deeper into what the tech does.
All HR techs are often demonstrated beautifully. However, you'll only really understand truth capabilities (or lack thereof) as you get further into the choice or maybe into the implementation stage. As you et al. from your company get to understand more about the tech, constantly question if it's still meeting the straightforward goal. If it's not, don't be afraid to steer away. There are many various products on the market and new ones constantly being launched.
Find a Tech Ally
Having a tech ally (as during a one that has an engineering or computing background) that you simply can trust is invaluable. This will be someone internal or external to your company but should be independent (i.e. not someone who is making a commission from your selection of a particular product). The tech ally will offer you realistic feedback on what's and isn't possible from a technical perspective (and tell you why) and provides you alternative options when required.
In your selection of a tech ally, search for someone who values your material expertise and avoid those that attempt to bamboozle you with technical language (there is basically no need for this).
Over-investment into 1 or 2 HR technologies will make it harder for you to justify leaving that technology, albeit it quickly becomes outdated and there are better products on the market. There’s a true temptation to customize tech to your company’s current ways of labor, but it's worth stopping and asking if that's really necessary. Anything customized is going to be costlier, difficult and slower to vary when the necessity arises (and this need will come fast). attempt to avoid a “sunk cost dilemma” where you cling onto old technology due to the investment you've got already made.
Embrace Your Non-Tech Expertise as an Asset
Not having a tech background is often an asset once you encounter challenges along the way. By not understanding the technical limitations, your creative options are maximized. While your tech ally may have to offer you a reality check from time to time, you'll work with this feedback and use it to continue being creative and work towards problem-solving.
Embracing technology and moving quickly is important for all industries, including HR, to remain competitive. By keeping focused on end goals, finding tech allies, and remaining agile, HR can fully participate in technology transformation and thrive.