Tuesday, 31 May 2011

HR: Here to serve people, not software

A recent survey (was that a groan I heard?) suggests that only 39 per cent of HR professionals believed that their HR software system did all the things that they wanted it to do. (The precise phrase was “possessed the full level of desired functionality”) In fact almost half of those questioned disagreed or even strongly disagreed with the statement that they were happy with the HR software system.
Rewind to the day that the system was purchased or installed. You can guarantee that it was expected that it would be the saviour of many an HR professional, and would produce gorgeous organisation charts, automatically update succession plans, and dynamically track employment applications through the recruitment maze. The marketing brochures promised strategy at the click of a mouse. Data turned into useful information. The HR professionals had expectations of becoming an alchemist transmuting lead into gold. Or at least transforming exit data into a pretty pie chart.
But how quickly things change after installation.
Suddenly the hoped-for saviour becomes an angry deity squatting in the office, demanding a daily sacrificial offering of inputted data, conforming precisely to the ritual demands of the system, otherwise the livelihood of the nation is at risk, the rains fail to arrive, and the crops wither in the field.
The old story of failed expectations.
As the survey concluded:
“Most HR professionals want to think and act strategically to support their business, and while software can help them achieve that, it can also be a source of frustration if the wrong tools are selected.”

Or, to put it in more theological language, HR professionals should be mindful that they are here to serve people, not software


  1. There is a bigger problem - the word strategic isn't understood by HR. Our profession lacks confidence not software

  2. This argument is absolutely right, do you have recommendations for HR software that could overcome those issues and help us become better in our job?