Having been in the HR technology field now for 14 years, it’s refreshing to see more free trials for talent management software offered than ever before. This option gives organizations an opportunity to try before they buy. Yet, despite its value, many companies don’t take advantage of the offer or, when they do, they don’t involve those who will be directly impacted by the talent management technology. Maybe it seems like too much work upfront.
Based upon my experience, organizations need to look at the upfront work done to review a new HR technology system at their company as a smart investment. For many companies today, the investment in HR technology review by a variety of employees doesn’t seem worthwhile. Yet, the process can improve employee engagement in the software over time and lay the foundation for a widely adopted talent management strategy.
Talent Management Technology Can Boost Employee Engagement
One aspect of a talent management strategy is employee engagement – which includes both the managers who manage your talent and the employees being managed. Including employees at all levels in the process of trying out new HR technology can improve the likelihood that this technology is used and integrated into the team’s routine. For example, improving your performance management strategy through software is an effort where employee engagement can make a difference. Performance management ensures that your employee goals stay aligned with your overall business strategy.So, why not get your managers and employees involved during the free trial of the software that is meant to support this exact initiative?
Engaging your managers and employees during a software trial could be as simple as assigning goals that are directly related to the trial itself. It should be easy enough to create an organizational goal such as, “Implement a performance management solution.” Then, assign that goal to your managers who then cascade those goals to their employees on the project team.
Employees who have been involved in a HR technology software trial are going to be much more likely to take ownership for its success. Identify enthusiastic team leads and involve them in deployment and training – make them champions for your new talent management solution. Consider the concept of Employee Ambassadors who are going to help you build a strong sense of community and positively impact user adoption.
Give Straightforward Education and Training
During trial periods, it’s no surprise that the question most often asked by companies is, “How will we train all of our employees on this new HR technology?”
Out of the gate, you need to figure out how much training employees will need to get started. This will depend heavily on how you have configured the solution. You should have specific objectives for the trial period and avoid being distracted by all the bells and whistles a solution has to offer. Maybe that means removing sections or fields from an employee talent profile, or limiting the trial to requesting the employees to update their goals as a starting point. A system that makes this self configuration easy is good for your organization.
Involve Employee Ambassadors
Next, engage with Employee Ambassadors to help provide training and education sessions to other end users. Don’t be afraid to embrace social media, wikis and blogs to facilitate these peer-to-peer interactions, further deepening your sense of community.
It’s also important to understand what HR technology vendors have to offer. A vendor focused on user adoption will not only provide training tools and documentation that can be distributed to your employees during deployment, but also make resources readily accessible on an ongoing basis.
According to a study done by the Sand Hill Group and Neochange, the most critical factor (70 percent listed it as number 1) for software success and return-on-investment is effective user adoption.
Create More Community
The word “community” makes me think of two things – communication and unity. Any HR software you invest in must address the needs of everyone in your workplace to create a greater sense of community. When employees feel valued and are involved in business decisions there is a strong sense of unity within the organization. This unity then leads to strong internal communication.
Evaluating talent management technology software as a work community provides organizations additional insight into how all the pieces – recruiting, onboarding, performance management, goals and compensation – work together. It makes sense to find vendors that have this “unity” inherent in their design, commonly referred to as a “Unified Platform.”
Try the HR Technology Software Before You Buy
In the end, your free software trial is more than just a project; it’s an invitation for employee innovation and an opportunity for engagement. Software trials can be a useful, low-cost tool in the decision making process for improving your talent management strategy. Take advantage of the offer. If a vendor doesn’t offer a trial option, don’t be afraid to ask why. The answer might be both interesting and informative.
Guest Blogger Bio: Maureen McGinness is a Senior Product Manager at Taleo, a talent management software company. Her primary responsibility is managing the Taleo business edition performance and compensation products. Maureen has over 14 years of experience in software technology holding positions such as VP of Customer and Professional Services as well as her most recent position as product manager for a healthcare focused performance management software company.
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