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5 common technology challenges in human resource management

Technology has improved some aspects of human resource management but brought new problems as well. Learn some of the most common tech challenges in human resource management.

Solving technology challenges is a critical part of HR's duties, and knowing where to turn is key.

While technology has improved and streamlined human resource management in some ways, it has introduced new issues as well. Some of the most common HR tech challenges include selecting the right HR system, implementing it and integrating it with other tech. HR leaders can overcome these challenges by taking actions such as partnering with IT and involving employees in tech decisions.

Here are five typical human resource management technology challenges, as well as some ways to potentially address them.

1. Choosing the right HR tools

Evaluating which HR tech and tools are the right ones for the organization can feel overwhelming.

One challenge is the sheer volume of choices in the HR software market, said Kara Yarnot, vice president of strategic consulting services at HireClix, a recruitment advertising agency located in Gloucester, Mass. She believes "shiny object syndrome" can be an issue with HR software purchases, with leaders drawn to technology getting a lot of press, like chatbots and AI, that, in Yarnot's experience, don't always work well together.

During the purchasing process, HR leaders may sometimes feel pressured to buy a seemingly all-in-one HR system.

CFOs may urge HR teams to purchase one-stop systems, Yarnot said. However, that software can lead to negative employee experience or candidate experience because of lackluster features and necessitate new tools to compensate for the original system's shortcomings. In turn, integrating the tools with the old software may be difficult.

"[Purchasing HR software that doesn't meet the company's needs] is just kicking the can down the road," Yarnot said.

2. Conducting HR tech training

Training employees on new HR tech can be a difficult process, and lack of vendor training support can make it even more challenging.

"A lot of these [vendors] don't make it easy for HR to train teams on [their technology]," said Kirsten Zeigler, HR consultant at KDZ HR Consulting LLC, an HR consultancy located in West Orange, N.J. "It's a lot of figuring out on your own."

Zeigler said she often creates employee training programs herself to fill vendors' gaps.

However, an HR leader may require help from IT to do so if the HR employee isn't familiar with the tech.

Transparent communication and a strong change management plan can facilitate a smoother transition.
Scott DePeraltaPresident, Scott DePeralta Consulting LLC

3. Perfecting change management

Many employees balk at the idea of learning new technology, so change management for new HR tech can be a major challenge.

"Transparent communication and a strong change management plan can facilitate a smoother transition," said Scott DePeralta, principal consultant at Scott DePeralta Consulting LLC, a sales and marketing consulting company located in San Jose, Calif.

The change management plan should include ways to bring employees into the decision-making process and support workers as they switch to the new technology, DePeralta said.

One potential way to support workers is to make sure IT or HR employees are available to answer questions about the new HR tech if needed.

4. Meeting compliance standards

Lack of compliance with applicable laws can have major consequences for a company, and older HR tech may not update HR employees on the latest rules.

The biggest compliance issue is HR leaders and others not being aware of some laws, Zeigler said. For example, company leaders must be aware of the maximum IRS allotment when benefits are processed through a system.

One way to address this is for HR leaders to make sure the company's tech shares updated compliance information.

For example, HR software can alert users if those IRS allotments increase so the organization remains compliant, Zeigler said.

5. Guarding sensitive data

HR cybersecurity is always an important concern, and difficult or nonexistent integration between company systems can potentially lead to security problems.

HR employees must have a firm grasp on which data they are exporting and where it's going, particularly when using multiple systems that aren't well integrated, Yarnot said. She has personally experienced situations in which that was not the case, including when a junior data analyst accidentally exported salary data onto an internal employee public server. The data was visible to any employee for 24 hours, causing a mass panic.

"HR professionals [should] partner with the right people in IT to understand the implications of integrations and system capabilities and what data is being housed where," Yarnot said. "These are not always things we're trained on in HR."

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