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Article by: Bob Haas — View more articles by Bob Haas

Posted on: March 6, 2019

Implementing an HCM System May be the Key to Your Seat at the Table

Professional woman showing concern at work using her laptop, displaying a concept graph in decline behind herHR professionals tend to get a bad rap as technology laggards because too often they let others take the lead. While we don’t typically see the same traits from our clients, we do recognize that the HR technology landscape is daunting and often senior-level HR professionals tend not to think about how HCM system skills can keep them relevant. By not maximizing your HCM system, you’re not doing the right thing for your organization or your career.

A recent article in The Economist put forth the idea that HR was becoming irrelevant as HR technology takes on much of the mundane tasks and senior-level HR professionals haven't become as active in leadership. This means that when budget cuts are made, it may be easier for the c-suite to see HR personnel as less needed than the technology that handles necessary compliance.

I think it’s safe to say I disagree that HR is becoming irrelevant.

HR leaders sometimes miss out on opportunities because they haven’t been as focused on understanding their HCM system works. Logically, they have been more focused on compliance, employee engagement, and the employee life cycle. While this shouldn’t change, I recommend HR professionals look into adding a deeper understanding of HR technology.

As an HR leader, how are you building your expertise?

HR curriculum was once focused on managing personnel, but not on building leadership skills, aligning HR to the company’s strategic initiatives, or technology. It’s safe to say this has changed.

HR by its nature is and should be a support mechanism for an organization – but to truly impact the organization, we need to understand how our HCM system can help provide insights to enable more of a leadership role from HR.

It’s a matter of HR becoming more strategic by focusing on the alignment of the entire business (including employees) with the organization’s objectives. Today’s HCM systems can be the tip of the spear to achieving this. If you have an HCM in place and aren’t achieving these objectives, you may not be leveraging your HR technology.

The insights HCM systems provide should help HR professionals by allowing them to develop in tandem with these technological changes.

HCM systems that are properly set up and configured will provide insights into a myriad of business areas, making HR a welcome and valued member of the c-suite table. These systems allow every manager to have new insights, and HR professionals to make sense of what the insights mean, how they tell you that your organization compares with others, and the power to develop strategies to address both shortfalls and opportunities.

Use technology and HCM systems help HR professionals to move from a more reactive, compliance-focused position to one where you can impact a firm’s bottom line through strategy, role, and talent development. It’s the difference between HR as a “let’s not get sued” role to one that strategically finds ways to improve the organization and its profitability.

Overall it is important for HR professionals to be aware of HCM technologies and the updates that are continuously happening. Making this a part of daily work and development goals can have a huge impact on an HR professional’s career when push comes to shove. Being able to have a seat at the table during the board meeting and discuss the trends in technology are a type of equity that is immeasurable. Budget cuts do happen, and technology is usually not the first to go. Unfortunately, it is the people who do not know the ins and outs of the technology that tend to be laid off first.