You are new to HR and have been hired on as an HR assistant. Your company is doing well and wants to invest money in technology. You have been asked by your boss to research HR systems as a way to develop your skills. How do you approach this request?
The first step in any technology solution is to first, understand the problem that you are solving for. Without knowing the problem, it is impossible to find a solution that meets the needs and addresses the concern. With that said, my first step would be to have a brainstorming session with my boss (since he/she is likely considered the project sponsor in this case) to find out from his/her perspective, what things in the current process need improvement, or in other words, where are our pain points? Through the brainstorming session, we could articulate the current issues and utilize process mapping exercises to gain a step-by-step understanding of current processes to help us identify questions like:
- Who are we solving this problem for? (HR? Employees? Managers?)
- Who are the primary stakeholders involved?
- What’s the nature of the current gaps? (Communication? Process? Knowledge?)
Once our problem is identified and we have a better understanding of the problem at hand we’d like to target, the next step is to create a formal project charter to keep the project on track and to ensure things like ‘scope creep’ do not go un-addressed. In addition, we would want to know things up-front to ensure that there are no real ‘knock-out’ questions, like:
- Does the deliver model matter? (SaaS vs In-House?)
- If a technology solution is the option, what is the cost ceiling?
- Do we have the in-house IT backing to support the solution?
- Is there integration required? Customization?
Once the charter is designed, I’d present it to my boss to ensure that we are on the same page in terms of expectations and results.
The last step is to execute the research outlined in the charter to be able to articulate potential solutions and why they are viable. Whether it is the ‘do nothing solution’ or outsourcing, to a SaaS solution or an In-House suite vendor, the results will be well defined and will identify the strengths and weaknesses when looked at as the solution to the problem. If available, demos of the software will have been completed as well to ensure viability of the solution. My ultimate goal would be to provide a comprehensive view of potential solutions to provide an accurate picture of the benefits, costs, and even short-comings to be able to independently assess the merits of each solution as well as to present a look into the future of the organization and where the solution might play into the growth strategy and future stages of where we are, and where we would like to be.