Struggling to navigate the digital landscape for HR? Look no further

How can tech help businesses to create a culture that fosters positive experiences that deliver engagement. 
Emma Bridger

Minutes
19 January 2024
Employee Experience
Employee Engagement
HR Tech

Yep, I’m talking about the Post Office scandal again. I came across a brilliant blog from David Halpern who is President and Founding Director of the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT). In it, he turns his attention to Fujitsu and the Horizon IT system purchased from them by the PO, and highlights that essentially it was not fit for purpose. He explains that well-meaning legislation put in place to ensure fair and transparent procurement for large contracts, has actually had the opposite effect. 

In summary, past performance of suppliers could not be shared when tendering for a new piece of work, which enabled providers to get away with poor performance. In response to this, BIT and others spent years championing for reform, which resulted in a new Procurement Law being passed last October. This included past performance of suppliers being taken into account as a key provision.

The reality is, purchasing tech is often a big investment, and once you get into bed with a provider it can be tricky to get out of the relationship. We might never get to the real reasons as to why the PO stuck with a system full of issues and bugs for so long, but I’m guessing the investment they made in the IT dictated that they were going to bloody well make it work at whatever cost. It’s like going straight into a marriage without any of the dating and relationship building first.

Digital projects and transformation continue to be a key priority for the world of HR – and especially employee experience and employee engagement. A quick scan of the current public service projects out for tender illustrates the majority are looking for digital solutions to run surveys, appraisals, 360s etc etc Whether or not these are the right solutions to improve employee experience and engagement is a whole other story... and one for a separate blog! But the sums of money involved, while not on same scale at the Horizon IT system, are still significant, especially in the current economic climate. Making the right choice of who to partner with when it comes to tech has never been more critical.

Navigating the current tech landscape can be overwhelming – just where do you start? I shared a blog last year with some pointers. We’ve been working with a number of organisations to help them answer this question and ensure that when, and if, they do procure digital solutions to improve EX and engagement, they are confident they have made the right choice. It has been interesting to bring different teams together from HR, Comms, IT, EX and more to work through the scoping phase of defining the problem they are trying to solve (as opposed to rushing straight to the solution). And then helping them to take a human-centred approach to explore opportunities, all with the end user at the heart of their decision making.  Simple, not necessarily easy, but revolutionary.

What has become clear though, is that we need to do more to help practitioners better understand what is on offer and how to navigate the digital landscape. So we’re going to be sharing an upcoming series on just this, so watch this space…
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