Guest post: HR software must cater to the needs of managers

Introduction: Tiit Paananen is the former CEO of Skype. Over eight years Skype grew into an internationally respected company, and Tiit gained experience in leading a technology-focused company and managing a large team. Skype used several talent management systems from well known producers. This first-hand experience means that Tiit has an intimate understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each, if they are actually of any use, and how HR software can help companies.

Nowadays managers and HR managers do not have the time and effort to use pen and paper in talent management. Excel has its limits too. So a proper talent management system makes life much easier for managers.

Every organisation is unique and there is no universal or ideal tool to develop people. Switching from one software to another is usually expensive, which is why it is crucial to come to a carefully considered - and correct – decision, whilst keeping in mind the peculiarities of a company.

In the future cloud-based software will open up the market, making joining the development and targets of people easier and faster. It is great news that there are SaaS solutions integrated with API in Estonia as we speak. This will make the integration of effective management software more straightforward, quicker and more convenient.

The focus will be on products that are directed towards the duration of an employee's time with a company, and using analytics in the decision making process will inevitably increase.

Problems of HR software

The main promises of HR technologies are quicker access to data, more thorough and detailed information, less inquiries into HR and an increase in the satisfaction levels of employees. However, the reality differs a bit. Access is complicated, there is no flexibility, information barriers slow down transfer of details, and there are also some issues concerning employee's rights. As a result time has not been well spent.

The main HR tech problems are:

  • Rigid categorisation of people
  • No alternative costs are taken into account
  • The software itself is below average
  • Top managers are not using HR software
  • There is always Excel, with which users are more familiar.

You should always take into account the implementation process and the fact that every change takes time when opting to bring in a new software solution. Someone who has never worked in a big organisation but then lands a job with eBay or Microsoft may also feel uncomfortable with the way they perceive people being treated as 'resources' rather than individuals. This creates an opposition that can lead to their distrust and frustration being targeted at the software. The tools get “punished” for no particular reason.  But it is often a process used in the implementation or the software itself that people are not used to and are reacting in a negative way towards its use. With time and exposure to the software those ingrained attitudes can change, and the software becomes more accepted as a useful, functional HR tool.


Tiit Paananen

Based on the presentation at HRCONF 2014

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