If you were implementing an ERP platform in the 90’s, it would have been safe to assume that HR function would mostly sit back, and IT (both internal and external resources) would be running the show. The IT departments would typically be large, and the projects would run for years.
But in 2016, this landscape is drastically changing. For starters, most cloud HR technologies are no longer part of big, bulky on-premise ERP solutions. With CIOs and CHROs being pushed to run leaner shops, it is no surprise that IT departments are ready for HR stakeholders to take charge of their systems. The move to cloud is one for every CIOs and CHROs resume.
So if you are a HR leader experiencing this shift, here are 5 top skills you and your team need to navigate the cloud HR technology landscape:
- Commercial acumen: knowing what your new technology will cost from concept through to implementation, embedding, support and retiring is a good start to displaying commercial acumen. Familiarise yourself (and your team) with concepts like “Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)”; “Return on Investment (ROI)”; and “Net Present Value (NPV)” that have been part of the Procurement, Finance and IT vernacular for decades. Learn how to negotiate like a pro, take some lessons from your peers in sales and procurement. Not knowing how to manage the vendor(s) of your HR technology is a seriously rookie error. Vendors come in many shapes and sizes from software and hosting providers to implementation and support partners. They ALL want your business so knowing how to manage these vendors to get value for your organisations money is crucial and ties in very tightly with being commercially savvy.
- Project management: like every good HR professional will know and say, the lines between roles are becoming increasingly blurred in the 21st century and beyond. Skills are expected to be transient and every person employed is now expected to do more than just their job especially with shrinking budgets. HR professionals need to know how to plan, schedule and organise tasks and their resources and track the progress of those initiatives. All HR technology vendors and implementation partners will bring their own methodologies in project management so chasing every project management certification is not required. However, learning, practicing and embedding the basics of project management will ensure that when vendors are talking about stage gates, milestones, deliverables, sign-off points you will know exactly what they are referring to.
- Analytical tools: it’s time to dust off those books in mathematics and statistics. Yes, we are going backwards to go forwards. Knowing how to define, calculate and analyse your people data is mandatory. If you want a seat at the proverbial table, get yourself onto a MOOC in data analysis. On a related note, once you know what you are calculating, having intermediate to advanced excel skills has to be on your learning plan next. And if you are braver, learn basic SQL skills so that when your new technology requires you to build your reports pulling data from different tables, you know exactly what to do.
- Change management: this is not a new one, but it is no longer sufficient to be the soft skill and training specialists. Change management is much more than that. Strategic change management skills can make or break the chances of your successful technology implementation. At least one member of your team should have skills in managing change introduced by technology implementations. There are fantastic courses out there in change management, but you cannot go wrong following the 3 basic principles: know the people being impacted by changes in process and technology; communicate (two-way street always!) with all parties and finally embed changes by enabling learning and collaboration.
- Social Media and Marketing: now more than ever before, having the skills to use social media to connect and collaborate with a huge audience that is willing to share is a must have. In fact, HR Open Source (HROS) is an excellent example of how HR professionals around the world are now defying boundaries to learn from each other via social channels. If you are not familiar with the most common social media channels in the market like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and so on, you need to learn fast. Lastly, but by no means the least, marketing skills. Every HR professional needs to spend time in a marketing role to learn the principles of branding and communicating with your audience. Every HR technology project will require a great marketing strategy to sell it, so having a marketing mindset will put you on the right path to capturing the audience.