An Iterative Approach to Implementing HR Tech

I find that many HR and recruiting teams allow perfect to be the enemy of good when it comes to rolling out new technology. And, I totally get it. We are asked to manage risk, and many times are dealing with sensitive data or processes that really need to be perfect, like payroll.

That said, many tools now have quick time to value paths for implementation. This could be a free trial or free to use module for vendors pursuing a product led growth marketing strategy. Or, it could be an accelerated implementation path for customers that are able to move quickly (you'd be surprised how many vendors can implement in 1/2 their average time if working with the right customer).

While a product first mentality amongst vendors has allowed for practitioners to pursue a launch, learn and iterate philosophy, I always think it's useful to understand why this iterative approach can be so impactful. And, I'd love to see more teams adopt this mentality to help push the People function forward.



Let's look at a specific example to make this a bit more concrete. Let's say we are building out a new careers site. These projects tend to drag on and on. Your TA team has opinions, and then so does the design team, PR, internal comms, a hiring manager who thinks they are an employer branding expert, and then of course there's marketing.

I've personally seen a career site that is 90% good to go take another YEAR to launch.

We've also seen this with performance management, employee engagement, rewards, and just about every other piece of HR tech out there. There are always excuses not to launch, not to test, and to push off. Some of these excuses are insurmountable (like a CMO that needs to check every pixel on a new careers site).

But, many times the People function is being too nice: don't let other functions get in the way of you doing your job, don't let the fear of a suboptimal launch lead to another 2 months of planning, don't let a "it has to be perfect" mentality get in the way of creating value for your company.

If we are able to launch with a "good enough" product, we can learn from what goes right and what goes wrong. A more flexible mindset to how a program will evolve means that nothing is set in stone, we can learn, iterate, and re-launch.

In fact, this is exactly what marketing, product, sales, and every other function in our company operates.

There is a >50% chance your engineering job descriptions mentions how many times a week you push code if you're a tech company - engineering is iterating a few times per day, and not all of those iterations are perfect by any stretch of the imagination.

To sum up, launching early, learning and iterating leads to value plain and simple:

  • Launching early means we now have proof points that help rally internal stakeholders where necessary to continue roll out
  • We can learn from mistakes/victories and fix/amplify where necessary
  • Using a tool today means we get value from it today, not in 100 days when we are 110% sure it will succeed
  • You can never be sure something will/won't work, launching early helps us understand how much to invest into a project/tool

Launching, learning, and iterating is a playbook silicon valley entrepreneurs have been using for decades. We can reap the same rewards in HR, good luck!

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