Fewer than one-quarter of HR employees (24%) reported that their organisation’s HR function is deriving the maximum value from HR technology, according to Gartner.

A Gartner survey of 85 HR leaders in February 2024 found:

* Only 35% are confident their current approach to HR technology is helping to achieve business objectives.

* Two out of three believe that if they don’t take action to improve HR’s approach to technology, their function’s effectiveness will decrease.

“While HR leaders believe that HR technology is important and impactful, they continue to struggle with how to gain the most value,” says Mark Whittle, vice-president of advisory in the Gartner HR practice. “The goal isn’t to maximise technology’s value to HR alone, but to maximize the business value the technology can bring to the entire organisation.”

Organisations need to shift to an approach that augments HR by increasing HR technology adoption and utilizing technology to create higher impact contributions that maximize business value.

“Strategic business value is generated by bringing humans and technology together, not freeing up employees’ time to do strategic work on their own,” says Piers Hudson, senior director in the Gartner HR practice.

To leverage technology for the fullest business value, HR must take three actions:

* Create roadmap strategies that provide transformational blocks that engage stakeholders to prioritise new value.

* Expand HR staff’s viewpoints to inspire the pursuit of new value.

* Formalise shared goals and new roles that enable complementary, rather than siloed, solutions that create new value for end-users.

Augmenting HR’s approach to technology can increase HR technology’s business value by up to 54%, compared to a capacity-centric approach, which can only increase HR technology business value by up to 28%.

Transformational Building Blocks Foster Confidence

“Poor experiences with HR technology cause low confidence in HR’s ability to drive tech transformation,” says Hudson. “Nearly half of the HR staff we surveyed reported that use of HR technology solutions has damaged HR’s reputation across the organisation.”

To overcome lack of stakeholder confidence in HR’s ability to deliver against transformational technology, HR leaders should present function and business leaders with proposed smaller changes rather than the big transformational goal.

HR leaders must also illustrate the alignment between foundational elements and new technology value.

Finally, HR should prepare scenarios to show how plans can adjust if conditions change, such as financial outlook or the regulatory environment.

Expanded Viewpoints Inspire Exploration

“Like many employees today, HR staff is concerned about how evolving technology will impact their jobs and careers,” says Whittle. “Nearly half of the HR employees we surveyed agree that HR technology has removed parts of their job they liked and nearly one-quarter of wider employees think AI could replace jobs in the next five years.”

To help HR staff adopt new viewpoints and perspectives around technology, HR leaders need to go beyond training and tangibly illustrate how it supports new high value work rather than limiting current jobs and activities.

This entails crafting more transparent vendor relationships that expose HR staff to technology knowledge that links to the business problems they want to solve.

Goals and Roles Drive Complementary Solutions

Among more than 1 200 employees surveyed by Gartner in February 2024, 69% reported experiencing at least one barrier when interacting with HR technology in the past 12 months.

The HR function should shift to creating shared outcomes that every process owner is held accountable for when designing or implementing a technology system.

This enables consistency across HR tech initiatives, the ability to easily compare and prioritize investments, and identifying necessary skills to reinforce the outcome.