10 Tips for Implementing HR Technology in Kenya
In my recent article, I looked at some of the challenges and opportunities around embracing HR technology in Kenya.
There is without doubt a growing interest and demand for digital HR solutions in Kenya. However, there is also a distinct lack of available information. Finding expert knowledge and experience within the region can be a challenge.
This is a follow up article, that will provide a few tips and tricks to business and HR leaders in Kenya make the right choices when it comes to HR technology.
10 tips and tricks for implementing HR technology in Kenya
These tips are based upon my own experience, research and discussions with HR leaders in Kenya.
1. Build a strong business case
Start with the basics and attach to it something which will show a clear business return.
Most of the core features of HR systems only speak to HR. You must select something that touches the business. For example would be recruitment or onboarding.
Alternatively, touch on performance management. Many people do not like the traditional performance management process. This presents you with an opportunity to think differently. Think more about continuous engagement and feedback rather than the traditional annual review.
These are the kind of things that will speak directly to the business.
With any business case, you must also show the value it will provide to the business.
2. Show a fast return
There are many opportunities to get a quick return.
Look at both recruitment and learning, as normally there is a lot of money spent in these areas with limited return.
Find ways to leverage technology to deliver the right solutions and also measure the value they bring for the business.
3. Address the known concerns and offer solutions
It’s not all about implementing a bells and whistles system. It is equally about changing people and creating a better workplace.
One of the main challenges for businesses in Kenya is motivation and engagement of employees. There are innovative ways to use low cost technology-driven platforms to help combat these challenges.
Recognition is one such area where perhaps you could focus. Enhancing employee engagement through gamification-style apps in another possibility.
4. Show a clear return on investment (ROI)
In all of my conversations about what is holding Africa back from adopting technology, cost always comes up.
Cost is a factor for any business. One of the main things to focus on when building your business case is the ROI. Leaders will always want to drill down into the detail of what value an investment will provide. So, don’t wait to be asked – make sure you pay attention to the ROI.
If something makes commerical sense and will save the company money, this will be half the battle done!
Take the time to present this information clearly. Explain when costs will be recovered and over what period of time.
5. Watch out for scope creep
Take time to outline the scope of the solutions you are implementing. It is easy to start doing something and then additional requirements are added. This only has to happen a few times for things to become unmanageable and costs to rapidly increase.
Do not be afraid to challenge new requests and set expectations accordingly. It usually makes sense follow through on what you have already committed to first. Once this has been delivered, you can consider additional requirements.
There are always some exceptions. Just try be realistic about what you can achieve and the most logical order.
I have said it before and I will say it again. Get the basics right first. Taking time to focus on getting processes and data in order may not be the most interesting. However, it will pay off when you want to implement additional solutions later on.
6. Hire an experienced Project Manager
Would you let somebody perform surgery on you if they had never been to medical school? Probably not!
It is surprising that people with no HR project experience would be allowed to run a complex HR technology project. In this scenario, would it be surprising if things went wrong?
My advice is to seek out a strong project manager, with the right level of experience for the project in question. By their nature, some projects will be much simpler than others.
For any large project, you should make sure you have somebody with a proven track record of success.
Being a good project manager also requires you to push back on management at certain times. This is culturally sensitive in Kenya but is sometimes necessary to ensure the project is not derailed. Because of this, I recommend finding somebody who is not afraid to push back to get the project delivered to time and budget.
7. Challenge current processes & think outside the box
Just because something has been done in a certain way, does not mean that is the best way.
New technology presents the ideal opportunity to review and refresh the old ways of getting things done. Embrace that opportunity.
Think about how processes can be enhanced. What will make it more efficient or improve the user experience? Bring those ideas to the table.
I would strongly advise against simply replicating legacy processes.
8. Reduce the number of vendors
Having too many software vendors can be a challenge to manage. It may also result in a more costly approach – both in terms of licensing and maintenance.
Try and select one overall solution to be your single source of the truth for all core HR data. Some solutions will offer a suite of wider functionality too. For example, leave management, performance, feedback, talent, learning etc.
As you get into specialist areas of HR, it is OK to deviate a bit to get the best in class products. The key is to weigh up the cost vs. benefits closely and develop a strategy behind it.
As general rules to consider, aim to keep the number of applications to a minimum and identify a master source for HR data.
9. Develop mobile solutions
Mobile applications present a significant opportunity. We will also see more and more solutions being delivered via mobile technology in the foreseeable future.
This is largely because mobile has become the most convenient way to do things in every day life. People now expect the same experience they have in the personal life in the workplace.
When leveraged in the right way, mobile solutions are a great way to improve engagement and overall employee experience.
The fact people don’t need to go to the office to fill out a leave form or access their payslip is perfect for enhancing the ways of working.
10. Do not underestimate change management
One thing that should never be overlooked in effective change management. It is not the features of a product that will drive its success. It is how the product is positioned and delivered to the business that will determine how successful it is.
Implementing the technology is the easy part of the process. The hardest part is winning hearts and minds, promoting buy in and encouraging engagement from the business.
I have seen many projects fall flat because there was not enough focus on the change management. To avoid all your hard work going down the drain, be sure there is a solid change management plan in place.
The change management plan should be well-defined. It must clearly addresses key concerns and will run in parallel to the technology deployment. People need to understand the vision and take the journey with you. They will want to understand how the new solution will make their lives easier. You want to build interest, engagement and anticipation.
Whatever you do, just don’t leave it all to the end.
HR technology in Kenya – summary info-graphic
Thanks for reading
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