By Walter Fagan

HR technology is hot today, with digital solutions taking any number of forms to address various aspects of people management needs. It’s not just day-to-day functions that are being automated, like benefits administration, payroll and changing employee data. One cutting edge development is an artificial intelligence platform that understands, predicts, and prescribes personalized actions based on relevant human capital data.

Last year alone, investors sank some $2 billion in HR systems and platforms with breakthrough potential. Meanwhile, we’re looking at a global market that’s projected to reach $9.2 billion by 2024.  
Still, implementing new HR technology solutions is a risky business. Many smaller and even medium-sized business don’t have the depth of tech expertise in-house to help. For that matter, neither do many of the smaller brokers. It takes the right partner to guide you from the beginning of the process – vetting the right solutions providers – to testing out the implementation.   

Without the right partner, a lot can go wrong, like: 

  • Miscommunication between vendors and client that can derail an implementation. 
  • Eleventh hour changes in plans, rates, carriers or delays in data delivery that can add time and result in costly errors.
  • Inaccurate or incomplete data that can lead to disappointing results.   

When your new system isn’t working to your satisfaction, buyer’s remorse sinks in.   When expectations don’t align, you might well blame it on a “bad” platform.  The last thing you want to do is relive the emotions, time and costs of the platform implementation but you need to address your buyer’s remorse and find a workable solution  

5 Triggers of Buyer’s Remorse

Identifying the source of your dissatisfaction is critical.  Here are five areas that are often responsible for derailing HR technology projects:  

  1. Data. There’s a reason why some genius came up with the term “garbage in, garbage out.” Data is a foundational component of any tech solution. When there are issues with it – the output doesn’t give you greater knowledge or necessary insights – your solution is flawed.  Was the data accurate to begin with? Was it complete? This is a good place to start looking. 
  2. Implementation. New tech systems can be a complex undertaking and any number of things can go wrong if implementation is not well managed. Its features don’t work as expected. Users don’t sufficiently understand what it can do. You may have been expecting it to accomplish more, but maybe put less into it than necessary. Review the implementation steps. Success hinges around a complete understanding of requirements, ongoing user involvement and training, testing for performance gaps and fixing them. Ultimately, the level of knowledge of what makes the system work must be up to the rigors of a successful implementation.
  3. Build-out. The build-out “flow” is critical. There’s a trickle-down effect of late changes. Anything from adding new classes, plans, rules and the like can dynamically affect original timelines, causing deadlines to be missed and delaying open enrollment or other critical targets. 
  4. Training. Ultimately, your new system should save time and money. That’s the whole reason you made this investment. But in the early stages, there’s going to be a learning curve. Training is a huge factor in a successful implementation. Make certain that system training and an effective, ongoing training calendar (along with system support) are incorporated in the original Scope of Work (SOW). 
  5. Expectations. These need to be established from the outset, with the project broken down and the true scope established – ultimate capabilities, budget and timeline. You’ll know there are issues when deadlines and goals go unmet, you’re seeing cost overruns and, ultimately, capabilities fall short. Never mind the pretty website, great PowerPoint presentation and affable sales guy. If there isn’t an understanding of what the system needs to do and will do, there’s an issue, and it may require going back to the drawing board – starting with a more comprehensive discovery process.

Your findings may show some easy – or not too difficult – fixes, and a project that can be salvaged. But it may not be. The right partner will, at the very least, run interference for you with the vendor. At best, your partner will work hard to identify the source of the problem to help make the system work as it should – so you don’t have to go through the cost and frustration of starting over.  

HUB International’s employee benefits technology specialists are ready to help organizations like yours avoid buyer’s remorse. We assess your platform needs, identify vendors and solutions best suited to meet them, and monitor and troubleshoot implementation as needed.