Imagine the ideal workday. You walk in the door, greet your colleagues, pour yourself a hot cup of coffee and sit down at your desk and open your laptop.
In this hypothetical workplace paradise, how many tabs and applications do you pull up—One? Two? Ten?
In modern work environments, there are few trends more stressful than the onslaught of new software tools breaking down the doors to our offices. While many of the latest tools serve great functions, as a whole, they are overwhelming to deal with en masse. The situation is so bad that we have new apps to help us manage our other apps.
But let’s consider the ideal case. Email, calendars, and instant messaging tools—Slack or Microsoft Teams—are unavoidable for most people. The same goes for a suite of docs and spreadsheets.
Beyond those core systems, in the best-case scenario, you could do your work across two or three other software tools. For a salesperson, maybe that’s the CRM and proposal software. For a recruiter, it’s their ATS and LinkedIn. For a graphic designer, Adobe Illustrator.
The problem occurs when you have a dozen other tools you use infrequently. When you have logins for tools that aren’t a core part of your day-to-day, you never build them into your routine. You forget the software’s functionalities, never keep them up-to-date, and inevitably don’t use their full value. Beyond being annoying, these shadow tools become a drain on your resources and time.
HR software is a top contributor to software fatigue.
Tools in this space possess a unique challenge compared with software built for other departments. Engineers don’t need to bother themselves with marketing tools. Customer service doesn’t care about business development software. But everyone is impacted when you add another HR tool to your HR software stack.
Most HR tools need buy-in from people across the entire company. But most of the company doesn’t want to have to interact with HR tools. It’s not that people don’t understand the value of people management; it’s just a pain.
I’ll provide an example from my own frustrations. One time, at a previous job, I needed a document that lived on my profile in our HRIS. I’d never been on the platform since my first day of work and had forgotten the name of the software we used. In the end, I searched my email history to find it, reset the password I’d inevitably forgotten, click through every page to find where the doc I needed was, etc. It was a 20-minute task to retrieve one document. In most situations like this, people end up bothering HR teams with these basic platform questions.
People in other departments are busy doing what they do best. They hate the process of going into your HRIS, benefit, or employee experience software to get the information they need, so they do it as infrequently as possible.
As a result of HR software fatigue, people often don’t bother with HR software unless it’s an absolute necessity. They use the information and features only reactively. They dive into it when they absolutely must get that W-2 form or they need to retrieve performance data in preparation for a yearly performance review. Managers don’t check-in proactively to get a pulse on how their direct reports are feeling or performing. Leaders never keep track of the important information about a person stored in HR tools.
When leaders across the company don’t engage with the HR tools at their fingertips, they end up unable to manage their people. Across organizations, stories are constantly unfolding like the one we heard from one People Operations lead:
One Friday morning, an employee showed up to work and gave notice. The employee’s manager was stunned. They had no idea. But the People Operations lead wasn’t surprised at all. The People Ops lead had been immersed in HR information and saw the red flags piling up. The employee had been passed up for a promotion, reported feeling less engaged, and had used up their PTO lately. For the company leader who was busy with other concerns, these warning signs went unnoticed.
In the hands of a manager or internal mentor, the data and functionality siloed in HR tools would be invaluable in building better relationships across organizations and forecasting predictable complications. When they are inaccessible to anyone outside of HR, they are useless in helping to create better workplaces.
The issue of HR software fatigue is more critical now than ever before. HR is expanding beyond compliance and payroll and into more comprehensive employee experience-building. The new functions of the department necessitate new tools.
The gut solution for many HR people is to expand functionality within all-in-one platforms, like Zenefits. However, those who have experimented with this option quickly recognize that HRIS software is not built to serve employee experience needs very well. Zenefits, Gusto, and others are great at the core HR tasks but aren’t suited for performance reviews, pulse surveys, stipend tracking, and employee recognition.
Niche employee experience tools, like Culture Amp, Lattice, or Bonusly, are better designed for day-to-day employee experience tasks. However, alone, these tools are inaccessible and burdensome to your organization. It’s critical to integrate the new wave of employee experience tools into the flow of work. Otherwise, people won’t use them.
The Solution: Make it easy for people across your organization to accomplish the HR-related actions they need to, without leaving the applications where they do everything else.
At Gather, we help HR and People Operations teams build workflows to drive better employee experiences. We focus on the jobs that need to be accomplished like:
To make the most of these moments, we must empower managers, leaders, and co-workers to be proactive. Success relies on creating reminders, tasks, and messages that drive action.
But your people need these nudges to occur on the tools they are using.
At Gather, we help HR and People Operations build workflows to create these messages and reminders across the organization. The key is to build these workflows overtop of the tools where people are, to eliminate any obstacles to taking those crucial actions.
To build better workplaces, we need to expand employee experience functionality, while eliminating HR logins across the organization.