Sitting at HR Tech this week, I was struck by the quality of conversation. Yes, there’s talk about system protocol enhancements and adaptive responses, about what the future of AI will be, about the next great HR product. But much of that was in the context of diversity and inclusion.
The conference started out with a conversation regarding women in HR technology. There were statistics about underrepresentation, pay disparity and disproportionate advancement opportunities. And for many in the room, there was nothing new about those realities. 82% of tech promotions are male. The ability for women to prove their worth is still wrapped in a context of over-emotional fear. Stereotypes abound.
And yet, that was not what the conversation was about. Yes, it provided a context, but the message was about delivery. As in any business initiative, answering the bottom-line, results-needed perspective is crucial. What difference will D&I initiatives make in our industry? In our company? And the women who shared their thoughts pointed to that objective brilliantly.
It’s a great reminder for us that in all our HR work, we have to do the same. It’s a universal application. So, look at your requests to senior management. Have you provided the kind of context that is needed to show business advancement? There will be math involved (scary, I know), but somehow, you’ll have to measure this. A feeling is great, but what lasting impressions could that feeling bring? An experience is great, but is it a one-time mountaintop rush rather than a piece towards a business objective?
Often, I hear VERY well-meaning HR folks talk about needing software to make their jobs better, easier, faster. I very rarely hear a business plan behind why it is so. And further, very few lead with the business plan rather than the mere request. Our leadership should understand that without such a system, product or integration, here’s how much money we’re losing and time we’re wasting (with real data!). It’s much harder to ignore those realities.
If you don’t know where to start, just look at your organizational mission and values. Perhaps with where the last failure occurred. Or if you’ve recently made a pitch to your manager, go back to look at from a delivery perspective and retool.
And one other point made during the women in HR tech sessions, if you need to be coached, ask for it. A consistent thread of success for these women was their willingness to find people who knew more than they did. They learned from them. They asked good questions. They tested out that advice. They adopted what worked.