There was a real buzz at Olympia this week as HR people descended in their droves on the CIPD’s annual HR Software Show. SMEs were well represented among the throng – and it was clear from the conversations and presentations that there is a genuine and growing interest in how HR software can add value to smaller businesses.
“We’re growing, but we still have to provide the same level of support with the same resources,” said one delegate, identifying what is often one of the key drivers behind an SME’s decision to go down the technology route. The comment was greeted with many nodding heads – and was also borne out by the experience of visitors to the Cezanne Software stand. Many of those who stopped by for a chat or a demo were looking to find ways not to improve service delivery and save money, but also to escape from the avalanche of admin associated with managing employee data manually or across a series of often unconnected Excel spreadsheets.
I sat in on a series of short seminars that ran throughout the day, several of which were standing room only. The speakers had come armed with plenty of practical advice on issues ranging from how to make a strong business case for HR software to how technology is being used to change the way companies support everything from absence management to appraisal procedures.
The clear message coming through, however, was that we are only just beginning to see the real potential of technology and its application to HR.
There were some fascinating insights into how e-commerce principles are being applied to HR software, making it easier for companies to provide the right information to employees at the right time and in an easily digestible format.
I was particularly riveted by a session looking at the potential of social media to revolutionise the way we approach tasks such as performance management and to how we deliver learning and development. The future could well see us marking accomplishments and milestones as they occur and managing and adapting goals on an on-going basis, rather than in the conventional, staid annual appraisal.
I certainly came away from the day with plenty of food for thought and many new ideas, which I’ll be sharing with you in forthcoming blogs. Did you attend the show? If so, what insights did you take away with you?