It’s clear from the research, that HR professionals have a huge amount to gain from adopting the latest HR technology. All of their data in one place, a significant reduction in admin, automation of tedious and time-consuming processes and the latest HR analytics at their fingertips.

But, without widespread employee adoption, it is highly likely that HR software implementations will fail to deliver all of the anticipated benefits. In a worse case scenarios, they can fail altogether.

So what do today’s employees expect from an HR system?

1. Quick answers to every-day questions

How much annual leave do I have left? Can I request holiday for October? What’s the current travel policy? I’ve changed my bank account – how can I make sure next month’s salary ends up in the right place? Today’s HR systems have to be useful and, just as importantly, they need to be immediate. Thanks to almost universal access to information through the internet, we’ve come to expect answers almost as soon as we’ve thought of the question. HR software has to deliver this combination of usefulness and immediacy, otherwise your staff will become frustrated and will revert to ‘asking HR’ every time they need information.

2. Any time, any device access

It’s no surprise that research commissioned by NGA in 2014 found that mobile connectivity was a big issue for employees. Ofcom reports that more than 60% of us access the internet from our mobiles, and in just five years more than 50% of homes have acquired tablets. We expect to be able to work much more fluidly than before, whether that be from home, while on the move or outside of conventional office hours. If employees can only request holiday, complete a performance review or fill in a time sheet when they are in the office and logged into your private network, they won’t be impressed. This is particularly important for the ‘digital natives’ of Generation Y, who have grown up expecting instant connectivity and just-in-time access to the information they need. If you want your people to enthusiastically adopt your HR systems, they need to be accessible via tablet and mobile too.

3. An easier way of working

It goes without saying that HR systems have to be as easy for employees to use as possible. No one has the time – or inclination – to read manuals or watch a training video each time they want to complete a simple process. However, HR systems also have to make the working day simpler and deliver benefits employees and line managers will find useful. If a system doesn’t answer the question of “what’s in it for me,” it will struggle to get traction. This doesn’t mean that the system has to do everything immediately – in fact, if you’re concerned that a new system may not go down well, it may be better to focus on solving one or two pain points first. That way you overcome initial resistance, which makes introducing new features further down the line much more straight-forward.

4. A tool to support personal development

We are in an era when we expect much more transparency and feedback from our employers – and want to take a more active role in managing our own careers. That means employees will value an HR software that’s more than just a personnel database. They’ll be looking to update their own skills and qualification, so they can showcase their talents; use the system to share information with colleagues and peers; and have a central place where the objectives set in performance appraisals can be regularly monitored and revisited.

Today’s digitally connected employees are considerably more demanding than in the past. So they’ll have much higher expectations of any new software systems that they would have had for those in the past. The good news is: that they are usually much more prepared to give new technology a go – especially if they can see a good reason for using it.

One action to take this week: Looking for ideas to get reluctant employees to adopt new HR technology? Try reading this article in Harvard Business Review 

Sue Lingard author image

Sue Lingard

Sue studied Personnel Management at the London School of Economics before taking on management roles in the travel, recruitment and finally HR software industry. She's particularly interested in how technologies enable HR teams - and the people they support - to work better together.