hr technology

How I Got Over My Fear of HR Technology–and How You Can Too!

Tim Sackett Benefits Communication, Industry Insights

Hi, everybody. My name is Tim Sackett and I have a confession to make: I was once scared of new HR technology.

Okay, scared might be a bit much. But I was definitely intimidated. I knew I didn’t know enough about the latest technology, and that made me feel inferior to those who did. And for a long time instead of putting myself out there, I stuck to what I knew, for better or worse.

I’m pretty sure many HR and Talent Pros feel scared just like I did (maybe you’re one of them.) And I think there are four perfectly natural reasons why….

1. Fear of Change

Many of us think: “I have a process that, while not perfect, is working just fine. If we add this new technology, it’s going to change everything. And I don’t know if those changes are going to be good or bad. Therefore, I will just sort of hang out over here and do nothing at all.”

2. Fear of losing your job or a coworker

Most people will never admit to this one, but in some cases adding technology eliminates a lot of transactional work. Elimination of transactional work can mean less (wo)man hours needed to do certain jobs. Which makes people fear that less work to do might lead to fewer warm bodies around the HR shop, whether it’s true or not.

3. Fear of looking dumb

Q: How often do people avoid doing something because we’re afraid we’ll look dumb?

A: All the flipping time.

I’ll say this: it’s definitely a big part of the reason I used to not educate myself on the latest, greatest stuff. It was a pride thing. I didn’t want to look stupid in front of my peers and bosses.

4. Fear of making the wrong decision

With technology, there are often so many options to choose from, it can make your head spin. (Think of the menu at any Chinese restaurant.)

Instead of feeling happy we’re free to choose, we feel overwhelmed by the fear that, despite having a bunch of options, we’ll somehow manage to screw the pooch and pick the option that proves to be a waste of time and money.


My point is: this struggle is real, and very few people will ever talk about it publicly, because we hate to show our weaknesses.

But here’s the thing: there’s hope for even the most techno-phobic of you good people reading this. Truly.

Personally, I conquered my fear two years ago by doing one really simple thing…that I continue to do today. And I think doing this will help you get over your fears, too. Ready?

Every single week, I force myself to spend one hour demoing new HR and Talent software.

That’s it. That’s the secret.

Fifty-two times a year, I try out every kind of software, platform and application you can imagine. Rewards and recognition, applicant tracking systems, benefit communication systems, HR systems of record, payroll systems, recruitment automation, interviewing, performance management, you name it.

I just build it into my schedule, so I don’t have to think about it. And it’s made all the difference.

After even a few months of “development,” I could talk the language of technology much better. I understood what vendors were talking about. And after putting in a whole year’s worth? I felt like I might even kinda sorta be an expert in some of this stuff. Which was a great feeling, considering how out of it I felt before.

Another nice thing about starting this habit? Along the way, my fear of technology replacing me or my coworkers went away too. Because the more I really understood what new technologies were actually built to do, the clearer it was that they weren’t going to render me and my colleagues obsolete. Just the opposite. The more I leaned on smart, new technologies the better I would become at my job, and the more indispensable I’d be to my company. And who doesn’t want that?

If you’d like to get on the tech demo bandwagon, here and here and here are a few places to check out to get you started.

And if any of you good folks reading have stories about getting over your technology fears, please don’t hesitate to share them in the comments! I’d love to hear them!


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