5 Questions: Dancing With HR Star, Dwane Lay

Dwane Lay

I remember watching Michael Jackson’s first moonwalk – it was a moment when the world held its breath watching the smooth delivery of such an awesome new move. When you get to witness something executed with such grace and finesse you know that, in addition to the skill of the performer, there are a number of things going on behind the scenes, including a team of others coaching, costuming and choreographing to get the move down “just right.”

In this, my second post with a featured expert from the Dancing With HR Stars eBook, I had a chance to learn more about what it takes for successful technology user adoption – a critical “behind the scenes” component for successful HR service delivery – from the illustrious Dwane Lay, Head of HR Process Design for Dovetail Software and author of LeanHR.


To hear more from other expert shared services panelists (Jim Scully, Cary Schuler and Kane Frisby), we encourage to register today for the HCI webinar How to Run HR Shared Services like a Thriving Business. And if you have not yet downloaded Dancing With HR Stars: 5 Essentials for Making HR Service Delivery Look and Feel Effortless, download your complimentary copy here.


Bonnie Clark (BC): In the eBook, you discuss the importance of technology user adoption. Why is this so critical to successful HR service delivery?

Dwane Lay (DL):  Just as with any other process or tool, the value is defined by the customer or end user.  If a new tool, process or platform is put in, but no one uses it, you’ve effectively wasted a significant amount of time and money. If we are to truly be effective and efficient, we can’t give away critical resources like that. We have to design our HR systems with adoption in mind, and eliminate anything that doesn’t enhance the experience of the user and the customer.

BC: This is not the first time you’ve addressed the topic of user adoption. What makes you so passionate about it?

DL: As a Lean practitioner, I’m attuned to waste in process and execution. Software adoption is important, and there are plenty of people who would agree with that, but there isn’t a great deal out there about the idea of designing for adoption. It’s an area that can be easily expanded and taught, and I’m willing to do anything I can to do help with that mission.

BC: You handle implementations for Dovetail’s HR Case Management solution. What are some of the techniques you’ve suggested or seen customers use to foster user adoption during these implementations?

DL: There are several Lean tools that are in heavy use, especially Y to X trees (to help define our true goals), fishbone diagrams (to find the root cause of existing issues) and FMEAs (to identify opportunities to prevent failures). While the Lean toolbox is robust, these are the ones that I find most useful across the board.

BC: How much of a role should the vendor play in fostering technology user adoption?

DL: I think it’s very much our responsibility to help prepare for successful adoption. Otherwise, what’s the point of having the software? We are best positioned to understand how our tool could bring the most value, and should be a vocal partner in the planning and implementation process.

BC: You mention the importance of “understanding where you are” when starting a project. What would that evaluation process look like for an HR organization implementing HR service delivery solutions?

DL: It starts with brutal honesty. There are usually three answers when you ask how things are done. How you think they are done, how they are supposed to be done and how they are actually done. All three need to be accounted for, and you have to be willing to face truths about the current state that may not be pleasant. But that’s why we are working to improve them.  There’s no perfect process, and everything can be improved. Once that mindset is accepted, it becomes possible to process map what’s happening and make huge improvements for everyone involved.

Please Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s