Sometimes it’s hard to tell where the jurisdiction of the HR department begins and ends. In some companies it includes recruitment. In others, the payroll is managed by accounting.

It’s not surprising that HR software reflects these blurred boundaries and vendors have difficult targeting prospects at times. But in a small bit of desperation, sometimes you end up associating with the kind of HR department that’s often the subject of criticism and ridicule.

While associative thinking tends to work in favor of marketing, it can also backfire. This is a problem given that the function of many current technologies falling under the “HR” label act in ways that raise the alarm for employees.

Here are some examples:

  • Profiling – There are those who will tell you that recruitment software is no longer under HR’s jurisdiction. But even so, that only changes the label and not the function. And when it comes to function, some forms of recruitment software can come off as discriminatory when you include controversial profiling filters such as race, religion, gender etc.
  • Surveillance – You think privacy is only a consumer issue? Employees have it too, especially when technology is constantly being used to monitor beyond just their working hours. For instance, technology that tracks their tax payments, returns, as well as their social security number will always require serious policy creation.
  • Scoring – Ever heard of gamification? It’s another trend aimed at motivating employees with the scoring system you see in games. Then again, that too is subject to scrutiny given that scoring systems are not always perfect when it comes to gauging employee ability.

Granted, these types of functions have benefits and you market them as part of your lead generation campaign. Therefore, you shouldn’t be too quick to dissociate yourself from these types of HR practices. Instead, you can either:

  • Ride with it – By this, it doesn’t necessarily mean encourage abusive user behavior. It simply means continue to draw more focus on the positives of these functions. Be a thought leader and give your prospects information on how to properly use the technology while ‘evangelizing’ them on the benefits.
  • Change the association – Sometimes, you have to get at the heart of the problem when it comes to abusive practices. So if you’re going to change the technology, go further and change the people who wanted such technology in the first place.

Don’t be too quick to cut yourself off because it looks like you’re just doing it to save face at the expense of your target market. If you want to save your software leads from bad HR reputation, save that reputation first!