Technology vs HR departments
A whole new generation of HR systems is beginning to emerge.
The collection and storing of data has always played a central part in the HR function of any business, and in the past this has meant huge amounts of painstaking paperwork, filing said paperwork in a cabinet and having to hunt through piles of more said paperwork to retrieve it when needed. All of this has of course led to inefficiencies, security issues, and compliance risk and data loss amongst other problems. These methods are not only time consuming, they hinder this kind of data being used to its full potential.
Then came the cloud; a secure, centralised system where data could both be stored and retrieved at a touch of a button. Alongside core HR software, the systems managed payroll, recruitment and employee records easily. But now, with the development of more automated and sophisticated algorithms and applications, new innovations are taking HR by storm; and we need to consider the long term impact.
The market is beginning to flood with start-up tech companies armed with solutions to manage every HR scenario. From continuous performance management tools; feedback and data driven engagement tools; learning experience and smart learning tools; social recognition and rewards tools; wellness and fitness tools; candidate analysis and sourcing tools to team productivity tools. Phew! That is a list and a half to contend with.
But these tech solutions will undoubtedly begin to challenge traditional HR processes and ways of working in the next couple of years. Processes will become more automated and be run by AI systems. For example, the system will recognise a new employee and identify what is required for their induction based on what is relevant to the job role they are filling.
We know that machine learning is allowing AI to develop its own level of intelligence by collecting copious amounts of information and results; using it to adapt to differing sets of circumstances. This technology could also be very effective at managing performance and making risk management decisions based on real time information around employee performance, conduct and training by identifying and highlighting issues quickly and with clear evidence.
These solutions will put the power of “big data” into the hands of HR and allow for easy analysis of all data collected. This could contribute in areas such as talent identification. By using the data to find trends etc on current successful employees, companies can identify the best locations, educational institutes, employment history etc to source new employees.
Control of simple everyday things that need constant attention such as reviews, follow ups, anniversaries, and birthdays could also be passed to the technology thus reliving the pressure and volume of such from HR. Power could also be passed to employee by creating access via a portal or app to personal HR records, allowing them to update personal information, check their pay and follow their performance amongst other things. This would relieve HR from the many formality tasks which are time consuming but necessary.
The biggest challenge with this however, is making the technology accessible and user friendly enough that employees want to use the app instead of speaking to the HR department. So these solutions need to be consumer centric, easy to use and mobile.
It requires a system that people enjoy using and is there to help employees with their daily working life, not hinder it. HR needs a fundamental shift from “systems of engagement” to “systems of productivity” in order for this to work.
Further, consideration needs to be given to how the new innovations will actually be integrated into the department and the company as a whole without too mush disruption or pushback from staff. HR also needs to be able to measure tangible value and competitive advantage.
Like other departments, HR needs to have technology at its core if it is to deliver it’s main responsibilities to an organisation and play a critical role in the business. HR has a huge tech boom to look forward to, but must also be constantly keeping on top of and adapting to the impact, nothing short of a major task at hand.