Technology and the Digital Interface in the HR Space
There are waves of change and progression in various professions. HR has experienced the wave of personnel (or record management) to people management. The wave of transactional to strategic HR. The wave of ‘The War on Talent’ and now the crest of a new wave: technology and digital interface within the HR space.
What key areas are impacted by embracing technology within the HR space?
1. Transactional efficiency and compliance
How do you gather the relevant data and process it in the most efficient way? How do you create security and user layers for compliance and governance purposes as well as effective data storage? Introducing cloud based HRIS (Human Resource Information System) solutions allow for collection, processing, tracking and storage of people data required for statutory submissions as well as general business purposes. Employment self-service reduces administrative burden and empowers line managers to take a more active role in managing their employees.
2. Business Intelligence & People Analytics
One of my key passions in terms of system design is access to data for the purposes of trend analysis and measurement of contribution. Once you have designed what data is required and how to collect and store that information, you are now able to slice and dice the metrics either using Business Intelligence tools or export and manipulating in Excel. What do your absenteeism metrics say about engagement? Or how did your increased training spend on specified training mean in terms of your productivity metrics? How do you overlay your culture survey scores with performance or disciplinaries? What is your true lead time with regards to recruitment and what is the subsequent loss ratios when your staff turnover is high? Was the recent spike in sick leave related to the newest acquisition and staff restructure? When you have the right data in the right format, you are able to make strategic and informed decisions. People Analytics allows for metric-based decision making – a powerful key to objective and intelligent people management.
3. Strategic learning initiatives
Blended learning is no longer a buzz word, and neither is eLearning. Both are now baseline requirements for optimal learning in the workplace. Having effective HRIS provides for the capture and placement of training data but platforms to include gamification allow the employee to learn on the job, achieve consistent milestones and build learning at their own pace within parameters. eLearning becomes about the accessibility of learning, engaging format as well as managing related training costs. Online platforms can cater for the quintessential Neuroscientific truth that for behaviour to change one has to learn through consistent repetition on a regular basis.
Technology allows for efficient access to and creative ways of engaging with information. Online forums can share information, critique work and create learning modules that grow dynamically with the business. Conferences, lectures and classrooms can stay but combined with technology the ease of learning is exponential.
4. Creating a relatable interface and access to information for the millennials and younger workforce coming through
‘These young millennials, these digital natives are coming into the business … how do they access information and how do they access people?’ Mike Saunders_CEO of Digitlab
In terms of accessing information – does the business allow for it? Do employees still need to dig through hard copy files or lobby through an iron fisted central figure for access to data. How do you create ownership and yet ensure security and compliance? It is achieved through technology. When it comes to optimization, the younger generation are able to lead the way – syphon the knowledge and allow for innovation.
Accessing people is critical. To expand on the thoughts shared by Mike Saunders (CEO of Digitlab), the boomers accessed people through golf games, lunches and whiskey evenings. The younger generation access people through technology. To remove or over regulate social media severs the ability to connect which in turn becomes detrimental to their performance. Cross project platforms and tools will facilitate and engender the younger workforce to perform as they connect. Workplace by Facebook, Slack, Trello and Monday.com to mention a few are all indicative of interactive, live working platforms that the millennials can relate to and manage.
5. Employer Brand & Employee Advocacy using social platforms
Once engaged, how do employees advocate on behalf of the business:
Generate positive exposure & raise awareness either through digital media or offline channels
Recommend the company’s products or services to friends & family
Represents the best interests of the company both internally & externally
Build employee ownership of the organization
Allow the experts on product and service as credible spoke persons for the business
Refer talent to the business and attract & encourage talent to join the business
What is the bottom line value if employees using optimal digital platforms advocate the business, the products, increase sales and draw talent to the business as opposed to having to hunt for it?
In essence, embracing technology brings a competitive advantage.
Having said that, however, design is critical and in order to achieve this one has to audit present process. In the words of Bill Gates ‘The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency’. The step towards technology is a step towards internal due diligence and the effort in designing, stripping and mapping greater efficiency. No one slaps in a new platform or system and sees instant transformation. It is a journey and a journey well worth starting.