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How to optimize your organization's HR technology in 2021?

HR technology
Alexandre Diard
HR technology

Our lives have witnessed more significant disruptions in recent years by technology than ever before. Technology has changed how we work, relate with others, dress, travel, handle finances, etc. Every day we wake up to new inventions that topple old technologies, especially in the way individuals and organizations manage their daily activities and operations.

Every organization thrives on the activities of individuals who work to accomplish its goals. That's the main focus of HR professionals. Human resource managers rely on the integration of HR technology in talent acquisition, staff payroll, earnings, analysis, and employee performance appraisal. In other words, the human resource activities of an organization depend on the automation of these processes for the accuracy of data and synchronization of activities. In an era when businesses are increasingly incorporating technology into the most basic functions to weigh tasks against performance, goals-against results, and people against systems, more organizations are securing their future through HR technology.

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What is HR technology? 

 

HR technology, otherwise known as human resource technology, is a collective term for every software-hardware solution designed and deployed to automate human resource operations for high-level productivity within an organization. HR professionals utilize HR technology in preparing workers' payroll and reimbursements, general organization, analyze staff data, appraise performance, and allocate benefits accordingly.

HR Technology Strategy Tips


In today's ever-evolving business environment, top management leverage technology and digitalization to improve productivity, enhance performance, lower costs, and improve all-around competitiveness. At the same time, employees, on the other hand, want automated systems at the workplace that can help personalize, and accelerate the speed and interconnectedness with which they perform tasks, as experienced elsewhere away from work. These technologies like AI, machine, and natural language processes, (NLP), and virtual assistants are some innovations that provide enormous opportunities for HR professionals to execute their functions optimally.

However, there's no denying the fact that HR technology profits an organization more when there is a strategy already implemented or put in place to ensure the organization maximally utilizes the gains of HR technology. Studies have shown that adequate strategy plus a corresponding HR software, yields huge outcomes in the way of higher returns and productivity for the organization.

Once an organization has formulated a comprehensive HR strategy plan that meets the organization’s requirements, the next step is to research and implement the appropriate digital template that will kickstart the HR digitalization process. Although, there is more to be done to ensure proper integration of HR technology with existing organizational systems to ensure synchronization. Therefore, in formulating a suitable HR strategy for the organization, the following tips must be kept in mind by HR professionals:

  • Assess the existing HR technology framework to guarantee it meets current and future requirements of the organization

  • Assess the level of investment in existing and emerging technologies.

  • Enable an analytics-driven and agile HR function.

  • Collaborate with the IT department to update the HR technology strategy framework annually.

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Assess your current HR technology

The fundamental goal of developing a practical HR strategy is to thoroughly assess the organization's existing HR technology framework. And this includes evaluating the current technology in use to make sure that its compatibility and flexibility with current and future HR requirements. In addition, it includes continuously outsourcing opportunities outside the workplace, to boost HR technology and automation processes within the organization to streamline workflows and HR tools.

Here once the need to modify the existing technology and acquire new, developing technologies arises, it's important to first define the degree of investment required and assign its cost to the current HR technology budget. As a rule, it's equally important to assess the prospects and constraints of a new technology before investment and integration into the HR technology strategy framework. HR experts like Josh Bersin propose the following HR technology framework for HR professionals:

  • Comprehend HR technology and constantly collaborate with the IT department
  • Take the lead in the creation of software solutions, implement, and maintain the HR technology strategy
  • Study how employees interact with daily tasks and workloads and ways HR technology could be improved to support the workflow.

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Select The Right HR Technology

The last decade has seen organizations affecting extreme changes in their operations, especially in the Human Resource department. These changes often require a complete overhaul of the Human Resource Management System or some mild changes in the HR tools. Software for record keeping has been replaced with systems for engagement. Methods that used to only address the needs of HR professionals are gradually making way for tools that are tailored towards an employee engagement approach and employee needs. More so, the focus is shifting from integrating HR technology and automating and enhancing processes. Interestingly, the HR technology market is saturated with more than 1,500 software solutions vendors who are guaranteeing top-notch HR management tools for HR teams with simplified, data-driven, productivity solutions.

It thus becomes quite a task for HR professionals, to pick the perfect HR tools and technology that will guarantee the required outcome for the organization.

Consider current and future needs

In making the right decisions regarding a suitable HR technology, many HR professionals get it all wrong. They often begin with issues around technology and hope to solve them by attaching organizational challenges to them when the reverse should be the case. Choosing the right HR strategy and tools for the organization requires deep knowledge of the organization's needs-real concerns not assumed needs. Understanding the business issues to be solved is key to choosing the right tools. To achieve this will require the collaborative efforts of key top management, stakeholders, and line managers involved in the decision-making process.

Return On Investment

In order to choose the right HR technology strategy, it's important for HR professionals to consider their decision in light of their overall impact on the organization's return on investment. Thus, it's essential to align the HR strategy with the business policy. The strategy must be such that has a correlation with the goals and vision of how the organization is trying to achieve. Without that, the goal of integrating the new technology may not make much sense. HR professionals must bear in mind that a lack of alignment may be detrimental to the organization’s success.

The chosen HR technology strategy should be such that considers the organization’s short and long-term goals to achieve a high return on investment. Interviews and questionnaires could be used to gain a deeper understanding of the strategic direction the strategy should go to boost sales, meet targets, and achieve favorable outcomes. Ultimately, below are steps on how to select the right HR technology:

° Evaluate solutions through employee participation: After analyzing what problems ought to be solved, the next critical step is to study the daily work experience of the workforce. It is pertinent to understand that an organization's success is determined by employees. Eventually, every organizational problem begins and ends with them, the employees. This is particularly true for chosen software solutions and technology; its success or failure depends largely on the workers who use or don't use them in executing their daily tasks. Therefore, it makes good business sense to understand what employees' work experiences are, the tools they use, the limitations they face, and what they require for high performance, as well as the assistance they need. All these factors determine the HR technology solution to be integrated into the organizational workflow.

° Engage the right stakeholders: Choosing the right HR technology for Human Resource managers may mean confronting various challenges like resistance to change coming from employees and possible key stakeholders. For every new technology integrated into the organizational workflow, there will always be employees who are interested in adopting the new software solutions into their work schedules and others who would prefer to stick to the old way of doing things while performing their daily tasks. Here's where the role of the stakeholders comes into play. They need to be part of the whole process from the beginning to the end. Hence the need to expand the HR team to incorporate stakeholders and colleagues from other departments whose involvement would be crucial to the development, implementation, and onboarding of the newly acquired technology to ensure synchronization of operations across the board.

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Analytics-driven HR

In today's dynamic business world, each unit of the organization operates on data, whether it is marketing, accounts, sales, or operations. The Human Resource department is no different, and the industry has evolved how it handles employees' data in the past decade.

Before now, human resource information systems only followed up key metrics in spreadsheets, however, nowadays, organizations (small and large) have progressed beyond that. Data is collected from multiple sources and analyzed using analytics generated from such data.

The challenge these days is not the lack of data, but how to manage the avalanche of data that is at the disposal of organizations. Such data accumulate from different sources: talent acquisition, performance evaluation mechanisms, interviews, etc. All these information sources could be overwhelming for HR professionals that are not analytics-driven. Below are tips for an Analytics-driven HR:

Collect and integrate Employee Data

Studies show that organizations are improving at gathering and surveying HR data. Nonetheless, the research equally established that not too many companies are utilizing the best data analytics systems. Therefore, organizations should beyond obtain data to incorporating and converting the collected data into actionable information.

Employee engagement data offers insights into the behavioral pattern of employees, particularly when the data is integrated into different organizational information systems. Integrated such data with that of the organization can help detect relationships between organizational outcomes and certain models of group performance. This makes for greater cooperation between Human Resource services and the employees.

Spot Performance Trends

Each department in an organization produces data that could assist in spotting the organization's challenges as well as useful strategies that could be applied to solving those problems. But before anything else, HR must analyze the data.

For instance, if an organization's turnover ratio varies across its various branches, performance data could be utilized in identifying reasons for the discrepancies. Assuming your Vancouver office is reporting low turnover in contrast to another branch in Austin, Texas, it could be that the Austin branch utilizes more productive onboarding techniques that could be duplicated across all branches within the organization.

Monitoring Employee Engagement

Monitoring employee engagement: feedbacks, reactions, needs, complaints, staff issues, and other related issues can help HR professionals collect meaningful data regarding the engagement level of the employees, and ultimately, how effective the employee engagement strategies are.

Employee engagement data reveals how employee engagement could be improved to increase productivity, optimize performance, and build strong morale among staff. This data can also show when existing policies need revision. For example, if employees are frequently violating the guidelines around one process, that may point to a need for more effective training.

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In conclusion, HR technology gives organizations the opportunity to define the future of the workplace, to improve how workflows can be organized for optimum performance and high return on investment. HR technology charts the course and pace for other HR processes and people within the organization. A good HR technology implementation strategy, when combined with the right software systems can bring about huge ROI for the organization.