Today's HR Departments Ought to be Technologically and Strategically Proactive
Across every field of endeavor, technology is changing the landscape of how we do business. The Human Resources field has not been immune, as the businesses and employees we support expect increasingly sophisticated and intuitive digital solutions to their business problems. High performing HR organizations are proactive about seeking out technology solutions to deliver value and experience across the breadth of the HR function.
Technology can act as both an enabler and a catalyst for the transformation that is re-shaping HR service delivery across industry. Through automation and digitization, HR organizations are able to transform themselves from a transactional administrative function into a strategic business partner. Time spent on transactional support is reduced, creating space, time, and capacity for HR leaders to create value through strategic consultation rather than administrative support.
Greater efficiency in service delivery is one way in which technology creates value for HR. Processes which are highly manual, labor intensive, and paper based are ripe for automation and digitization. By leveraging tech solutions to optimize these processes, HR leaders can capture the value of the efficiency gains through cost savings or by redeploying resources to value add experiences and consultative support.
While technology solutions can be a differentiator for leading HR teams, they are not a panacea. Technology alone can’t solve problems that originate with under performance, inefficient process, or sub-optimal organizational design
The transformation from an administrative function into a valued strategic business partner requires more than freed up resources and time – it also requires data. This is another area where technology has emerged as a creator of value for leading HR organizations. The days when anecdotes and surveys could inform business decisions are gone. What is needed now is data that can drive insight. Through technology, HR leaders can show up as business leaders first, offering insight into workforce decision making supported by the same degree of rigor that their peers leading business divisions expect of themselves and their partners.
While the business case for embracing a new technological application in HR is usually made through a cost benefit analysis of an efficiency or data benefit, the potential for customer-experience improvements shouldn’t be overlooked. HR’s int
ernal customers have expectations that are shaped by their consumer experiences. When HR delivers services through processes that are manual, paper-based, or unintuitive, it creates a de-motivating experience that undermines employee engagement. Conversely, employers can differentiate themselves as workplaces of choice by delivering services through technology applications that create ease and delight. For example, when a benefits enrollment application pre-populates employee data and makes recommendations based on an employee’s unique situation and prior preferences, an experience that is normally accompanied by uncertainty is made easy.
A few words of caution. While technology solutions can be a differentiator for leading HR teams, they are not a panacea. Technology alone can’t solve problems that originate with under performance, inefficient process, or sub-optimal organizational design. Another pitfall to be avoided is the tendency for HR technology solutions to shift work from HR to the customer. Technology enabled self-service can create efficiency gains but HR leaders need to look at the end to end process and make sure that time savings for the HR team member is not being offset by time and frustration of the customer.
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