HR technology can assist HR professionals in addressing today’s challenges by enhancing the employee experience, improving workflows and helping organizations respond to change. The rapid development of HR technology can seem intimidating at first; however, much of what organizations use today is intuitive and user-friendly. Ultimately, driving workplace efficiency is about helping employees and organizations work smarter, not harder.
No matter the size of the organization, day to day tasks can feel overwhelming for HR leaders, especially when balancing normal factors like team vacations with evolving role duties and new responsibilities due to the pandemic. Many organizations are increasing the use of remote work, which means that tools needed for collaborating, communicating and working from a distance are no longer simply nice to have - they’re required.
This article discusses how HR technology can help HR departments and organizations shift their focus from administrative tasks to high-impact strategic initiatives—like retaining top talent, benefits administration, employee engagement and change management.
With efficiency and productivity as common workplace goals, it's important to first recognize the daily challenges. In doing so, an organization can understand where improvements can make a big impact. HR professionals spend much of their everyday time and energy on the following tasks:
- Managing employee information
- Attracting and retaining top talent
- Managing payroll, including time sheets and paid time off (PTO) requests
- Managing employee benefits
- Planning organization events
- Staying up to date on compliance
Not all workplaces are the same, so the best way to find out what's holding employees back from being efficient is to simply ask where their time is spent and what their greatest challenges are. Consider where automation is possible so HR employees can focus time and energy on strategic initiatives like selecting the best employee benefits plans and company culture.
HR Technology Applications
HR technology can help improve workplace efficiencies through process improvement but can also help ensure compliance, privacy and accuracy of sensitive employee information. Organizations should maintain a robust process infrastructure, especially for process-heavy departments like HR that have a major impact on influencing an organization's bottom line.
HR Technology also allows for workflow management which can be customized to fit an organization's unique needs and processes. Manual workflow management is cumbersome and time-intensive, especially for HR professionals. HR workflow automation can help ease tasks, improve accuracy, increase employee buy-in and more.
Consider how the following challenging workflows could be revamped with automation and software:
- Onboarding—HR Technology can help improve process accuracy and efficiency while providing an enjoyable onboarding experience for the new hire. Onboarding paperwork can be completed and signed electronically, and stakeholders automatically notified to stay informed.
- Offboarding—This process is just as important as onboarding. HR technology can ensure records are well kept and accurate, ensure compliance and give HR leaders peace of mind as employees leave the organization.
- Virtual Recruitment - Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to filter resumes and identify top candidates allows efficiency in the recruitment process. Ensuring a quality over quantity approach to in person interviewing makes the process more enjoyable for candidates and HR professionals alike.
- Employee information—It’s easy for errors to happen with manual data entry. Software can make the overall management process simple, from collection to retrieval.
- PTO requests—Automating time-off requests with a workflow system can speed up approval. Depending on an organization’s PTO policy, employees may use more of their earned PTO if there are fewer hoops to jump through to submit time. Employees who feel encouraged to take PTO can see increased productivity and efficacy.
- Project planning—This will vary by organization and depend on unique challenges or pain points. Consider projects within the HR department or projects throughout the organization that HR is supporting. Start with evaluating current workflows and identifying existing problems. Focus on the areas where efficiency can be improved.
- Process automation – A growing number of organizations are implementing automation into their HR processes. HR professionals often spend much of their everyday time and energy on the following tasks:
- Handling employee information
- Managing payroll, including timesheets and paid time off requests
- Staying up to date on compliance
When it comes to key initiatives that touch an entire organization, buy-in and engagement are critical starting points. If the HR technology makes sense to stakeholders, the initiative is much more likely to get support.
To stakeholders, support comes from understanding the value. Focus on how the workflow improvement or HR technology will lower the cost per transaction and improve organizational productivity. Quantify the advantages to have better success in selling new investments that will increase HR efficiencies. Once the green light is given, HR professionals can start simple with administrative tasks like data management and payroll to increase support—and then build on that to address other workflows and processes. Additionally, they should consider providers and discuss whether their current technology is being underutilized.
Variations of virtual open enrollment are among the many ways to make employee benefits adaptable for employees in different work environments. As the future of benefits administration trends toward digitization, here are some ways organizations are leveraging HR technology:
- Providing a destination for voluntary benefits—Digital platforms can help employees leverage more of their voluntary benefits. Online access to voluntary benefits, such as financial wellness coaching, budgeting tools and mental health support, may increase employee utilization of benefits that employees have come to depend on during the pandemic.
- Using robotic process automation (RPA) to streamline processes—Chatbots and other AI elements can remotely guide employees through benefits enrollment, medical plans, retirement savings and financial wellness. RPA technology ranges from easily accessible online tools to custom applications. Going a step beyond RPA, robotic process as a service (RPaaS) combines automation and cloud-based platforms so users can access applications on shared computing systems.
- Leveraging data for cost-saving potential—Benefits administrators and organizations can use data and analytics to learn more about benefits in their workplace and inform their benefits strategies.
Digital tools and thoughtful user experiences matter now more than ever. Now is the time for organizations to seize the opportunity and consider how HR technology can improve their benefits enrollment experience in 2022 and beyond.
HR Technology Adoption
Having new technology doesn't do much good if employees won't use it. Quick adoption is especially important during times of change, or if employees are working remotely and not able to receive in-person training. Many organizations rely on training and leadership communication to help boost user adoption of new technologies.
However, a PwC survey recently revealed that training and leadership communication are the two least effective strategies for increasing the use of new technologies. Topping the list of most effective were the use of incentives and gamification. This can be the use of an internal chat function to drive increased communication between employees, or areas to provide kudos to one another to help foster and boost internal morale and culture. Consider how these strategies might motivate your organization and employees to adopt new technology and tools that are both intuitive and accessible.
Start small by automating projects or processes that tackle the biggest pain points first. HR professionals whose attention and time may be pulled in many different directions and compounded by evolving duties and response plans - their plates are feeling full.
Automation and HR technology can not only help improve employee productivity and efficacy but can increase efficiency within the entire organization.