3 Ways Technology Is Changing Human Resources

3 Ways Technology Is Changing Human Resources

Whatever area of HR you work in, there’s no getting away from the rise of technology.

Whether it’s mobile hiring assessment systems or payroll administration apps, the development and integration of HR Tech is a trend that shows no signs of slowing up.

With U.S. companies investing $2 billion into HR technologies last year, it’s clear that more and more money is flowing into the integration of Big-Data and HR Tech into people management, by organisations across the globe.

In fact, CB Insights recently reported an upward turn of 15% in investments into HR Tech.

But what is this money actually being spent on?

Well, mainly integrated human resource management system (HRMS) platforms, according to the CB Insights report.

This is alongside growing investments into emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, mobile technologies, social media and cloud computing.

On top of last year’s spend, a recent study by SelectHub looked into how the HR sector are planning to invest in the future. The Cloud was revealed as the biggest investment target, followed by payroll and benefits administration software.

Interestingly, organisations are seeing that the advantages of human resources technology outweigh the downside.

“While automation takes over certain roles and processes, it actually frees up human talent to focus on higher-level tasks, like analysis, innovation and strategy,” said Martin Fiore, tax talent leader at EY America.

In terms of systems, a growing number or organisations are moving from the cloud to mobile HR-based technology platforms. Despite this shift, cloud computing still dominates in most HR departments, and there’s a good reason for that.

“Prior to 2016, there was no way for companies to manage their teams’ performance,” said Lindsey Havens, senior marketing manager with PhishLabs, an Agari Partner.

“Now many businesses are using cloud-based, team-centric performance management applications that help HR management to manage performance by team, rather than by hierarchy.

This system allows for a streamline in team management, plus the ability to create and change teams quickly.”

Based on this new data, here are 3 ways that HR teams are leveraging the Tech Trend:

1. Investing In HR Technology To Improve Wellness

What impact does growing HR technology investment have on the well-being of the employees?

A fairly significant one, it seems.

“We have used a number of traditional health and wellness programs to encourage our 10,000-plus employees to live healthier,” said Laurie Mitchell, Assistant Vice President of Global Wellbeing and Health at Unum U.S. and Colonial Life.

“Over the past 18 months, we’ve really looked at updating our company’s wellness programs with the latest tools and technologies.

We’re adding new member-management systems for our fitness centers,” Mitchell added.

Her company is on the brink of launching an enterprise-wide portal that will serve as the hub of all things health and wellness related.

“This will include health assessments, health coaching and wearable device tracking paired with fitness challenges,” she comments.

With many employees spending over 60% of their waking time in the workplace, Mitchell recommends supporting healthy lifestyles in a bid to attract potential candidates.

“Technology gives us greater reach with our wellness programs and allows employees to customise what works for them,” she noted. “It also enables us to use data to track progress or further improve our offerings.”

2. Using HR Technology to Cater to Millennials

Investing into HR technology can also promote the health and happiness of younger employees.

New technologies help employees develop their skills more quickly and easily, which is especially attractive to millennials who grew up in a technology-driven culture.

“Due to an increasingly distributed workforce, widespread adoption of mobile technologies and a changing employee demographic, which includes millennial workers, corporate training is getting reshaped and is becoming more data and artificial intelligence driven,” said George Elfond, CEO at Rallyware, a workforce training and engagement technology company based in San Francisco.

“Currently, we see a shift in the way companies develop their talent – instead of herding everybody to a classroom, training is provided just in time and usually through a mobile device.”

This technology can quickly identify gaps in an employee’s knowledge and automatically deliver customised training at the right time for each person.

Elfond says, “Such personalisation could not be possible without big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning.”

3. Outsourcing HR Technology To Third-Parties

Although many companies prefer to develop in-house HR solutions, outsourcing HR technology to third-party providers is a trend that experts expect to only increase.

“We’re currently seeing a greater number of firms outsource their HR needs,” said Timothy Hillert, chief executive officer at BenXchange, an insurance, employee benefits and retirement services firm.

He says this is down to the potentially substantial cost savings. “With a technology team on board, firms only need one designated human resources professional to manage and run the department effectively,” he said.

“There will always be a need for HR managers, but we will continue to see the use of technology to offset the cost of large human resources departments in traditional companies.”

Of course, the human aspect of human resources can never be fully replaced by automation.

“Tech-based solutions will not displace or replace human HR managers and staffers,” said Kris Duggan, a technologist and human relations specialist at BetterWorks, a performance management software developer.

“The technologies being designed today are meant to complement HR managers and staff, and give them greater insight and capabilities in their jobs.”

Duggan forewarns of a backlash if organisations were ever to fully replace the human element of HR.

Many of the HR processes pertinent to employees’ personal lives, such as compensation, benefits and feedback processes, still require the human touch, of course.

“The best human resources are empathetic and truly dedicated to solving their employees’ top problems,” he said. “A tech-based solution can’t completely replace this process.

That being said, adopting technology can make HR managers more informed and empathetic, and ease the human resources management process.”

HR Tech & Human Insights = Success

During the Industrial Revolution, the Luddites fought vehemently to prevent technology replacing humans in mills and factories. They did this because they were afraid technology would replace the need for humans altogether.

Luckily for HR professionals, technology is unlikely to be able to replace human judgement, personal insight, and professional experience, when it comes to hiring, developing, retaining, and engaging employees to perform their best.

That said, there will always be room for reliable, science-based data and time-saving technology within the HR function, not only to supplement the subjective opinions and biases of the decision makers, but also give HR teams the greatest chances of creating a competitive advantage for their organisation.

And this advantage will not lie with those organisations who simply allow technology to do all the legwork, but with those forward-thinking companies who integrate HR Tech with human insights and personalised interactions.

Now it’s over to you – what kinds of HR Tech has your company already started using?

Share your experience in the comments section – we value your opinion!

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