Technology has caused sweeping transformation across industries in the last couple of decades. Disrupting industries like travel and hospitality while rapidly transforming functions like finance and marketing, tech has been the foundation for many big changes.
Until recently the HR department was late to the party. After recruiting went online through job portals in the 1990s, the HR department didn’t really witness any of the sweeping changes that other functions like finance and marketing went through.
In the last few years, however, things have changed. Emerging technologies like AI (Artificial Intelligence), RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and ML (Machine Learning) have transformed key HR processes to the point that everyone is now talking about the new wave of HR — HR 3.0.
Simply speaking, HR Tech or HR Technology is the application of technology to redefine fundamental HR processes like recruitment, talent management, compliance, payroll, performance management, employee engagement and so on.
Emerging technologies like AI, ML, and RPA are being used to build stronger research, business intelligence, people analytics, and automation in the HR industry. This, in turn, is transforming the way basic HR functions are being carried out. What’s more, it’s even transforming the goals of the HR department. From merely getting processes in place, HR is moving towards a more broad-based goal — driving value from talent.
According to McKinsey and Company, nearly 56% of typical “hire-to-retire” tasks can be automated using the technologies that are currently in play. At the same time, emerging technologies are also being used to expand the role of HR and to align it towards productivity and employee engagement. Here are some of the top applications of HR Technology today:
Technologies like AI are playing a big role in helping HR teams find and hire top talent. The use cases for AI in recruitment are endless. There are HR software that use AI to understand employee skill set and cultural fit from video interviews. Then there are software that use AI-based gamified assessment to screen candidates. There’s also the use of AI-based chat-bots RPA to simplify the screening process— whether it’s scheduling interviews or answering common questions. There are software that also work on improving the candidate experience during the entire recruitment process.
Technologies like ML and AI are being used to automate repetitive tasks in HR so that HR teams can focus their energies on more strategic tasks such as finding better talent and engaging them. Repetitive tasks include data collection, compliance processes, employee on-boarding, and so on.
Voice of the Employee (VoE) analytics is a tool that HR teams are increasingly using in order to monitor employee engagement. VoE analytics help HR personnel analyze employee engagement surveys to figure out exactly where the issues are. Not only employee surveys, but VoE analytics can also be used to look at more informal employee communication channels to glean important insights around employee satisfaction. This enables them to take corrective action swiftly; which in turn helps them avoid unnecessary attrition. VoE tools use a variety of AI technologies including textual analysis techniques and NLP (Natural Language Processing).
The learning and development industry, although a newer part of HR, is already worth over $200 billion globally. Companies across the board are using AI-based coaching tools that understand an employee’s goals, strengths, and weaknesses in detail before recommending customized learning tools. This ensures that organizations are able to give every employee the right resources for their development. It also avoids wastage on training that employees will never use.
HR chat-bots are already getting strong traction. They are being used as a kind of virtual HR help-desk and employees are increasingly using chat-bots to get answers to routine queries. In the future, it is expected that AI-powered virtual assistants will be able to handle a range of HR functions — improving employee engagement, generating insights on talent metrics, managing process workflows, and so on.
HR Tech has managed to shape the future of HR department in several important ways:
Simple things like leave requests overlapping can cause a major jolt to company productivity. Appropriate HR software makes sure that HR teams are able to monitor the availability of employees and manage schedules accordingly. This really allows the organization to operate at its peak productivity throughout the financial year.
One of the most crucial jobs of the HR department is to make sure that employees have access to important information in a timely way. This creates transparency within the organization and builds an environment of trust which is so critical to employee productivity. Today, HR tech — from Talent Management Software to AI-powered chat-bots — can be used to distribute information in a timely and meaningful way.
HR Tech software help in employee retention and productivity improvement in a big way. Starting from HR Tech-enabled appraisals. These appraisals enable you to store critical data about an employee’s strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. AI-powered tools can use this data to recommend tailor-made learning programs for employees based on appraisal results. This can help employees plan their career path and develop their skill-set in a more meaningful way.
Additional to AI capabilities, modern HR Performance Management platforms like PossibleWorks allow organizations to become agile in how employee performance is being reviewed on a continuous basis rather than making it once a year ritual. This goes a long way in redeeming the bad name that Performance Appraisals have garnered in the corporate world.
Given the myriad HR tech software that organization today have to deal with, it is quintessential that they integrate with the existing HR Tech ecosystem and are intuitive to use. Tools like PossibleWorks provide one-click integration capabilities supplemented with chat-based UI to make everyday integration with the platform as easy as chatting with your friends. These are critical components for your tech investments to deliver results and value.
HR has traditionally been a process-intensive department. From screening CVs to printing offer letters to completing employee on-boarding formalities, the department has conventionally required a number of executives to complete these repetitive tasks. With HR Tech, these tasks have been automated to a large extent.
This means that a lot of employee man-hours are now saved and can be diverted towards more strategic tasks. This includes brainstorming on employee engagement, building organization culture, and focusing on activities that reduce attrition.
HR software collects all crucial employee information and keeps it secure in a centralized, cloud-based location. This not only ensures that the data is accessible 24×7 but it also ensures that the data is protected even in the event of a physical emergency, such as a natural calamity or a fire. Having all the information stored in cloud-based servers, and in an easily retrievable manner, also ensures that the paperwork is minimized. You can now access old documents, handbooks, and training manuals at the click of a button.
Modern HR software also allow you to store all the employee data in one single location. This can also be protected with a password, adding that extra layer of security and also maintaining employee privacy. HR software today also allows you to create access controls for this information, making it accessible only to those in the organization who need to see it.
The last few decades have seen companies struggling to survive and thrive in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environment. In a world where rapid disruptions are becoming the norm, there is only one thing that companies can really count on to drive success — talent.
In an Accenture survey of over 1000 C-suite executives, recruiting, retaining, and developing talent emerged as one of the biggest concerns. In a world where emerging technologies are rapidly disrupting the way we work, HR Tech is going to hold the key to talent management. Companies that are able to leverage this technology to re-imagine how their relationship with their talent are the ones that will win big.
HR Tech is no longer an option or an opportunity, it’s an inevitability. The pace at which it is transforming all significant HR functions — from recruitment to on-boarding to employee retention — means that it will only become more important with time. Companies that are able to adapt and build a holistic, tech-powered HR department will naturally have the cutting-edge in the long run.