Digital Technology in HR
If any HRs have started studying for, or recently completed one of the Human Resources Certifications you may notice the push on technology and automation. Its important to understand why. Change typically starts with HR. Its HR that has the industry knowledge, access to data trends and the pulse on the organization to see the gaps and fill them. Its HR that has the training and experience to lead change initiatives. There are all kinds of policy changes or reorganizations, but the most impactful change that a business can make starts with technology and automation. Let’s think of all the different software that has drastically impacted businesses. Time and attendance, payroll, bookkeeping, invoicing, HRIS, asset/equipment tracking, warehouse management, scheduling, applicant tracking, LMS, etc. There is literally no point in the order to cash process that a business does not have some system, software or automation option. The key for us as strategic leaders in our organization is to not over buy. We need to be able to see the pinch points of our processes and procedures and tailor make a solution. Even once you are able to do that, now you need to implement it and administer it. Sure, that sounds easy enough. Now let’s think of growth, or a decade has gone by. The solution that you put so much work into may not be the best fit anymore. The most important thing is to train yourself and your workforce to be comfortable with a constant state of evolution.
10 years ago HRIS was not even a thing. There were paper employment folders. These technological leaps and bounds are giving us opportunities to grow at a faster pace and do so with less errors and cheaper than ever before. As leaders, it’s easy for us to focus on what makes the back of the house better, faster, and more efficient as a business first. What about the thought of how these options better our workforce? Just take the onboarding process. There are so many options and apps where a prospective employee has the ability to sign their documents with their finger from their smartphone. They can then upload pictures or other attachments. They are officially your employee, now what? How about automated email templates that go to the new hire explaining where to go, who to meet with and when to be there. That email can also include a quick “get to know your team” of 4 to 5 bullets that each person answers when they hire. Where are you from? What’s your favorite food? This is automatic. No information gathering, no distributing, your team is building a connection based on a software while you are focusing on strategic operations.
Employee wellness is one of the biggest keys to a cost effective organizations. Does yours allow employees to sign up for their benefits with the click of a button? Are you still rocking an old school PDF that you hope your team inputs the information correctly before sending to the benefits carrier and inevitable they made a manual entry error. There are so many options for this paperwork nightmare to completely disappear. Its also great training for your workforce to take small steps into the digital age. One of the most cost-effective ways to manage benefits cost is to steer employees to a cheaper alternative to Urgent Care, but that has the same availability. There was a big push for Convenience Clinics for a short time, and then technology took over. You can now talk on the phone, video chat, or text doctors 24/7 on many different ailments that would once cost you as an organization hundreds of dollars.
Maybe you have an office where everyone reports to the same open cube office space. There is a quick all hands meeting, then everyone is off to the races. You have the ability to call important drop everything meetings to address critical situations and you do this all face to face. With the advancements in technology, this is a rare work environment. So many positions and duties can be done remotely. Even those that can’t, the rest of the organization has the ability to dispatch the most qualified workers to projects all over the world in an instant. How about those large organizations that have 500 or more employees spread over 15-20 offices. You likely have a shared services division where a group of core people service all your offices all over the country remotely. Its not cost effective to have an HR in 20 offices where your ratio of employees to HR is 1 to 25 as opposed to the industry standard of 1 to 100. What if you are referred a stellar CFO that can positively impact your business but is unable to relocate. Hire them! You no longer need an employee sitting in the office next to you. You actually don’t need to be paying for the large office space. You can be cutting cost in so many ways using technology that you might not have seen at first glances.
With a remote workforce its important to keep them engaged. The value of human connection and knowing that even in the hard times, with tough projects, you are all in it together as a team working for the better good. There are so many ways to stay in constant communication. Skype, Teams, Slack, Facetime, to name a few. Outside of that you can now text newsletters, alerts, updates. Your Time keeping and HRIS portals all have customizable home pages and resource tabs to keep everyone informed and to make company announcements. Its easier than ever to create a connection and keep your workforce engaged but still allow your management the time to focus on operations.