The future of business is now intrinsically linked to technology. Sectors from manufacturing and logistics through to travel and retail are becoming more efficient and effective thanks to automation and AI that saves them time and money. Of course, there are some industries in which people will never be replaced. HR, for example, relies on empathy, compassion, decision making and emotional intelligence. However, that is not to say that technology cannot play an important role in helping to improve HR’s effectiveness, efficiency and expertise. This article will walk you through some areas of HR where we feel technology should be considered, if not embraced.
The pandemic forced many businesses to embrace remote working and it’s likely that this trend will continue for years, with some office employees returning only a few days per week if at all.
This can present a headache for HR teams who now need to ensure a suitable working environment in multiple locations; rather than one. Working remotely presented many challenges, – not least with communication – and many companies were forced to purchase video comms subscriptions in haste to try to prevent further dips in collaboration and productivity. Now that you know that remote working is here for the long term, why not run an assessment of all of the communication tools your business uses to ensure they are fit for purpose and good value for money? It’s important that you and your colleagues can communicate effectively (and discretely) wherever you might be. If you are to communicate a difficult message, then ensuring the software won’t skip, jump or experience sound or connectivity issues is key too.
Collaboration and security
Two other important concerns with remote working are security and teamworking. From two factor authentication to ensure your business systems remain secure and you keep your cybersecurity team happy, to timesheet technology and collaboration tools like Slack and Asana, there is no reason why your business can’t thrive in a hybrid of home and office.
Automation of low-level tasks
We mentioned above that one way to make sure that your business runs smoothly is through automation because it frees up time for other important things, such as strategic planning, skills development and marketing initiatives. HR departments now have more responsibilities than ever before, but with the help of HR management software they can focus their time on key strategic tasks. This will free up resources and allow them to be even better at what it takes for an organisation’s success. Automation can be used for administrative tasks such as keeping track of employees, managing leave requests and administering benefits. Tools such as machine learning and RPA (robotic process automation) can be used by HR professionals to take their knowledge, skillset or expertise into new realms of productivity. For example, filing pay slips on behalf an employee could now be done in minutes thanks to technology that does all the labour intensive work for you. What’s more, the beauty of machine learning is that it requires minimal investment in time from you to set up as it learns as it does the work. Another useful area for automation is workflows such as recruitment rounds and new starter onboarding. By automating every step of the process such as scheduling of meetings, sending out key communications and ensuring that tasks have been completed, you could save yourself hours every week.
Finally, did you know that “chatbots” can even serve a valuable purpose in HR? They typically act as a triage platform, funnelling enquiries through a pre-set range of questions and answers, so you could use them for a range of HR issues such as updating personal information, answering questions via employee handbook references or giving best practice advice on certain issues. The possibilities are endless.
Chatbots can also play a helpful role in the first stage of the recruitment process. By setting filter questions, you can use them to screen the initial applicants for unsuitability and schedule interviews for the second stage. And what about finding candidates in the first place? Don’t spend thousands of pounds on recruiter fees or waste time trawling job sites yourself looking for candidates when technology can do the job for you. LinkedIn and Glassdoor use algorithms to find you candidates based on certain experience or keywords.
Training and onboarding
If your business welcomes hundreds of new starters a month, that’s a lot of induction sessions and welcome meetings you have to run. Wouldn’t it be great if this could all be done virtually? There are specialist virtual reality (VR) providers or consultants who can develop content for you so that you can deliver virtual tours of the office or factories, as well as training “onsite” to get up to speed before work starts. This will not only save you a lot of time but this form of training might also be far more engaging for your staff.
Reporting and planning
Preparing board reports, while important for showing the impact you’re having, are incredibly laborious and time-consuming to prepare. Fortunately, technology can help. It can capture a great deal of information on your workforce beyond demographics, salaries and sick days and by analysing trends in fulfilling open vacancies, resignations, training, skills, employee engagement responses and more, it can predict future opportunities or challenges that you may wish to prepare for. On the subject of assessing employee engagement, technology can help there too. All you need to do is write the questions for the survey, and then technology can do the rest, creating the questionnaire platform, issuing the survey link, collecting responses and then analysing the results for you.
As an HR professional, you have a lot on your plate what with new rules and regulations, training, recruitment, reporting and more. But it can be made a whole lot easier with technology. Need more help in determining where your business needs help most? Get in touch.