One of the key tasks facing any HR team is increasing employee productivity, as more productive employees translate into a healthier bottom line.
With a productive workforce, you cut time-wasting, improve communication, boost engagement and raise happiness levels across your organisation – resulting in lower costs and higher profits.
And there are now a host of tools out there that, when used properly, could result in higher employee productivity.
Here are five ways technology can help you get the most out of your workforce:
1. Improve your reward programme
Praising and rewarding staff has long been a mainstay of business best practice. And with good reason, as it has a positive effect on productivity – a 2016 survey by Globoforce found that 78 percent of employees would work harder if they were better recognised.
But tech now allows you to take things a step further. A number of new software packages are on the market that use social technology to simplify and democratise this process by allowing employees themselves to single out peers for praise.
These use existing internal communication channels such as Slack or in some cases, an inbuilt social stream, allowing employees to interact with each other by liking posts, commenting and socially recognising their peers for good work, helping to improve your company’s internal communication and colleague recognition.
In addition, these systems give managers an ongoing window into staff attainment, which can help avoid the ‘recency bias’ often associated with annual reviews.
Having good people in the wrong jobs can seriously harm your productivity, but AI-based technology now makes it easier than ever to assess the personality and work skills of new recruits and ensure they are placed in positions that complement their skills and enhance their productivity.
You can also go one step further by measuring and tracking employee productivity of a particular team or department after the addition of a new member. You can watch over time to see how productivity is impacted by the addition of employees with certain personality traits, which gives you very valuable information in regards to future recruitment and role designation.
3. Communicate across multiple platforms
HR software offers you a multitude of different ways to talk to employees. This is good news, as people of different generations and personality traits (e.g. introvert/extrovert) like to communicate in different ways. While some may crave direct human contact, others shudder at the thought – and want nothing more than a digital message.
But because technology offers so many options, you can provide a range of methods and avoid the rigid communication rules that still dominate many organisations – such as face-to-face meetings for performance issues or always calling HQ to report sick leave. This removes the fear that surrounds communication, increases engagement and boosts employee productivity.
And new communication technology can also solve the problem of disengagement and loneliness amongst remote workers. This is illustrated by a recent survey on workplace satisfaction, undertaken by HR consulting firm Robert Half, which revealed staff who never met their team had the lowest levels of happiness and interest – which is bad news for productivity. But you can now solve this problem by regularly bringing people together on a video conference call, wherever they are.
4. Turn to self-service
Thanks to the Cloud, self-service HR is more affordable than ever. And it offers a range of benefits that can all boost employee productivity.
That’s because it removes many of the gripes and niggles that people complain about – such as the confusion that so often surrounds annual leave, with no-one sure when they can and can’t have time off. Self-service HR systems put this in the hands of the employees – so anyone can check a digital calendar to see when leave is available, then put in a request for approval.
Self-service HR simplifies many more functions, such as submitting expenses, updating personal information and accessing training programmes.
One of the big new tech innovations in HR is gamification, where the principles and rules of games are applied to certain processes. This follows the theory that, when playing a game, people become more absorbed and engaged and feel a greater sense of achievement when accomplishing a task.
For example, PwC Hungary recently introduced a digital game into its recruitment process. Prospective candidates were put into teams and asked to solve the type of problems they would face in the job itself. Managers reported that candidates who had played the game performed better in face-to-face interviews and adapted more easily to their role, as they had already been exposed to the company culture through the game.
Skilled and experienced people will always be the backbone of a good HR department.
However, with technology becoming increasingly important to the bottom line of most companies – HR must adapt to this change and embrace its potential. Utilising just some of the amazing opportunities offered by HR software can increase efficiency and help both HR professionals and the wider workforce – a process that will increase productivity across any business.