Since COVID-19 swept the world by storm, the life-changing experiences and unity will go down in history – not only did the pandemic affect our personal lives but it also provided huge disruption to the way we work.
However, when times became hard, opportunities were presented to overcome new and unforeseen challenges, which ultimately contributed to enormous growth. This was shown as businesses sufficiently operated remotely, while managing their employee’s needs without physical contact. Limited cashflow throughout the economy meant organisation had to become more creative and intuitive, with these lessons impacting how operations are run a year later.
As technology continues to pave the way for the evolution of business processes, the HR world is now embracing disruptive technology trends, and automation methods that are reshaping the pathways HR leaders lead their workforce.
In an article, MIT Solan identified that 82 percent of Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) say their organisations need an incline in digital-savvy leaders. Despite uncovering this alarming statistic, only 40 percent say their business is building robust pipelines of leaders holding the vital digital skills for the modern workplace.
With this in mind, here’s how the latest technology trends are revolutionising the way HR professionals work by further increasing efficiency and productivity while adapting to the new way of working.
Continuing the hybrid approach
In the not-so-distant past, offices were the central hub of culture and productivity, yet the pandemic has shown we don’t all need to be in the same room for a business to function.
Infact, during the lockdown situation, more than half of UK workers (56%) reported an increase in productivity when working from home. To boot, 50% of workers also reported looking forward to their workplace opening, with 70% hoping their employers will let them work from home more often in the future.
As offices have begun to open back up, HR leaders from all across the country are realising the potential that hybrid working can have on the business. Not only will this show signs of trust to your people, but it’s allowing them to understand what working style is best fit for them.
The Institute of Directors (IoD) Conducted a survey with over 583 leaders in March 2021, excluding those already home working, finding that 63% intend to shift towards one to four days of remote working per week. These statistics really emphasise the shift in transition and the need for HR leaders to encourage the continuation of hybrid working.
Rethinking people and performance management
There is not much room for error in today’s competitive market, and one of the most imperative ways to stay ahead of competitors is to rethink your people and performance management strategies.
Sounds simple? Think again. HR leaders will have seen the massive shift in performance management over the past two years, with it becoming increasingly harder to check up on employees whilst working from home. The people facing function must keep their finger on the pulse of its workforce to ensure productivity levels are high, but in times of COVID-19, morale and well-being are being prioritised, too.
Similarly, rather than dig into the nitty-gritty and figure out which teams did well before COVID-19 and within a restored environment, pinpoint the processes that conduct no actionable data for your workforce and bring light to new processes that contribute in times of crisis. This can often see HR teams rethink a new performance review strategy from top to bottom.
Another alternative could be the introduction of HR technology. With Natural HR all-in-one HR and payroll software, you are able to understand precisely how to help your people improve performance. Compare and track trends in performance by individual, department and across the entire company.
Let’s not forget, you’ll also have a comprehensive, secure database that houses all of your employee information, allowing HR to save time while your people are able to manage their own requests and employee information anywhere, at any time.
Building for crisis
Despite the many challenges, trends and opportunities COVID-19 has presented, if there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s to be prepared for the unexpected and plan for business continuity. Looking back, no one could have foreseen the shift and adaptation businesses have had to undertake over the past year.
As an HR leader, the priority of your people should always be at the forefront of your mind and whether it’s a global pandemic, natural disaster or another unanticipated event, if your people don’t feel comfortable, how will they bring their best self to work?
On the topic of wellbeing at work, 4 in 10 adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression as opposed to the number of 1 in 10 before COVID-19. On top of this, scientists suggest that there will be ever-lasting mental effects within the aftermath of the pandemic, so it’s vital to not only ensure the safety of your people, but also their wellbeing.
In our HR Expert webinar series, we invited special guest Orlaith O’Sullivan as she showcased practical approaches HR can use to combat anxiety and help their people avoid burnout within the workplace.
Implementing new waves of AI
In Human Resources, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is currently revolutionising how professionals automate critical day-to-day activities, including how recruitment is executed, employee development is implemented, and constantly drives new sources of people analytics data. Despite AI being regularly used in today’s landscape, it’s undeniable that it brings many benefits that are helping HR to focus on more strategic tasks that need a human touch.
Ken Lazarus, CEO of Scout Exchange, sat down with the HR Technologist to discuss the impact of AI within HR. “We will finally see AI having a significant impact on human resources. This is being driven by an increase in the use of cloud-based computing power tools, as well as increasingly sophisticated algorithms and HR-focused applications.
“AI is being used to narrow potential candidates through technologies such as chatbots and candidate scoring. Here at Scout, our AI-driven recruitment marketplace connects employers with thousands of top-performing speciality recruiters to fill positions fast with the greatest talent”.
As Ken touched on, AI programs provide recruiters and HR professionals alike with the ability to filter through thousands of candidate applications, providing enhanced skill matching and competency identification to highlight the shining stars from the unqualified applicants. To boot, HR can use chatbots to efficiently communicate with candidates before interviews, providing the right answers to many common queries. Overall, saving professionals valuable hours throughout the recruitment process.
Now we’ve seen the capability for AI to create a superior talent pool, but what about keeping workforces updated with the latest skills? Organisations are beginning to adopt a process which collaborates AI with AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality). Combining these forces, HR now has the power to create tailored programs which are evolving with the current landscape of this ever-changing digital world.
Utilising People Analytics
As the importance of people analytics continues to rise, it’s about utilising the vast array of employee data within your business to yield insights that support the growth and decision making of your organisation’s strategy. HR departments will be able to incorporate data-driven insights to develop their people with better policies, learning and development procedures, performance management techniques, and improve the overall employee experience (needs which have been highlighted during the pandemic).
A recent survey by OrgVue supports these points, citing that more than 89% of organisations are using people analytics in some fashion, with HR becoming more of a ‘data-driven’ function than finance.
The objective of people analytics is to identify problems and improve processes you cannot otherwise see without the right insights. By using predictive reporting, HR will be able to outline areas that need rethinking such as reducing employee turnover, creating interactive training, focusing on employer branding, creating a work-life balance with a hybrid working approach and more.
Adopting Cloud Technology
Influential HR analyst, Josh Bersin, has been quoted to say “The question for most companies is no longer ‘if’ you go to the Cloud, but rather ‘when and how?” Coupled with the fact that Gartner has predicted over the previous year, 60% of global enterprises would have invested in a cloud-deployed HR system. These statistics showcase why so many professionals are adopting a cloud approach as a recovery to COVID-19, but what can you expect from some of the software’s key features?
- Core HR database
- Employee & Manager self-service
- Time & Attendance
- Performance Management
- Recruitment – ATS
- Document Management
- HR Analytics & Reporting
With Natural HR’s all-in-one HR and payroll software, you can easily manage your HR department and enable professionals at the frontline of the rapidly evolving modern workplace to engage, manage and pay your people. The system ensures everything becomes easier. Admin is quickly automated, employees can self-serve, and you’ll have access to all of your centralised data as beautiful reports anytime, anywhere.
Natural HR also includes a fully integrated payroll system that ensures costly mistakes in pay are a thing of the past with one single system to manage salary changes, bonuses, new starters and much more, backed up by our friendly team of experts.
By adopting a cloud approach and taking on a variety of new technology trends, HR professionals will be able to create a powerful digital strategy that aligns with the organisation’s missions and culture while effectively maximising technology investments to reshape the way HR works your entire workforce.