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10 years of HR digital transformation in a single year

By 03/12/2020 COVID-19, Technology
digital transformation

It’s fair to say that 2020 hasn’t been the year that most had organisations expected. With furlough schemes, redundancies, mental health issues, greater remote working and an ever-changing set of rules for the workplace, HR teams have really had their work cut out this year.

According to Gartner, 80% of organisations didn’t have the technology needed for HR to do their jobs effectively during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, even though the majority of organisations had digital workplace programs in place.

Why was this the case?

Although digital transformation programs were in place, it was always a slow process to implement any new tech. This was likely down to the involvement of too many stakeholders, finance being reluctant to spend without an immediate ROI, indecisiveness around user adoption and the replacement of legacy systems amongst other reasons.

The result? A process where new tech takes a back seat to other business priorities and rollout becomes cumbersome and slow.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic organisations HAD to accelerate their digital transformation programs to meet the new, overnight challenges they faced, including large numbers of their workforce now working from home. They needed to put tech in place to allow them to communicate better and continue to perform their jobs effectively.

What’s more, HR professionals expect most of their digital transformation processes to be long lasting and are already making the kinds of investments that all but ensure they will stick.

During the pandemic organisations and industries as a whole have responded in turn, showing a rapid shift toward interacting with customers through digital channels. Adoption rates are also years ahead of where they were even last year. According to a survey by McKinsey & Co, respondents are three times likelier now than before the crisis to say that at least 80 percent of their customer interactions are digital in nature.

The shift from on-premise to SaaS

For a long time, on-premise has been the primary way to implement software. Usually, there would be an upfront payment and ongoing maintenance for an in-house IT team to manage. Software-as-a-Service or SaaS has been quickly replacing on-premise solutions for the past 10 years. However, due to the pandemic, this has accelerated massively. The number of organisations now adopting software such as Zoom, MS Teams, Monday.com or Asana has skyrocketed – the reason why their share price has done the same this year.

HR and payroll software is no different. Organisations have realised that they still need to manage and engage their employees even when they are working remotely. Traditional methods such as face-to-face meetings or handing in completed spreadsheets for processing needed to be replaced almost overnight. Here at Natural HR, we’ve seen an influx of HR professionals looking to introduce our system to their teams this year even though they didn’t plan to for at least another year.

This has been confirmed by a survey that was recently shared by the Sunday Times that states 79 percent of businesses increased their digital transformation budget this year. The same survey also showed that 37 percent of businesses placed remote working technology as their top priority.

Software adoption has increased

Naturally, some employees are resistant to change and introducing new software can be daunting for them with leaders often facing resistance. However, during 2020, digital transformation has been the forefront of the conversation. News outlets have reported on the government using video calls, popular TV shows have also introduced virtual audiences and guest speakers via video, and even sports organisations have attempted to recreate the stadium atmosphere using technology.

As the title of this article suggests, this year has seen ten years of digital transformation forced upon us by the pandemic. It may have been the push that we needed though as according to a recent survey by McKinsey & Co, 75 percent of people using digital channels for the first time indicate that they will continue to use them when things return to ‘normal’.

What next?

If there’s one positive that comes from the COVID pandemic, it will be the number of organisations that will continue to adopt a paperless office. Their accelerated digital transformation programs have ultimately replaced paper and print, something We can’t see reverting, ever.

Another trend that we can see happening is the importance of employee value and wellbeing. 2020 has shown that it’s people that help organisations get through tough times and that their wellbeing is directly linked to their performance. We believe the emphasis on providing employees with an outlet to engage with the organisation and manage their personal information will accelerate further. Increased flexible working and regular discussions around mental health will become easier as many organisations have already invested in the technology to aid this.

Finally, we believe that the organisations that resisted investing in their digital transformation programs will struggle to compete as they will be slower to act to market conditions, find it challenging to recruit top talent and will lack the communication channels of their competitors.

Although we’ve seen ten years of digital transformation in a year, We believe that it’s here to stay and organisations need to adapt otherwise they will see a speedy decline.

Thinking of introducing HR and payroll software into your digital transformation program? Speak to Natural HR, and we’ll happily give you the guidance you need.

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About Natural HR

Natural HR is a cloud-based HR software company for growing businesses with 100+ employees. Since launching in 2010, we’ve been building a comprehensive suite of HR functionality that equips the small to medium-sized enterprise with everything needed to build an effective and efficient HR operation.

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