HR technology – embracing the present and the future
Human Resources Oxford Dictionary definition plural noun: the personnel of a business or organisation, regarded as a significant asset in terms of skills and abilities
There is no doubting the essential role of HR within any business, large or small, however in this ever-changing digital age the increasing importance of technology within HR cannot be underestimated either. At every touch point in the recruitment and HR lifecycle there is some use of technology and in many ways, such as candidate management processes, it often dominates in the form of an ATS, CMS or similar. But how well is it embraced when it is adopted by a company, how well is technology being used and how well does it perform for ongoing business process improvement?
In the annual Accenture Technology Vision 2012 report, technology was highlighted as a key differentiator for business and CIOs were warned not to ignore its importance. Technology isn’t just for IT or IS departments though; all business leaders, including HR, should realise the significance of using the right tools in the right place at the right time. And don’t be afraid of change or improvement if there is a better way of doing things. If you are not measuring and tracking it, how do you know what is performing well and what needs improvement?
Within certain business areas such as sales and finance it has been the norm to analyse and review performance but in the ‘softer’, human business elements there has been a resistance with the argument that the people aspects are more intangible and ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’. In our world of open communication and a personal digital imprint of everyone’s life in some form, the feedback culture in HR needs to be embraced – and fast. Early adopters always benefit and it’s not just because they are pioneers; it’s about leading the way for best practice. And it’s not enough to argue anymore that ‘we are too busy doing our day jobs to look ahead’. An article about culture and decision making at Apple, Pixar and others showed just how beneficial having an open mind to change can be. When you take this a step further to analysing key trends within HR and adjusting accordingly, the benefits of continuous improvement far outweigh maintaining the status quo. There needs to be an acceptance of the pain threshold that change can sometimes bring but when you consider big data in the HR world and how to best manage it, the use of technology and the evidence that reporting can provide makes clear business sense. With the focus on metrics, analytics and dashboards business leaders need real time data that provides tangible decision support.
Many believe that the role of HR in recruitment is becoming more business focused, and that recruitment will naturally be approached as one of many talent management tools. Recruitment is far more strategic now with talent sourcing, succession planning and human capital management being incorporated in HR and company performance objectives. Technological advancements are fundamental in shaping and reporting for strategic development. Companies should consider not only what is currently in use, but also what is new to the market.
When you are considering innovation in the digital world it is important to remember the three T’s – technology, team and traction.
- What does it do?
- What are the people in the business like that you will be working with?
- What is the stickiness or longevity of it?
It’s not just about the potential business success of the partnership that you will be working with; it is about the difference it will make in the short, medium and long term to achieving your business goals.
Knowledge Infusion produced a first class slideshare on the use of technology in HR, including real time data management and the importance of feedback. And as we live in a feedback society, with many job applicants being potential customers as well, the candidate experience is a key factor in HR sourcing strategy that should not be ignored. In fact, early adopters such as G4S are seeing real benefit from measuring candidate feedback and the ROI comes from reduced hiring costs, improved internal processes and an aligned, embedded employer brand from the very beginning.
So when considering business growth in the current economic climate, business leaders be warned – can you afford to ignore technology and human capital management ?