Human Resources has never been more necessary. In these unprecedented times, where working from home has become the new norm, the need for good HR has dramatically increased.
Those in HR roles within companies are now the co-drivers of organisations, along with the CEOs, in both creating and demanding organisational excellence.
The efforts to achieve such excellence – through a focus on learning, quality, teamwork, and re-engineering – are increasingly being driven by the adoption of technology. So how can HR leverage this technology in order to build the business of the future – particularly when the traditional definition of the HR role may no longer meet the new business and workforce challenges of the 21st century?
HR in the driving seat
If HR is no longer just an arm, but part of the beating heart of a business, then HR roles must operate day-to-day as part of the business leadership team, and take responsibility for driving and owning business outcomes.
In order to do this, however, today’s HR roles require significant overhaul. This is because often HR roles have traditionally sat in the more generalist camp. As HR now has a greater need than ever to align with the CEO, in order to help build the business of the future, HR and the CEO need to become equal co-pilots in the driving seat.
There is a huge opportunity right now for HR to present itself as a solution that will lead to business outcomes being met, as well as drive dynamic transformational change within an organisation. Leveraging innovative technology is certainly a way to do this.
Today’s average large company has eleven ‘systems of record’, for example databases, holiday trackers or ways to log sick leave. With such a convoluted HR system, where the left hand doesn’t always know what the right hand is doing, it is not only expensive to have so many systems but also difficult to maintain a slick, ‘business of the future’.
With this in mind, it is useful for HR leaders to remember that effective HR technology implementations don’t have to be system replacements or automation projects – they can be business transformations.
Technology and people: The perfect passengers
Of this new, digital workplace, technology is truly the foundation. Despite this, the pain points are rife: is it not true that we only seem to notice the tech we are using when it doesn’t work? In order for HR to become a co-pilot of the business of the future, technology has to play a key part.
How can a company reduce high staff turnover through research on tenures, for example, without access to the tools required to carry out such research? However, despite a growing need for technology to carry out HR improvements, many businesses claim that a more strategic approach to HR remains unquantified and poorly understood.
Indeed, a new report by UNLEASH reveals only 16% of global leaders consider their HR technology projects to have been highly successful. Moreover, only 15% said they are fully satisfied that their HR technology programs achieved their intended goals – and a mere 11% believe they improved the employee experience as intended.
Our research shows that, whilst technology still plays a fundamental role in enabling successful HR Tech projects, there is a lack of success and a sense of discontent when it comes to the implementation.
HR technology is no longer simply about adding tech features to existing processes. There are still gaps where HR requires technological support to help bolster its function.
For example, HR is missing the ability to, for example, consistently embed data analytics into day-to-day HR processes and to then use their predictive power to drive better decision making.
Indeed, a recent piece of research from LinkedIn reported a three-fold increase in HR professionals in North America who list analytics skills and keywords on their profiles over the last five years. Technology and people, it is clear, are becoming more entwined – and they are the perfect passengers to have once HR is in the driving seat.
UNLEASH research found that highly successful projects are more likely to be those that operate in a way where HR systems are change-enablers rather than just operational props or system upgrades.
Treating HR technology as a lever for business transformation from redesigning jobs and careers, through to remastering workflows to enable new ways of working is proven to be a more successful approach. For businesses, this is not just about adding the technology; it’s about seeing how developments can measurably boost organisational performance too.
HR no longer sits alongside the business but is an integral part of it – and technology can help this integration to work.
Technological tools provide a new opportunity for the function to reach its potential and drive real business value, but crucially, only when deployed correctly and with clarity of purpose.
Achieving organisational excellence is entirely dependent on the work of HR, and so it is because of that one singular fact that today, the number-one focus in HR is employee experience.
The act of designing micro-experiences that help employees, managers, and executives do their jobs better, gain more information about work and the workforce, and find ways to make work easier cannot and should not be underestimated. If done right, businesses of the future will be able to embrace a technological transformation that will see HR and the CEO as equal co-pilots.