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Digitization of Human Resources

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Digital workplaces are growing and with this growth comes a myriad of options.  Through technology enabled solutions that have a user centric approach, adequate data, and the right skills strategy, Human Resource leaders have the chance to transform their organisations and drive businesses forward.

Here we explore 4 key outcomes that can be achieved through the digitisation of HR, and provide considerations on how to approach implementation of digital transformation across HR.

Four key outcomes that can be achieved through the digitisation of HR:

  1. Connect people to your business strategy through data and help executives know what they need to know about talent to make critical decisions in a timely manner
  2. Unlock your workforce potential though integrated technology that enables skills-based management, development and deployment of your people
  3. Enhance employee experience by deploying automation, AI and chatbots to provide real-time and simple user interface to HR processes, policies and systems
  4. Achieve higher degrees compliance of data security and personal information handling as efficiently as possible through automation and streamlined processes

 

1. Connect people to your business strategy through data and help executives know what they need to know about talent to make critical decisions in a timely manner

Data plays a critical role in helping executives navigate through changing and challenging times, and technology is the key that can unlock its value.  Often, we find that HR data is isolated in many different systems that service siloed teams across the HR function. The lack of coherence that this creates makes it more difficult for HR leaders to connect the people strategy to metrics the business cares about.

Knowing your organisation through data is not about cyclical reporting.  It is about having a global view on the talent in your organisation though coordinated data, understanding the story behind the data, and producing insights aligned to business metrics.  Access to real-time data through technology-enabled data management, reporting and dashboards assist executives to respond to immediate business needs in a dynamic environment.

 

2. Unlock your workforce potential though integrated technology that enables skills-based management, development and deployment of talent

Knowing the skills required to deliver on your business strategy is the first step, but what is next?  Being able to be able to assess who currently has the required skills, determine what re-skilling is needed internally, and also have access to a broad talent pool that can deliver on these skills will be vital to maintaining an organisation’s competitive advantage and will require expansion of the current data set used in talent management and L&D.

Remaining competitive in the changing business environment and future-proofing our organisations will, in part, involve re-skilling the workforce.  Effectively re-skilling your workforce requires accessing and continually evolving the data set that considers when, where, how and what employees are learning.  AI enabled technology can help employees build consistent learning habits and provide them with the opportunity to learn in the flow of work to develop and practice the required skills; as well as provide acknowledgement and reward skill acquisition.

Skills based total talent management through integrated technology will help organisations pivot and ensure that the people with the right skills are deployed onto high impact projects, or to solve critical client issues.  This approach opens up access to a broad talent pool that encompasses permanent employees, casuals, contingent workforce, consultants, partners and the labour marketplace.  Managing skills-based total talent management requires an expansive view and access to multi-channel talent pool that is developed and managed in line with the critical skills that are required to achieve business outcomes.

 

3. Enhance employee experience by deploying automation, AI and chatbots to provide real-time and simple user interface to HR processes, policies and systems

Developments in consumer technology have changed the user expectations of business applications, and most organisations are yet to change outdated systems and processes that are cumbersome and at times very manual.  The infusion of data-enabled services into ever more aspects of life (think Netflix, Spotify and Amazon) has had a trickle on effect with 70% of employees now expecting a personalised experience at work.

Thankfully, we can introduce AI, chatbots and automation into standard and everyday HR processes and functions to enhance the employee experience.  AI driven Learning Experience Platforms help learning teams move from creating content to creating conditions for learning that can be embedded into to the flow of work: enabling personalized and social learning, and making skill development personalized, social and a part of everyday routines.  Chatbots enable logging sick leave in real time.  Smart automated employee dashboards allow for easy access to personal data, leave balances and upcoming events in real time on an employee’s mobile device.

Making the employee experience better through digitisation is a continuous design process that develops over time: as you implement the design changes you need to assess their effects on employees, revise if necessary and move forward.

 

4. Achieve higher degrees compliance of data security and personal information handling as efficiently as possible through automation and streamlined processes

Paper forms, contracts and other important employee documentation has traditionally required a lot of manual processing creating data handling risks, and the high volume of paper needed large storage areas.  Technology enabled processes can help you be compliant with data and personal information requirements and reduce storage needs.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a technology for taking on repetitive and tedious tasks in a process that do not require specific knowledge, understanding or perception.  RPA can carry out transactions such as manipulation of structured or semi-structured data, interact with other systems (office tools, ERP, mainframes, etc), and trigger actions (send email, call a program, etc).  RPA applies well to collecting personal data through onboarding, managing personal data changes, and collating documents where information needs to be entered into one or more systems as well as appear in the employee’s personnel file.  Applying RPA to these types of processes minimises handling of sensitive data and streamlines the process to achieve a more efficient and effective outcome.

Another area of HR processes that digitisation can improve is document digitisation.  That is, taking the existing hard copy documents in the employee personnel file and converting into digital format for ease of accessibility and storage efficiency.  This gives benefits in personal productivity (less manual handling), process productivity (quicker processing, access to real-time data) and control (reduce risk & increase compliance).

 

Considerations when implementing digital transformation across HR

We encourage our clients to take a holistic approach to the digitisation of Human Resources. Review your current systems and processes and assess future needs of the organization, then critically assess what integrated technology solution meets the need.  Your core HR platform will form the base to which you can add to meet your requirements.  Develop a road map that evolves and take a staged approach to meeting the outcome.

Some tips to consider:

  • Start with the end in mind: identify true metrics that determine effectiveness and consider both the people experience and business outcomes aligned to your strategy.
  • Start now, test, review, revise: use the process to refine your outcome. Build a prototype, pilot it with a select group, observe, refine, repeat with a larger group.  Moving to a digital workplace is an evolution that requires continuous and deliberate development linked to measurable business outcomes.
  • Review processes: look at your current processes to understand which still serve a purpose and which can be enhanced with technology.
  • Use technology as an enabler: be careful not to just optimise efficiency over user experience. Too often, digital transformation is viewed merely as fixing a technical or informational deficit with more up-to-date tools, applications, processes and training. Technology is an enabler, and we need to consider how to humanise the experiences at work through it.
  • Build skills: the drive to digitise your workplace can easily surpass your existing capabilities and resources. Take the time to assess current capabilities against future requirements and identify gaps, and then develop and activate a plan that builds skills and brings technology, data, process and people together.
  • Help the change stick: lean on the principles of neuroscience and design thinking, and always ensure that whatever you are doing can be explained simply, yet with passion. Make it an iterative process and deploy nudge techniques to help people along the way.  Consider a multi-speed application with clear deployment milestones that have key performance indicators so that people/groups know when they are ready to progress.  This allows people progress and adopt at their own pace decreasing the fear and increasing the toward response.

 

Author: Vanessa McPherson, General Manager HR Path Australia