Introduction to technology HR planning
The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the trend towards remote work. More than ever, employees and HR managers are demanding better technology and more data to create more adaptive and agile organisations.
Working from home, technology becomes the defacto interface of the workplace, whether in the form of mobile apps or desktop software for meetings, collaboration and communication.
Even without this recent crisis, the trend has been growing and clear for years. Technology is vital for effective HR department human resource planning.
Gartner research confirms this: in a cost-constrained period with about 30% of HR leaders planning for budget cuts, a whopping 90% will maintain or increase their technology investments.
This guide will outline why you should explore the role of technology in your human resource departments.
What is strategic HR?
Organisational strategic planning typically follows a three-stage structure:
- a plan establishing strategic objectives
- operational implementation across the organisation to support the strategy
- monitoring the operations and workforce to track and assess the outcomes.
Human resource planning has traditionally come into its own in the third stage, but HR is using technology to expand its remit so that operational implementation is a growing component of its responsibilities.
What is HR technology?
HR technology (human resources technology) is an omnibus term for the software and hardware that assists with automating the human resource planning in business.
Some of these functions are:
- talent management
- employee payroll
- workforce analytics
- performance management
- benefits administration.
HR technology can include data analysis, machine learning, virtual reality and robotic process automation. The movement to SaaS models on cloud platforms has opened up HR tech to small-to-mid-sized companies that are now enjoying the benefits of innovative HR tech like that provided by Humanforce.
What does success with strategic human resources planning look like?
There’s no doubt that human resources management is adopting technology. In a 2020 Paychex Pulse of HR Survey, 85% of HR line managers claimed that technology “has strengthened their contribution to corporate success”.
When Rockpool Residential Aged Care wanted a user-friendly platform for HR rostering, tracking shifts and compliance, their HR team came to Humanforce for a seamless, cloud-based solution the client described as “a gamechanger for us!”
Xero, one of the world’s most innovative tech companies, wanted to streamline enrolment and benefits forms, reduce paper and avoid spreadsheets. Their partner implemented an intuitive human resource planning solution that has reduced costs, saved time and improved employees’ experience.
Standard Life Group has supplied an HR resource cost optimisation tool to Oracle Human Capital Management Solutions. The initiative is providing a technology platform for recruiting, managing and rewarding employees as well as saving money.
It is on track to deliver:
- 32% ROI over five years
- annual savings of £5.2M
- 25% reduction in HR support headcount
- 40% reduction in number of interface HR systems.
You can see the positive impact technology is having on the strategic planning process.
How technology impacts strategic HR department planning & business strategy
Workforce management software can definitely improve HR planning processes. The use of technology is having a big impact on a range of HR areas, but these are some of the key ones:
Ease of communication with employees
Platforms and apps for email, text and messaging make it much easier for HR staff to stay in touch with employees. A mobile and remote workforce could be anywhere but the office, making a technology solution the answer to HR managers’ prayers.
Mobile onboarding and payroll compliance
New employees find it much easier to get the human resource training and development they need with HR technology. Instead of flipping through paper-based training material, they can manage training at their own pace and assure competence through online assessment tools.
Employee engagement also improves when there is more transparency and autonomy in the process, whether that is for onboarding or issues concerning payroll. Employees can check their HR technology to ensure:
- their hours are recorded correctly
- that any overtime is logged.
Speeds up admin: scheduling and rostering
Rosters and schedules are a persistent challenge for strategic HR planning. The role of technology in human resource management cannot be overstated.
Software that helps manage employee data such as payroll, time tracking, attendance and rosters is a god-send for HR professionals. One general manager said, “I used to dread Mondays. I’d spend most of the day doing rosters and payroll.” The automation of the planning process for these two functions by Humanforce has now made the manager’s job much easier and saved her business money.
Data analysis of employee performance & attendance
Removing paper-based and manual processes from human resource planning is good operational strategy. Not only does data management become easier when it is automated, but it increases HR departments’ efficiency and employee experience.
Workforce analytics helps talent management by allowing employees’ performance and attendance data to be easily analysed. You can make better decisions when they are supported by data, and many of the HR technology tools come with built-in reporting and custom dashboards to tailor reports to your business.
How technology helps human resource management stay relevant and resourceful
An HR manager can reduce costs through the strategic use of technology. Reducing manual systems and siloed spreadsheets means less manpower is required to administer human resources tasks.
HR tech consolidates a number of human resource functions, creating more synergies to reduce staffing requirements. Cost reduction is further enhanced by the increased efficiency of all the users.
Some technology increases employee engagement by allowing staff more accessibility and responsibility for their own shifts and rosters, democratising HR planning and reducing admin costs.
One of the ways organisations can improve their efficiency is by adopting HR tools that allow for employee self-service.
With an employee self-service (ESS) system, staff can fulfil several HR tasks without resorting to paperwork. Some of these tasks include options to:
- add and revise personal information
- view and complete tax forms
- access online pay slips
- perform personal assessments
- confirm employment status, pay and overtime rates
Self-service also allows demand-driven access of organisational information, for example, about holidays, professional development, health insurance and super.
Millennial and Gen Z staff have led the charge for more self-service technology, but all employees have enjoyed the benefits of greater autonomy. Combined with the pandemic, the push to adapt technology in the service of HR has not only built more efficient businesses: it has also boosted their human resource through employee engagement.
Guide new business strategies
HR technology can also assist organisations to be more agile in their planning and their operations.
For example, during the pandemic, some Australian craft beer companies responded to the pub shutdowns by converting excess beer into alcohol for hand sanitiser. Other manufacturers quickly changed tack to produce personal protective equipment during the unprecedented surge in demand.
These new business strategies are far easier to implement when the critical data HR needs is available through more granular data about employees and software tools able to transform that data into actionable insights. Employees’ full complement of skills and interests, beyond their current role, can be much more easily recorded by them and accessed with smart information technology. Again, the role of self-service and employee engagement creates a synergy successful companies leverage to succeed in challenging economic conditions.
Automate HR planning processes
By definition, human resource management is as complex as humans are. All the more reason to free up human resource planning from boring, repetitive tasks to allow for more profound and impactful strategic planning.
Automation through technology is the key to unlock the true potential of HR managers, employees and workforce planning. The clever automation of processes does away with manual handling and paperwork. It accelerates tasks and adds to greater efficiency, not just for the human resources department, but for the entire organisation.
The impact of technology on human resource management is growing every year. Sophisticated machine learning and artificial intelligence is now able to read, record and screen resumes. Augmented reality is being used to onboard new employees.
Strategic HR planning today needs to begin with the new technology trends that are enhancing and even revolutionising HR processes and applications. The potential HR tech has for creating greater employee productivity and employee engagement is vast.
If HR departments and organisations want to thrive in a rapidly accelerating digital workplace, they owe it to themselves to explore how technology in HR can make a profound difference to their human resources.
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