Technology in HR: Optimising workplace productivity and organisational efficiency

29th Oct 2018
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I entered the buzzing five-star coffee shop with only half an hour to spare. I was there to meet a 23-year-old who had promised to dazzle me with his new age human resources (HR) analytics tool. “You must use this with all your clients,” he exclaimed, “It will change how HR works and help companies make profits!” Powerful claims, I thought, for an HR tech vendor. We spent the next 90 minutes on debating on HR technologies and their inexorable application in contemporary HR!

But what is contemporary HR? The answer to that lies in the adage, “The more things change – the more they remain the same!” Today, employee demographics, diversity, profiles and preferences are all drastically different from even just a decade ago. And this is powerfully reflected in the new age workplace culture and the daunting task of managing it. However, while methods and tools of managing people might have significantly transformed, the HR agenda remains about output and productivity in business, for the most part.

Unlike the industrial age of the early 1900s or the personnel management era of the 70s, efficiency for the millennial is mandated with a lot more support, speed, fun and reaffirmation. And that is where technology plays its part!

Here are a few areas where organisations are optimising productivity via the use of technology.

Improved recruiting

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has had the biggest impact on recruitment by making aspects like CV screening, interview scheduling, communication with candidates, measuring aptitude and attitude in potential hires more efficient. Technology also enhances candidate assessment. For example, AI can turn a 15-minute video interview into a set of 20,000 data points on facial movements, intonation and word choice to assess a candidate! Machine learning can automate candidate outreach and streamline employee onboarding. Intelligent bots act as virtual assistants to recruiters, creating new employee profiles and helping staff answer basic questions about benefits, insurance and so on. HR software claim that there is a 71 percent reduction in the cost of hiring and a three-fold increase in recruiter efficiency.

Continuous performance management

Technology continuously tracks the productivity of various teams on a real-time basis, including before and after the addition of new members. AI reveals new insights on talent that can open up entirely new capability pools by identifying a diverse set of experiences, abilities and mindsets that are better predictors of success. Today, tools measure the impact of certain traits on the productivity of teams. These tools help managers identify individuals with the highest probability of success, place them on the right jobs along with a supervisor who has complementary skills. Technology also aids with recommending learning and career path options and even suggests attrition risk.

Rapid workflow and time management

Projects, assets and milestones that are well coordinated and easily accessed can greatly enhance team performance and collaboration and eventually can become a competitive advantage. Many times, organisations have had delays in project work due to frantic last-minute pursuits of important documents or because of the perils of a crashed system!

Employees can be organised across workflows with cloud-based project or task management software, where delays are not an outcome of a system failure or the lack of workflow framework Companies can make every second count using time tracking tools like a Shift Scheduling Software that can reduce confusion, stress and misunderstandings at the workplace.

Apparently, organisations can run almost 79 percent of their workloads on the cloud.

Innovation in virtual learning

Technology augments learning and development across multiple platforms, with global content and effective user interface (VR and AR), making training more fun and real-time. Intellectually and geographically diverse teams can all learn, simultaneously and separately - virtually. AI-based learning technology companies have seen impressive results, claiming a 32 percent increase in employee productivity, and a 43 percent increase in employee retention.

Engagement and communication

Now, we have tools that provide employee feedback, conduct surveys and also function as internal social media. These help to keep engagement levels and productivity at their peak, and inject fun and excitement in an otherwise routine job.

Platforms are able to gather and interpret employee data that range from overall emotional well-being to physical health, providing useful information to the HR to take proactive action. Further, increased use of smartphones, tablets and laptops has made mobile workforce management smooth bringing teammates closer and boosting a collaborative spirit.

Smart ESS - Employee Self-Service is a constant free flow of information and engagement. Smart ESS today gets quick replies to questions and helps find policy related information or even submit transactions without elaborate administrative processes or multiple human interactions.

ESS is also suited for collecting and compiling employee data quickly without human error. Some are cognitive, conversational and smart making employees far more independent. It can also save you from tedious admin issues.

So whether you are a 28-year-old HR manager or a CHRO with 28 years of experience, HR automation creates more time for you to tackle bigger and more important challenges and focus on what you do best: nurturing, cultivating and working with talent. However, it is important to know that technology can’t replace soft skills or substitute the simple comfort and reassurance that comes from speaking to another human being who cares. Did I mention that the more things change, the more they remain the same?

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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