Technology is rapidly changing the way business is done around the globe, yet many HR offices have been slow to keep up. Some have more paper than a Kinko’s simply because the idea of losing or mismanaging electronic versions of important records and documentation is too scary. This kind of thinking is understandable, but it’s time for HR to become leaner, more efficient and tech-savvy.
To find out how HR tech can help your company save money, time and effort, we reached out to Trish McFarlane, HR tech expert and CEO of H3 HR Advisors in St. Louis. Her main advice? Dive in! Get out there and try the technology. It can seem overwhelming, but many of the vendors offering suite or point solutions will happily give you information about their products and other insights into how technology can benefit your organization, she says.
Here’s how HR tech can benefit specific functions at your company.
“One of the most time-consuming tasks in HR is compliance. Since 2008, HR departments have seen cuts in their staffing levels, but no cuts in their compliance requirements,” McFarlane says. A one-person payroll or HR department can easily become overwhelmed in this climate, but an investment in a technology solution can help ease compliance headaches with payroll, benefits and other state and federal requirements. It can free up the HR staff to focus on strategic HR tasks, like talent acquisition and talent management, she says.
Traditional payroll providers like ADP, Ceridian and Paychex are a good payroll technology solution, McFarlane says. “But don’t count out the larger HCM [human capital management] suite solutions such as SAP SuccessFactors, Oracle and others,” she says. “In fact, many of the newer HCM providers offer payroll solutions as well.” With a suite option you can get payroll services and many other functions.
No matter which approach you choose, McFarlane says, the important questions to consider are: Will their solution provide all the automatic tax calculations and tracking regardless of state or country? How are I-9s handled? How are reports provided?
Talent acquisition is the busiest area of HR technology lately, McFarlane says. “If you have needs in sourcing, recruiting, assessing, screening, selecting or onboarding, you will be able to choose between several suite providers and best-of-breed solutions,” she says.
One new way that tech is helping acquisition is the focus on recruitment marketing, which covers all of the different ways the talent acquisition team finds, attracts, engages and nurtures qualified applicants to fill jobs now and in the future. This holistic approach to the hiring process is one way that talent acquisition and HR leaders are embracing technology to make their work more productive and effective, McFarlane says.
HR technology can now assess how your employees feel about their jobs and which people are likely to leave. In terms of engagement, you pick a timetable you like and the technology can get feedback from your employees on that schedule, McFarlane says. “You can still find the traditional annual performance management models, the more recent weekly or monthly check-ins, or pulse survey tools to measure employee satisfaction or happiness on a daily basis,” she says. “The point is that the technology is there, and it really depends on your overall HCM strategy as to which type of solution will work best in your organization’s culture.”
No longer content just looking at the past, HR tech is now aiming to predict the future. It’s still relatively new, but it’s there and leaders are starting to get more comfortable using predictive analytics, McFarlane says. “The biggest question I get from practitioners is how do they know it will really predict behavior. The indicator I look for is what type of science is being used to back up the claims or predictions the tool makes,” she says, adding that she likes tools like Infor’s Talent Science, which uses science plus behavioral and performance data to make accurate workforce predictions. “Knowing the predictions are backed by science and directly tied to your key metrics is what can lead to increased use of these types of tools,” she says.
Another great way technology is helping increase and measure engagement is through communication tools. HR and recruiting professionals always want to create a welcoming environment for employees and candidates. Dashboards where company information, job descriptions, career development information and health and benefits information lives is a great way to do this, McFarlane says. “This benefits the employee or candidate by creating a place for them to obtain the information they need in a format they like (PC, tablet, smartphone) and gives them the opportunity to connect with their leaders and other employees,” she says.
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