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The Art of Navigating Advancing Technology

Planning for a digital transformation

HRO Today

To review the original article click here 29th Nov 2018

There is no denying that technology is revolutionizing HR as we know it—and the pace of change is accelerating at lightning speed. According to the most recent estimates, there are now around 12 million companies in the US alone employing more than 160 million people—that’s more than the population of Russia. Talent Acquisition and HR departments have been working overtime and within this boom there’s limitless possibilities for tech innovation.

What’s more, we have not yet hit the peak of the bell curve. Demand for increasingly intuitive, agile and complex solutions is continuing to rise as HR leaders seek innovative ways to streamline processes, increase efficiencies and improve engagement—and the market is certainly responding to these desires.

A recent analysis by HRO Today has found that in the third quarter of 2018 alone, there were almost 50 major announcements recorded around advancing technologies to support HR, with 70% of these coming from companies based in North America. During the same period, there were 17 different references to new platforms being brought to market to support the function. While HR technology is a catch-all term which encompasses a plethora of diverse and disparate offerings—from relatively simple payroll Platform as a Service (PaaS) extensions to training portals—there were three areas of technology development which saw particularly high levels of activity in recent months: mobile, AI and platforms which facilitate communication between employers and their audiences.

The list of innovations, which touches on areas including candidate and employee experience, staff wellbeing and feedback, also suggests that we have now firmly moved beyond simply gathering data to applying analytics in increasingly intelligent ways. It certainly makes exciting reading. We are seeing the emergence of fresh predictive hiring and talent management tools, new models to measure engagement and recruiting platforms designed to turn large volumes of loosely structured data into complete professional profiles.

Against this backdrop, it is no wonder that HR leaders may feel overwhelmed with the volume of spoils on offer, or that they are behind the curve in terms of adoption. In fact, according to PwC’s latest Global HR Technology Survey, just 14% of employers say they are satisfied with their current HR technologies.

However, it is vital that practitioners never join the ‘race to innovate’ for the wrong reasons. They must start from the ground up and consult with their teams to discover where the pain points are and how these can be addressed to boost productivity and engagement. The new digital landscape is impacting the skills required of talent acquisition leaders, who must be able to cut through the noise to build digital strategies which reflect real-time business needs.

While technical understanding is, of course, becoming increasingly important in the field, having the intuition to look beyond the smoke and mirrors and ask the right questions is key. By doing their research, taking a ‘best in breed’ approach and investing in solutions that will have a demonstrable and measurable impact on organizational objectives, HR leaders can ensure that they channel their resources in the smartest way.

Another challenge which today’s HR leaders may have to navigate on the path to success  is legacy systems, which were often originally designed to meet the needs of a by-gone era, and may have since been patched-up, overlaid and extended with varying levels of success. Implementing new platforms on top of existing frameworks can create a system which is, at best, clunky and inefficient; at worst, a severe threat to employee engagement levels, staff retention and revenue generation. For this reason, it is vital that decision makers do the requisite due diligence before hastily buying into a solution which—while looking great in the glossy marketing collateral—may just not work for them.

The current buzz around AI and the future of work means that decision makers are eager to jump on the technology bandwagon through a fear of being left behind—and with such innovative and exciting developments hitting the market at a continual rate, who can blame them. However, by identifying the tangible results they are hoping to achieve through digital transformation, understanding the capabilities of their existing systems and joining the dots, HR leaders can create slick and future-fit systems which succeed in boosting engagement, efficiency and productivity.

This is an excerpt from the ‘Human Resources New Technology Quarterly Summary: Q3 2018.’ Click to read the full report.

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