Entering the Brave New World of Digital HR

Digital HR Technology DisruptionDigital technology is changing almost every aspect of modern business. Pervasive smart phone usage (seven billion devices as of 2014) has begun to dissolve the barriers between work and personal life, making it easier for users to take care of business anywhere, anytime. App developers scramble to keep up as consumers demand increasingly responsive, real-time options for keeping their lives in order, and those consumer demands aren’t left at the door when an employee clocks in for work.

Responding to new expectations among workers has prompted many HR departments to seek ways to improve employee experience while also streamlining processes. The trend isn’t just technological; it’s also employee-centric. As companies become more team oriented and collaborative, HR software has stepped in to facilitate better communication, feedback, and employee engagement.

Despite lots of hype about technology disruption in the HR field, however, the reality is that most companies aren’t quite there yet. New research from Deloitte reveals that just 10% of companies use mobile technology for performance management and only 9% are fully ready for digital HR. Still, 72% of business leaders believe digital technology should be a priority, which means we are standing at the cusp of a digital revolution that will benefit both HR professionals and end users.

What Are the Benefits of Digital HR Solutions?

Digital technology isn’t just the next step in technology evolution; it’s disruptive in the sense that it’s transforming the way we do business. In the past, integrated talent management endeavored to make processes and programs easier for HR departments. Digital technology, by contrast, will make things easier for both HR professionals and users. The results will bring numerous benefits:

  • Improved quality of work
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased revenue
  • Better employee engagement and retention

HR software companies are already responding to digital demand with integrated apps, social platforms, and responsive learning. We’re seeing developments like time and attendance apps that can clock an employee in automatically when he or she walks into a particular location, onboarding apps that use video and learning games to keep new employees engaged, and performance apps that make it possible for both managers and employees to receive alerts and take instant action to complete goals and projects or provide feedback.

Bringing Your HR Department Into the Digital Age

HR tends to resist change, but as companies increasingly seek solutions to issues in performance management, team-based organization, employee engagement, and feedback, digital solutions hold the key to creating the culture you want and keeping employees engaged in that culture. The Deloitte report recommends several steps for getting started, including:

  • Start with a digital-first HR strategy. Success with digital will require disruptive technology innovation rather than incremental shifts. Companies will need to create powerful cloud and mobile platforms rather than just designing a new app.
  • Embrace design thinking. The goal is for employees to adopt the tools, whether they are social platforms, mobile apps, or analytics and cloud solutions. For that to happen, tools must be designed for usability and positive user experience, which requires a focus on design, not just function.
  • Follow agile models of development. Agile development requires teamwork for each iteration and should bring together HR operatives, IT developers and designers, employees, and leadership for the best result.
  • Imagine real-time operations. The digital-first mindset seeks to automate and streamline operations in real-time rather than simply focusing on shared services. When every employee has a smartphone, digital HR tech makes it possible to provide real-time access for more efficient decision-making and interaction.
  • View analytics and reporting as part of the platform. Rather than collecting information and feeding it into a report as an add-on feature, digital HR management can provide real-time information and analysis for more efficient problem solving and business intelligence.

Are you in the market for new HR software that can bring your HR department into the digital age? Our software selection tool helps you compare and contrast your options based on the needs of your organization.

About the Author: Susan McClure is our resident content marketer at compareHRIS.com. She writes about HR outsourcing, HRIS, and general employment issues. When she isn’t writing, you might find her browsing shelves at the library, exploring a local hiking trail, or digging in the garden with her family and fur kids.

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