The Evolution of HR with Digitisation.
Published: Thursday, September 9th, 2021
In 2020 Covid-19 accelerated our need and desire to evolve in the workplace, and it happened FAST. With 88% of organisations globally moving to a remote working environment, business practices across the board had to be re-imagined. All of a sudden, those tasks and interactions we only ever imagined happening in the physical world, such as business travel and face-to-face conversation, were all moved online.
New technologies were rolled out almost overnight to ensure the continuation of collaboration and communication across functions. Within organisiations, people and teams had to adapt and initiate new ways of working. Platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom became a household name, and new processes were quickly adopted to maintain productivity.
As Covid-normal and #lockdown-life continued into 2021 we realised that #WFH (work from home) was here to stay. With an estimated 70% of the workforce set to continue to work remotely by 2025 we can be certain that some evolution of remote work will continue well into the future.
What would have taken organisations years to adopt and change-manage through internal bureaucracy and red tape, was in many cases an overnight pivot, and while this has been felt across all business functions, HR has often bore the brunt of this impact.
The role of HR is intrinsically human – and meeting both employer and employee obligations has become increasingly difficult in this remote, contactless workplace. Office based, person-to-person contact will of course eventually return, but for the foreseeable future we are likely to see a hybrid workplace continue to be the new norm.
While many HR functions have benefited from technology in recent years - think Artificial Intelligence aiding the recruitment and profiling process, or the various online performance management systems. Today, HR has an even greater opportunity to benefit from technology, in particular, through Knowledge Management systems and Self-Serve platforms. Enabling greater focus on the ‘Human’ aspect of Human Resources, which really, as the name implies, is all about the people.
Thinking about the average day in the life of the HR team, imagine how many individual emails, chats, phone calls, are piling up, all in the similar vein of – where do I access my payslip? How much leave have I accrued? Where is that policy on harassment? Parental leave? Workplace giving? And so on. Employees are spending approximately 2 hours a day searching for information, which isn’t an efficient use of anyone’s time. Imagine if this information was readily available in a few short clicks?
Knowledge Management Systems that provide self service opportunities are the the game changer that HR teams need to adopt to lead the way in an optimised future hybrid workplace. With recent surveys revealing that of the businesses who have adopted HR knowledge platforms 70% reported savings upwards of 10% or more - measurable and very tangible business value.
But perhaps most importantly, the freed-up time that knowledge systems allow can be far better invested in addressing the broader, more pertinent issues of employees mental health, wellbeing, professional and personal development in a time where this has never been more important.
The fear of becoming robotic in our communications or being intimidated and overwhelmed by software is often the biggest hurdle teams face. But today's digital HR solutions don’t require you to be an IT expert. Intuitive user lead software such as the automated chat/answers bot Nugget is prompted by the simplest of inputs to quickly and easily provide the answers and information requested. Benefiting both remote and office-based employees by ensuring everyone is kept on the same page and gathering information in the same way.
Access to consistent information that can be updated live to maintain relevance and currency, can help do away with some of the outdated tribal knowledge of old, that is so often shared and re-shared like Chinese whispers among employees. A single source of truth that is cloud based and accessible on any device, is always current, and ensures that important information is never lost or held within a single person or group.
Technologies don’t need to take over all of our social, face to face workplace interactions. But it can give time back to HR to ensure that the more relevant, value adding and meaningful human interactions are addressed, while these knowledge systems take care of the day to day non-personal information sharing. This digitisation of information can improve employee productivity, with 74% of organisations reporting productivity increases of 10-40% allowing HR to invest their time in those areas that Covid-19 has bought sharply into focus.