Human resources departments are typically a frenzy of activity, but technology has given HR professionals tools that help reduce administrative tasks so that they can focus on issues that require more hands-on attention.
Before mobile apps and cloud computing, HR was defined by piles of paperwork and a constant struggle to keep up with compliance, hiring, and unending stacks of employee information. By simplifying responsibilities like recruitment, record keeping, and payroll, technology has drastically improved efficiency, accuracy, and even employee morale.
- Less Guesswork as Recruitment Goes Digital
Recruiting new hires is a time-consuming and costly process, but it’s getting easier to find skilled people who are a great fit for your company.
In the past, recruiters would search high and low for employees using face-to-face networking, job postings, and even the newspaper. After winnowing hundreds of applicants to a few for the final interview stage—even to one final individual—some recruiters would find their carefully selected candidates actually fell short. That resulted in both time and money wasted, resulting in the selection of the wrong person for the job.
Between social networks like LinkedIn and pre-employment screening tests, HR departments can now reach a wide audience and more effectively and efficiently evaluate an applicant’s skills and personality, with a view of selecting the right fit for both the position and the company as a whole.
However, the hiring process isn’t the only one that’s been upgraded as a result of technology. We now have both a global and a mobile workforce. The integration of technology into human resources allows us to pair virtual classrooms, sophisticated AV systems that allow face-to-face communication even for remote teams, and/or apps developed specifically for onboarding purposes, and quickly bring a new group of employees quickly up to speed, no matter where they are and no matter what their positions might be.
- Compliance Doesn’t Take Boxes of Paperwork
Staying compliant has often been a major challenge for HR teams. The laws are always changing and often require vast amounts of paperwork and information.
Compliance once required organization and dedicated IT storage capacity, but now, technology allows us to securely store data in the cloud. As electronic files, personnel data is easy to search and organize, and can be accessed with a few clicks. Even when HR departments are required to keep employee information for a number of years, it no longer requires file cabinets and expansive storage rooms to keep everything in order and easily accessed.
In fact, the need for any sort of storage has been reduced, if not eliminated entirely, as a result of cloud technology. Forms no longer need to be stockpiled or completed in duplicate, and even government forms are easily accessed online and printed as needed. Everything about this part of compliance on the part of HR pros has been streamlined, which is a great time-saver, as well as a space-saver.
- Performance Management Is More Accurate
Performance management has long been an important HR function. HR pros have driven the performance management process, monitoring performance, collecting supervisory feedback, and managing the process of regular employee reviews. How did we do this before technology? With time-consuming meetings, performance reviews, and lots of paper. Today, technology has streamlined the process and eliminated a lot of unnecessary steps, while opening an ongoing—and more transparent—feedback loop.
There are many software programs designed to evaluate performance using key performance indicators (KPIs). These programs can be utilized to help HR pros maximize their efforts when it comes to performance management, pinpoint particular areas where an employee (or organization) needs improvement, and put the right systems in place to offer additional training as needed. With the integration of technology into the equation, learning, and improvement, can be an ongoing process, instead of just an exercise done once a year. That’s better for employees, better for the teams they are a part of, and also exponentially more expeditious for the HR pros managing the performance management process.
- Pay and Benefit Information Isn’t Locked Up
Workers like to know how their paychecks and benefits are allocated. How much do they pay in taxes? Are you contributing to a 401(K) or a flex spending account on their behalf? Employees want to see their personal payroll and benefit information without a long delay or jumping through hoops. In the past, this likely meant a lot of work for HR departments.
I’ve spoken before about payroll technology that allows access to this kind of information anytime, from anywhere. Many apps keep things simple by automating recordkeeping and data organization, and lets employees explore their data online when it’s convenient for them. Another example of a win-win for everyone, as employees have what they want at their fingertips, and the burden on the HR team in terms of capturing, updating, and monitoring this information is greatly reduced.
- Technology Increases Engagement
By harnessing the power of mobile and cloud technology, in addition to big data, businesses have the opportunity to make huge changes for the better. Employee engagement is more important than ever; Millennials, who make up the largest portion of the workforce, have repeatedly said they have no qualms going elsewhere if they’re not happy at their jobs.
We’ve talked here before about how technology can be used to attract and retain a younger workforce. Millennials want to be engaged, but it has to be done well. Using technology to manage performance, make the hiring process easier, and give people access to their own personnel information will bring businesses over the threshold that separates the traditional workplace from the modern one.