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How Technology is disrupting HR

Posted on June 6, 2016 10:00 am;

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By Cheryl Lyon-Hislop


As a HR professional, I remember the time when HR activity was telephone or paper-based;

employee files, data, records and payslips, were all manually-processed. Thankfully, those days are

long gone with the advent of technological advances. But how are HR teams adopting and adapting

to new technology? Let’s explore in more depth.


The applications for technology within the HR sphere are countless. From sophisticated talent

management systems, payroll systems, to seamless employee and manager self-service portals, for

global and virtual teams across different time zones to utilize; all these tools are at HR’s fingertips.


We can also see that technology has ‘disrupted’ HR ways of working, by changing ‘how’ we recruit

via social media, and the type of roles to which we now recruit, including applications developers,

social media managers and user experience design roles.Technology should be used to cut down

process inefficiencies. The time and resources saved can help HR to work more strategically, using

more informed data to tell us what is happening in the business. When used effectively, technology

will free up time to work on pressing HR agenda items: talent management, working on employee

productivity, innovation, engagement and morale.


But we also need to think about the future talent pipeline and their digital needs. As Generation Y

comes onto the employment market, there’ll be increased demand to deliver real-time, seamless

digital experiences, both before and after the recruitment process, whilst other employees need to

be coached or trained to use technology, and in the benefits of using it.


But isn’t there a deeper, core issue at stake here? If the culture and systems of a company cannot

embrace technological change or disruption, as part of their strategy, any attempts to digitise will

face resistance or failure. A lack of agility, innovation capability or integration of the necessary

culture and processes can make or break a company. As examples, maybe the talent attraction

strategy is focused on the wrong skills set for success, or there isn’t the analytics in place to

understand what is needed for a CRM system. HR must influence and collaborate across the business

to create the right cultural environment for technological development.


As part of this disruption, the competences of HR professionals are being updated. Better

stakeholder relationship management skills are required to work across all business functions,

collaboration skills across the HR community to prevent working ‘silos’, and the creation of accurate

HR measures and scorecards, linking back to HR and business strategy, will need stronger analytical

and strategic thinking skills to embrace digital change.

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