HR technology is an increasingly valuable tool for HR professionals and played a crucial role in dealing with the workplace disruption caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, new research* finds.
The survey of HR professionals found that HR technology solutions are almost universally used in UK businesses, with HR information systems often working alongside standalone applications to meet an organisation’s entire people and data needs.
When asked how HR technology use had changed over the past 12 months, HR professionals said it had been deployed in:
- enabling the rapid shift to remote working;
- helping keep employees engaged and connected; and
- recording details of furloughed employees.
Survey respondents also reported an increased use of technology to facilitate virtual recruitment/onboarding processes and self-service HR. In many cases, the pandemic accelerated plans already in place for introducing or increasing HR technology use.
HR technology strategies on the rise
The growing importance of HR technology is reflected in the trend for HR departments to introduce formal strategies to help ensure the effective implementation and ongoing management of HR technology in a way that benefits the organisation. The survey found that:
- 3% of organisations have a formal HR technology strategy in place – most commonly as part of the HR strategy; and
- 1% plan to introduce an HR technology strategy over the coming 12 months.
Advice on dealing with HR technology challenges
Introducing new HR technology solutions will inevitably present unexpected challenges – and moreso given the accelerated pace of HR technology adoption and use driven by the pandemic.
The HR professionals surveyed shared their advice in this area. Three key recommendations highlighted by their responses are:
- Be as thorough as possible when choosing an HR technology solution, taking time to identify exactly what it needs to help achieve, and selecting the option most closely matching these needs.
- Put user experience at the centre of HR technology initiatives, and involve users in every step from design through implementation to use.
- Be aware that work processes may need to evolve following the introduction of HR technology, in ways that can often prove to be for the better.
Overall, the respondents are positive about the benefits and opportunities that HR technology offers, and wish to encourage their colleagues in the profession to embrace these fully. A private-sector-services respondent sums up: “Have a go, you will never learn if you don’t try. You can always learn and there are always people willing to help.”
Commenting on the findings, XpertHR HR practice editor Sheila Attwood says: “HR technology has fully established itself as a key part of HR’s toolkit, proving its value by enabling HR’s rapid and agile response to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. At its most effective, HR technology can help deliver smooth and efficient HR processes while also driving engagement by keeping employees informed and connected.”