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Digitisation is affecting business functions across the board, from finance to sales and marketing – and increasingly HR, which has a lot to gain from taking greater advantage of data and analytics.

While in the global media we see stories of automation and job losses making headlines, widespread digitisation is actually causing global organisations to place a far greater focus on their people. Business leaders are becoming acutely aware that to achieve a competitive edge in this digital future, they must attract and retain the right people.

Faced with increasing competition for talent, business leaders are placing more scrutiny on their HR departments, asking them to step out of their traditional, operational remit and demonstrate how their people strategy underpins organisational objectives.

Digitisation of HR has huge potential to improve the way in which teams work, and the ways in which employees can access their benefits – companies just need to be clear about their intentions for new technology in this space. For example, there have been negative reactions to recent trials of employee monitoring software which have subsequently been scrapped. The message here is clear; digitisation without a clear and transparent strategy can actively disengage employees.

However, executed judiciously, there are three key ways that digitising your HR function can benefit a range of business stakeholders, from HR teams and employees on the office floor, right up to the C-suite.

Engage your employees with greater choice and flexibility
First and foremost, digitisation of HR is beneficial for employees – primarily because it allows them to personalise their benefits, affording them greater flexibility. Increasingly, companies are using benefits portals to offer ‘wellness pots’ to employees. These provide employees with a secured amount of money to spend on activities that have the biggest impact on their wellbeing, whether that’s a gym membership, or mental health support. This flexible approach helps all employees feel connected to their organisations, regardless of location.

Benefits software also allows employees to access employer support at any time and from anywhere, meaning that employers are likely to see an increase in employee uptake of benefits.

Empower your HR teams for better functionality
Implemented correctly, digitisation will help HR teams consolidate a globally-consistent employee experience – which was found by Thomsons’ research to be a priority for organisations in 2019/20.

Indeed, integrated global ecosystems can help organisations deliver consistency and better oversight at the boardroom level, not to mention an improved workplace experience for employees. For HR teams, the proof is in the pudding, as our research shows 88% of those using ‘best-of-breed integrated ecosystems’ are on track to meet or exceed their employee engagement score.

And while a global ecosystem will help HRs operate globally, 89% of HR leaders would value plug and play apps within their ecosystem in order to tailor their benefits offerings at the local level, and to ensure a better ROI from their benefits.

Derive insight through people analytics to boost the bottom line
Finally, businesses have a lot to gain from digitisation and consequent people analytics. As employers place greater scrutiny on their HR departments, they will want to see hard evidence of ROI. If HR has campaigned for greater investment in employee wellbeing for example, employers want to see a genuine correlation between wellbeing benefit adoption and employee health and productivity. Thanks to data analytics, HR teams can now provide this information, helping to boost the department’s image as a truly strategic function in the boardroom.

As long as HR teams are equipped with the skills to be data literate, digitisation will help them unlock real-time insights and cut the data findings to see which benefits receive the most uptake by which employees to improve their offerings. Fundamentally, what’s happening in HR is mirroring what’s going on across organisations. Digitisation is providing business functions with new opportunities to monitor the impact of new ways of working – and going forward, this will provide huge opportunities for people and HR teams that can generate data insight to help organisations get the most from their greatest asset; their people. 

Matthew Jackson, VP Client Solutions – Thomsons Online Benefits

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