Effective HR Management in a Digital World
A younger generation is entering the workforce, and they’re looking for companies that match their pace and their ethos — of which technology is a large contributor. That’s where HR comes in — the bridge between the company and its employees, HR professionals, whether experienced or just starting out their careers, need to understand how they can leverage technology to create a more efficient, engaging and cohesive workplace.
There are many ways HR managers can embrace technology to be more effective. Let’s take a look at some of them:
No longer do recruiters sift through countless applications or spend hours interviewing potential hires to find the ideal candidate. With the advent of social media platforms like LinkedIn, recruiting has never been more efficient. According to statistical reports by TalentNow, 75% of potential hires aren’t actually looking for jobs. Rather, recruiters seem to be using social media to reach them and convert them into hires. In 2018, 89% of companies were already planning to use social media to recruit candidates in the next few years.
HR professionals are also using technology applications to interview and track candidates. For instance, industry giants IKEA and Volkswagen use applications like Spark Hire a video interviewing platform to vet candidates.
For everyone who’s ever thought “this meeting could have been an email”, technology is here to save the day. Today, most employees expect the vast majority of communication to come via email. Gone are the days of phone calls — rather, in the digital era, instant messaging platforms like Slack, Whatsapp and Telegram are gaining popularity within the workplace. With so many communication applications available to companies, HR managers can now make internal communication seamless and time-saving.
Two of the HR industry’s biggest burdens are manual work and paperwork and with technology, several HR professionals have been able to say goodbye to tedium and focus on leadership-oriented management. Several HR operations like onboarding and offboarding and employee attendance are predictable and repetitive — and therefore can be automated.
For instance, Naomi Bloom, managing partner at Bloom & Wallace, a consulting firm specializing in the application of HR technology, cites the example of the investment Kronos has made in going mobile, as a result of business and employee needs: “If your business results are driven by optimized workforce scheduling, as is absolutely the case in most retail businesses, then you must focus some of your automation investments right there.”
Employee engagement is one of HR’s most important functions and has an incredible impact on workplace culture and morale. As stated in an article by Western Governors’ University (WGU), engaged employees are “pleasant to work with, do good work and are excited to come into the office.” WGU opines that there are a few methods one can employ to increase employee engagement, including investing time in getting to know your employees as individuals and listening to their feedback.
Technology can aid HR here, too. An article by Deloitte Insights recommends using technology to help create a better environment for your employees. This can be achieved through building online communities based on common interests outside work, allowing social interactions between teams around the globe, and using micro-targeting to understand an employee like you would a consumer.
While aspects of the digital era can be leveraged by HR managers for maximum efficiency, there are challenges associated with integrating technology into HR. It’s important that managers overcome these challenges so as to remain successful:
It’s true that technology makes several HR operations easier, but ultimately the HR department exists to provide and connect with actual people, and no technology can replace the human connection required. Employees don’t want to be another cog in the wheel, and that’s why it’s important to strike a balance between automation and personalization. HR professionals must then be judicious about how much technology is integrated into company processes and whether while increasing efficiency, they decrease human interaction and real-life employee experience.
Maintaining a Safe Workspace
With communication channels becoming mostly digital, it’s possible for some employees to blur the lines between professional and personal. The onus of creating a safe workspace then falls on HR to ensure that employees follow appropriate behavior at work, to understand consent, not exploit communication channels to approach someone inappropriately. As one resource notes: “Creating a healthy organizational climate in the workplace is the key to stopping workplace assault, especially harassment.”
This can be done by creating a workspace that champions gender equality, gives women representation and opportunity, and bars male entitlement. Finally, the HR department must create committees and policies against harassment of any kind, even through digital channels.
Equipping Employees Against Digital Security Breaches
While it opens up a world of opportunity at the workplace, technology also leaves companies and their employees vulnerable to social engineering attacks like phishing and impersonation. These can compromise confidential and critical information and post-incident, bring down morale.
Thus, it’s important for HR professionals to be proactive and train employees in terms of digital security. HR managers should put into place measures that equip employees with skills to identify inauthentic company communication, recognize fraudulent emails and suspicious content and teach them how to effectively respond to cyber breaches in case it is every necessary.
Like other industries, Human Resources is moving towards a technological revolution. But unlike other industries, it is of utmost importance here to retain the humane aspect the industry is based on. If utilized correctly, technology can be a huge asset to HR in many ways, as noted above. In the future, effective HR management will consist of knowing how and where to integrate technology for efficiency, as well as knowing where to draw the line on digitization.