HR technology is all the rage at the moment, as businesses pivot to staff offerings that can be accessed remotely.
This need for remote HR services has created a melting pot of ideas surrounding digital transformations, and a plethora of HR technology solutions. Fortunately, getting the basics right can help businesses navigate this booming economy and act as a trusty compass as you conquer HR challenges.
That’s why UNLEASH has put together a comprehensive breakdown of everything you need to know about HR tech.
What is HR tech?
HR tech is an umbrella term for all the technology leveraged by human resources teams to better the functions of an organization.
As you can imagine, HR intersects with a lot of different groups within a business. As a result, there is a wide variety of software that helps different functions.
However, the purpose of all HR technology is the same, to improve the employee experience and ensure a compliant workforce. Additionally, if it can help employers reduce costs, that’s always a bonus.
Areas that HR technologies interact with include; payroll, travel and expenses, talent management, performance management, benefits, and learning and development (L&D).
Examples of how HR tech is used
HR technology can be vital in payroll processes and can regulate and confirm pay. On top of that, it can give people access to their earned wages when they need it, and automate repetitive functions that lead to burnout in finance staff.
The likes of Workato offer companies the opportunity to automate the categories in payroll, monitor outgoings, and ensure compliance. Naturally, saving time on wages is a way to save money, but by reducing the burnout of repetitive tasks, companies can save their staff from needing as much time off.
When it comes to earned wage access (EWA) technology like Openwage can help workers access their wages. This can offer benefits in terms of attracting candidates and employee wellbeing.
Head of product at OpenWage, Martin Slaney, told UNLEASH: “Allowing employees to access their pay if, and when, they need it via EWA makes them less likely to experience financial stress, a trigger that can lead to distracted and unproductive employees.”
The benefits of HR technology for finance teams also extend beyond payroll.
Travel and expenses
HR technology can be vital in the simplification of travel and expenses. Believe it or not, the crumpled receipts of large dinners no longer need to be manually recorded. In fact, receipts can be automated and set up for sign-off by the relevant HR or finance leader.
Spendesk enables the automation of receipts, the setting of card budgets, and real-time visibility on what is spent and approved. There are many technologies like this, and it enables teams to spend more time on higher-value tasks than copying out information.
Expenses often go hand-in-hand with travel; the likes of Soldo highlight the need for HR technology in travel functions. Rather than have employees pay upfront for expensive flights, Soldo enables companies with pre-paid cards that allow travel to be covered and spending limits to be in place.
Expense management is often concerned with managing talent, but people management is a much larger area that has become a key part of HR technology trends over the pandemic.
Managing talent is a difficult task, and while many employees want a career path, it is often tricky to over a road that isn’t littered with rough terrain. HR technology solutions can give visibility to possible career paths.
Talent management technology has become important as shortcomings were highlighted when millions have left work as part of the ‘Great Resignation’. As a result, staff need to be upskilled and organizations have reconsidered how they maintain workers.
When talent management is directly linked to career progression, software like Lattice allows employees and companies to set expectations and create development targets.
A great deal of the benefits that HR technology can be delivered through digital portals that allow employees and companies to see what goals they have and how close they are to being achieved.
When it comes to performance there is another sub-set of tools that can be leveraged.
Performance management software improves business performance by encouraging productivity.
This can sound like a daunting piece of technology that may lead to backlash from employees. However, it can be leveraged to create better feedback between managers and staff.
Enabling frequent discussions and updates on tasks allows managers to stay informed and staff to feel listened to. This is particularly important in a remote workplace where communication can be difficult.
George LaRocque, an HR tech analyst and founder of WorkTech, told UNLEASH about the need to use HR tech in performance management: “Like many processes in business today, the traditional annual performance management process is a throwback to top-down command and control management philosophies.”
There are other areas of HR technology that can improve the performance and culture of teams.
Benefits technology is not always the top of an employer’s to-do list, but it needs to be. Benefit offerings can improve culture, performance, and wellbeing.
Many workers are reconsidering their work and life balance, and company benefits can greatly improve their personal wellbeing.
PensionBee’s head of talent, Emily Tribe, explained to UNLEASH the importance of workplace benefits: “Logging on each morning and coming to work has been one of the few constants. Agile and flexible benefits through an online platform have ensured our colleagues feel supported, valued, and motivated.”
A digital platform for benefits allows employees to see what’s available easily and ultimately improve their working experience.
Learning and development
Learning and development (L&D) is simply the support of employee education. This area has become important in battling staff shortages, and technology can simplify the process of learning.
The likes of Degreed have seen their value sore in an age of staff shortages, as they offer online courses and the ability to book time with a colleague to learn new skills. Additionally, employees can choose the way they want to learn.
In an interview with UNLEASH, Annee Bayeux, chief learning strategist at Degreed said: “There is a lot of research that says that upskilling instead of hiring or buying new talent is so much more efficient.”
She added: “The big trend that we’re seeing in terms of development, people development is around personalization of your career instead of training for your current job.”
If L&D technology can create career paths and allow companies to make informed promotions and hires, it is an invaluable addition to an organization’s stack.
Why should business leaders care about HR technology?
HR technology is essential in retaining staff and getting the best out of them. The areas mentioned here save time, allow employees to improve, and avoid repetitive tasks that can lead to burnout; an issue that has damaged workforce numbers.
On the back of this, those who ignore HR technology are choosing to lose out financially. In fact, 90% of C-suite leaders told Sage HR technology has been vital in assisting business priorities in 2021.
Not only that, but in our increasingly digital world of work, employees need digital solutions.
HR tech, remote working, and the new normal
Remote and hybrid work is the new normal and this has shifted the expectations put on HR technology. No one wants to put in a request through an email or an excel spreadsheet, they want technology matches that which they use as consumers.
As a result, user experience in tools is vital for companies that want to remain competitive in a more technologically adept market.
Cornellis Jooste, HR project manager at Daman Health, a leading specialized health insurer based in Abu Dhabi, explained the importance of forward-looking HR technology: You can make or break an employment relationship in the first few months.”
“Instead of old legacy HR, we now have one central contact point and if you can’t find what you need, there is the HR helpdesk which allows people to then engage actively with strong KPIs and turnaround times underneath. This has been a whole game-changer for us.”
Having digital solutions is the new normal, and this looks set to be the case for many years to come. With this in mind, it’s time to embrace the paradox that you have to spend money on HR technology to make money.
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