Efficiency is top of mind for organizations. They want to do more with less, and enable their people to work productively and collaboratively.
HR tech has a huge role to play here, but it is not a panacea. Technology alone cannot magically improve productivity and employee experience.
To ensure organizations are implementing the right tech, Citi’s global HR head for wealth technology, engineering and architecture Sahana Mukherjee shared during a session at UNLEASH America that HR leaders need to think about the why – what makes that particular technology the right fit for the organization, and most importantly its people.
For Mukherjee, when thinking about HR tech implementation, HR leaders must ask themselves; how does this technology elevate employee experience and make people’s working lives better?
BP’s vice-president of people and culture services for the Americas Karen Lusquinos Gouveia agreed.
She shared in the UNLEASH America 2023 session that everyone wants to implement the latest, exciting tech, but it is crucial to get laser focused on the problem you are trying to solve.
Transformation is not just about tech
Along this vein, Gouveia is very clear that although technology is “magical”, it cannot (and should not) be the focus of every transformation project that organizations and HR teams undergo.
This approach is a “recipe for failure”, and causes teams to lose perspective on the original problem. It also may damage employee experience or effectiveness as it leads to technology being implemented for the sake of it.
BCG’s research corroborates this view – seven in ten digital transformations fail, and tech tools are a major cause of this. Often the technologies implemented are siloed and not integrated with other tools and are hard to use.
In an exclusive interview with UNLEASH, Mukherjee shares that instead of focusing on technology, “you have to center it [your transformation] around human experience”. “It’s always about people – technology is just the enabler”.
Only once organizations have thought about the transformation and its impact on human experience “should we be thinking about the best technology solution to enable that experience”.
“We have associated technology with transformation and innovation, but the impact, the success of the transformation is about people at the end of the day”, adds Mukherjee. “It is about doing things differently, and thinking outside the box to elevate the experience”,
Learning from customer experience
In figuring out the best workplace tech tools to implement, Mukherjee believes that HR tech has a lot to learn from the consumer world.
People won’t use difficult and cumbersome technology in their personal lives – and they have the same user expectations for the world of work.
“Every company operates with the mindset of customer focus,” shares Mukherjee. For instance, marketing is in tune with customer experience, potential and behavior – “we can learn from other functions [in terms of what they have already accomplished and incorporate that”.
All of this means HR doesn’t need to go on the same learning curve – “we can start at a much advanced stage to begin with”.
The future of HR tech
Long-term success with workplace technology requires “ongoing self-reflection” to continue to create value and elevate employee experiences, according to Mukherjee.
Ultimately, the technology of the future needs to continue to help drive these experiences, but also connect siloed tools more effectively. This is the view of both Mukherjee and BP’s Gouivea.
There is no perfect technology – people’s expectations keep changing, and the tools need to evolve with it.
Mukherjee tells UNLEASH that she is optimistic about the future of HR tech. She believes HR is at “an inflection point”.
“We are now at a unique point where we can position ourselves as value creators”, and get proactive, rather than being reactive, when it comes to the future of technology.
HR is leading the way, and is ahead of the game around leveraging emerging technology, like generative AI, into their workflows. While there’s lots for HR to learn from other departments and functions, HR has a lot of sway in terms of how the future of work is influenced by technology.
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