HR Tech Primer: What is HR Technology?

HR Tech Primers are your go-to articles covering the basics of technology for HR and how their applications optimize HR transformation and strategy to overcome pressing workforce challenges 

Today, people and technology are two major instruments of growth and survival in any business. Without these two, companies can’t move an inch. According to a Deloitte report, a modern HR Manager is a key driver of an organization’s digital transformation and sustenance. With the proliferation of automation and analytics into business, how could HR teams be left behind? It’s the age of ‘Social Enterprise’ and HR-focused companies are building their fourth dimension in a social enterprise using the powerful stack of HR Technology.

In this article, we define, “HR Technology” and how CHROs can benefit from including it in their stacks. But first, were HRs prepared for the technology?

Did HR Technology Come a Little Too Late?

Managing humans at work has always been the toughest aspect of doing business. Asking a human to manage another certainly hurts the prospect of both growing together at work. No human likes to be managed by another, and yet, that’s how businesses run. It’s a necessary evil.

Before the advent of technology like the internet and emails, Human Resource managers had a very different approach to handling employees.  Connecting with a job applicant would mean calling on a phone, scheduling face-to-face interviews and offering a paper document as “Offer Letter.”

In the late 90s, things got a major push for HR managers and recruiters when online job boards started to mushroom. That opened a barrage of other technologies that software companies started prospecting and innovating with little or no expertise at all. Largely blamed on the non-forthcoming attitude of HR teams and not teaming with IT and software development teams, it took a full two decades for this space to grow as we see it now.

Frankly, HR Technology should have been here before the coming-of-age of Social Media and likewise.

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What is HR Technology?

HR Technology is the future of the modern workplace.

A recent buzzword, HR Technology has come into the picture by virtue of rampant use of research, analytics, business intelligence, automation and industry standardization of IT operations for HR processes like hiring and recruitment, leadership, talent management, payroll, legal and compliance, mobility and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Unlike other business verticals that are measured with statistics and analytics, the HR Technology metric is very different.

And, excruciatingly painful to assess without the right skill and training. That’s why you should define the various aspects of HR Tech.

Referring to a post by IBM, we can define HR Technology as the application of AI and other smart tools to augment or transform your HR processes backed by data-centric skills to handle these technologies.

As per McKinsey & Company, modern HR can’t remain ignorant about automation and AI tools. We infer from the post that technology for HR could be leveraged “to provide stellar service by employing technologies that are changing how consistent process execution and excellent customer care.”

The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that nearly half of all work could be automated with current technologies.

Bain says, “Companies must understand that the needs of employees are not all the same. Employee “segments” likely exist in the same way that customer segments do.”

That’s where HR Technology could help manager analyze employee sentiments better.

Digital Disruptions in HR, via Bain Insights

Fundamentally, we can define HR Technology as a set of tools and technologies used by Human Capital professionals to research, analyze, organize, manage and enable HR business performance through integration of people and technology.

Core Components of Any HR Technology Stack

HR Technology involves the application of five core components. These are:

  • Acquisition and Talent Management
  • Automation and Robotics
  • HR Analytics
  • Performance Optimization
  • Organization Development

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When these cogs of HR Technology flywheel sync perfectly with each other, CHROs can expect to overcome pertinent challenges in the HR domain by changing their strategies at scale to stay ahead of disruptive trends.

via Deloitte

All that hype has more companies including AI in their HR stack. So, it’s becoming more important for HR professionals to understand AI so they’re on firmer ground when they evaluate new products.

What does an Ideal HR Tech Stack deliver?

Organizations that are deploying HR Technology in their operations are found to be better prepared for disruptions in the future compared to laggards and non-adopters.

Some of the verifiable benefits include:

  • Advanced readiness to handle competition with data-based decision-making
  • Optimized employee performance
  • Healthy workplace culture
  • Optimized talent acquisition with right hires for all positions
  • Reduced retention rates
  • Improved workplace diversity and inclusion at local and global offices
  • Optimized performance management systems and metrics
  • Happier high-performing employees
  • Sustained talent pipeline for succession planning
  • Seamless inclusion of communication, robotics, AI and automation tools with a prime focus on upgrading skills with learning and development programs

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Do you Need HR Technology?

In the present context of the Industrial Revolution 4.0, organizations are expected to maximize their capabilities with smart talent and efficient technology. Together with Marketing and Sales technologies, FinTech, and AI and machine learning, HR Technology has become the core technology stack for a top-notch organization that values People-Technology. As more organizations rush to embrace technologies such as AI tools, Robotics and Cloud, we expect HR Tech makers to double their efforts into innovation and research.

In 2019, HR Technology is the new bullet in your ammunition. You can’t misfire with it…

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