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HR technology, the term used to describe technology tools that bring automation to human resources functions, is booming. In 2021 was the HR technology market appreciated at nearly $23 billion. It was expected to reach nearly $24 billion by the end of 2022. Few companies have not implemented some level of HR technology. However, the problem is that most of them have not implemented it good.
According to a recent survey, HR technology has become one of the biggest frustrations in US workplaces. Conducted by OnePoll in late 2020, the survey shows that 77% of US workers are frustrated with the automated HR tools they have to use to interact with HR functions, such as signing up for benefits and requesting time off. In fact, workers are so frustrated that nearly 70% said they would be willing to take a pay cut if it resulted in new technology twice as effective.
A sequel survey conducted in June 2022 shows that nearly half of US business leaders are unaware of the frustrations they are causing with HR technology. Only 54% of executives believe their HR technology offerings are causing frustration among their employees.
Clearly there is a disconnect. Companies spend a lot of money securing and implementing automated HR tools to make recruiting, onboarding and retaining employees more efficient and effective. What they achieve, however, are software “fixes” that only cause more problems.
Bridging the gap between HR insights and employee data
PwC HR Technology Study 2022 asked hundreds of US HR leaders to weigh in. When asked about the biggest challenges they face, the top result was “HR insights and data analytics.” Nearly 40% of HR leaders named it a top concern. In response, many of those leaders will look to systems designed to collect a wide variety of data related to employee experiences and behaviors in the workplace.
The effectiveness of those data systems will depend on three key factors – starting with effective efforts to encourage interaction. A lack of efficiency in HR platforms was one of the top frustrations cited by employees. Specifically, they cited “too many logins” as the main reason for their lack of interaction with their organization’s HR software.
For HR technology to become workplace technology, work must become more frictionless. Access should be as seamless as possible, with mobile options available; it should be part of the daily workflow. Platforms built with an emphasis on ease of use for employees, rather than solely for the HR department, will encourage interaction between employees.
Apply HR data insights to company culture
The PwC HR Tech Survey 2022 provides useful insight into the keys to driving interaction with HR technology. Providing training, mobile access and incentives for use were each cited by 85% of respondents as effective tools to drive adoption.
However, the research also shows that organizations seemed reluctant to adopt these methods. Only 54% offered training, 51% offered mobile access, and 44% offered incentives for use. Organizations that expect employees to figure out HR technology themselves should not be surprised to find low levels of interaction
Culture is the second key factor for this technology to succeed. Organizations hoping to gain support for the systems should make it clear that the automation the technology enables is valuable to the overall business, rather than an administrative add-on. It must be embedded in the culture. Acquisition becomes a challenge when employees don’t understand and appreciate the value of the system, the process it performs, or the data it collects.
The shift from HR technology to workplace technology requires that the implementation of the platform be designed so that employees can see its value. It should be understood that the technology contributes to a better employee experience and makes for a better overall workplace. This step in adoption is much easier in organizations that are already committed to digital transformation.
Creating actionable change through key HR data
The third factor concerns acting on the basis of collected data. This can be thought of as hearing employees, rather than just listening to them. For example, let’s take an employee who is consistently late for meetings. HR technology will notice and potentially alert the employee that it’s a problem. Workplace tech automatically pushes a short online course to the employee that can help with time management.
With workplace tech, the problem is recognized and a solution is offered that improves the workplace and the workplace experience.
Acting on data shows employees that the system is valuable and that their leaders care. Not responding to the data says the opposite. In those kinds of workplaces, HR technology becomes another frustrating experience that reinforces the idea that the company is using technology and the data it collects to count employees, rather than showing employees that they count.
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