By Purvi Sheth
It’s here and it is inevitable. Automation in HR is as much a reality as a grandma with a smart phone today. Whether you are a large global conglomerate or a mid size business, your HR processes need to be implemented using technology. The days of managing HR offline are over – from leave & attendance to employee engagement, there is a rapid adoption of technology by CHROs everywhere across all aspects of human resource management.
From ERPs & global platforms to extremely specific modules on the cloud, the HR technology space is booming. Josh Bersin, founder and principal of Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP, speaking at the SHRM India Tech ’17 conference said the market for HR technology solutions is reportedly around $400 billion globally and the Indian HR industry is estimated to be Rs 40,000 crore. These numbers in themselves tell you the future of HRtech.
But in this rush to make HR faster, savvier, responsive and online – some questions remain unanswered. When is the right time to automate and how do companies know they are ready? Are organisations getting the right technologies & partners? Are employees really enjoying HR via screens? Are HR functions reaping the benefits of investing in HR technology?
Here is a quick guide for CHROs to getting HR ready for technology.
Recognizing where the organization is from an HR perspective is the first step to automation. First of all, it is imperative to objectively assess how strong existing HR processes are and whether they have penetrated the entire organization. In order to use technology, clarity in HR processes is a prerequisite. A good way to figure out is to take each process and audit where there are gaps that might stifle technology in reaching your workforce.
ORGANISATION CULTURE & TECH ACCEPTANCE
Is your culture ready for technology? It’s no point spending lakhs on technology if people are not keen on using it. Resistance from employees is the biggest reason for technology to fail. It is important to gauge how comfortable people are and make usage of technology a habit. In some cases, companies have had to incentivize people to use technology while in some; there is action for not using the tools provided. It depends on the culture of the company and the pace at which it can embrace change. Don’t push the agenda all at once or it may backfire.
WHICH PROCESSES FIRST
All HR processes are difficult to automate simultaneously. What are your pain points? Based on what your HR struggles with most, should be what goes for automation first. Typically, it is easiest to start with administrative areas like leave & attendance and then move to areas like talent acquisition and performance management. Once people are comfortable, it gets easier to deploy more HR tech modules. Areas like employee engagement and E learning are easy to deploy and can be good quick fixes to certain HR problems.
The best way to find tech partners /vendors/ products is via references. However, like I mentioned, there are many HR tech companies today and finding the right one is not easy. The top most criteria is obviously the product, but also if it is compatible with your processes. Some products look good and come with great roster of clients, but do they really fulfill your needs? Will your processes & culture be able to step up to the technology? Do you need something simpler or more complex? Look for options and don’t settle at the first one you like. Build a team of HR, IT, business people to help you think of the issues & risks and also make decisions.
Participate in as many tech demonstrations as you can to understand what each product brings and how they might work for you. List each module you want to automate – look for full service platforms as well as independent modules. But don’t choose based only on referrals or initial ease of implementation. It is good to shortlist at least 2-3 technologies before making a final decision.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY & PARTNER
When selecting an HR tech partner, it is important to list down “how we work”. Will you need a lot of onsite support? Will you need constant training in the first year? Will the product be upgraded to your growth needs going forward? Is the company scalable & innovative? Does the top team have the vision and drive to keep pace with your HR needs? Some of these questions will help you assess
Automating HR is not an easy or simple process for a CHRO. It is important to recognize that technology transformation needs to be deliberative and requires a fair bit of preparation to get the organization ready for a new phase. Keeping expectations real and taking one step at a time can surely make it a happier seamless process.
The writer is CEO, Shilputsi Consultants.