HR and tech - the divide that can’t be

Technology and HR continue to be uneasy bedfellows. It’s the world’s longest ‘will they, won’t they?’. A largely unfulfilled romance. A match made in heaven that everybody can see the opportunity for but that never quite makes it to the altar. It’s Pride and Prejudice with the awkward courting, but without the resolution. 

Technology is an integral part of how we live our lives, yet so many of us have worse experience with in work than we do outside of it. We need to be investing in technology for two key and connected reasons – to improve productivity and to improve the employee experience.

i) Productivity

HR software has never been more affordable or adaptable. Whether you are attempting to support tens, hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of employees there is an option for you. The range of opportunities to support teams and leaders with insight, guidance and access to learning has never been greater. The ability to support people working effectively across international borders, different offices or from home has never been more readily accessible. The issues that HR have dealt with for years (managing talent, fostering collaboration, hiring well) now have technology solutions available that solve all or some of the problem. Given how absolutely key those issues are to run an organisation well we should be moving towards and then owning this space. It makes sense to do this for two reasons – as a defensive measure as a profession to stop somebody else taking that opportunity and secondly as a positive move to make and then quantify a demonstrable difference to our organisations.

ii) Employee experience

If you think about your own relationship with technology then the love/hate to a large extent depends on the user experience. Is it simple, intuitive, easy to pick up and does it make sense? All too often tech purchasing decisions have been made in the past that left users struggling with a system that caused frustration and disappointment rather than joy. That got in the way of your working day rather than enabled it to be more enjoyable. The sum quality of people’s working days adds up to your employee experience – and if you want that experience to be one of frustration and bitterness then give them a bad system. If you want them to feel supported, informed and confident then given them a good system. The choice is very much yours.

The use of technology is a constant in the way people communicate and function outside of the office. HR’s role is to support people to better performance in the workplace – and technology can be an inhibitor to or catalyst for that shift. In most organisations people interact with or through technology more than they do directly with other people. If, as Jack Welch once said, HR is an organisation’s ‘killer app’ then HR needs to be at the forefront of supporting people with a killer app and ecosystem.

Looking to update, replace or invest in HR or recruitment software? Our HR Software Show incorporating the Recruitment Exhibition is the place to be, 14-15 June at London Olympia!

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