The challenges in finding, recruiting and retaining employees have never been more difficult. The University of Lincoln’s Head of Reward, Ian Hodson, speaks to HR Grapevine about how technology is now more than just a business function enabler. Instead, technology "is a cornerstone of company culture where paper laggards lose out to the forward-thinking technologically advanced organisation," he says.
Why do you think technology is so important to HR?
Just as technology is having a transformative impact on every industry and business, so too is it impacting recruitment, retention and motivation of staff. A mere five or ten years ago, businesses would often provide better technology than employees would have at home. That has completely flipped, and it is the employee that now has the latest gadgets, laptops, apps, and smartphones.
With the culture of the peer review where TripAdvisor will tell you where the best places to go are, we’re seeing the rise of workplace reviews with sites like Glassdoor, which review every aspect of an employer from its culture, hiring practices, salary, and perks. Expectations of employers are far greater and with technology moving at a pace, getting the ‘wow’ factor is increasingly difficult.
Do you have an example of using technology as a motivating factor for employees?
Expenses is a good example. Ask your employees to submit paper expenses and they probably will be fine with it, but when a claim gets lost, or delayed because paper goes missing, you’re actively demotivating your staff. Turning your expenses process into a digital solution that can be done via mobile (we use Selenity’s Expenses solution) where employees can submit claims from anywhere, at any time, and keep track of where their claim is, does the opposite.
There are, however, many other technologies that are going to add value to your employee’s roles, which aren’t just about helping them do their jobs; it’s about giving them the best, most advanced tools that demonstrate you're investing in them. This is all in addition, of course, to competitive pay, a good work/life balance, bonus schemes, training, and staff social events.
Can technology influence retention?
With the increase in the number of employers, it’s becoming more important than ever to focus not just on finding employees, but keeping them too, and employers now need to look further than the typical benefits. It’s quite easy to make a business case for a piece of technology – expenses for example – which can be built on the savings it brings to the business. But, whether it saves you money or not, you’ve got to invest in technology because, quite simply, it’s how you’ve got to be seen to do things.
The onus really now is on the employer to provide the very best working environment, not just to help aid productivity, but because it truly does affect how long employees will work with your company.