Welcome to HR Grapevine’s 2020/2021 Guide to HR Technology
There’s a very good chance that, due to the fallout from the covid-19 pandemic, you’re currently sitting either at a kitchen counter top, or at a desk space tucked away in a corner of your home. Since March 23rd, HR’s key role has not been one of advancement per se, but one of proactive change management – likely from a majority physical office workforce to an almost exclusively remote one. It’s been a challenge that has tested even the most experienced HR practitioners, yet with the assistance of modern technology, even the most doubtful of leaders have found that communication, collaboration and HR tools, workers can not only operate, but excel whilst working remotely.
And this isn’t a trend that will come to an end as the virus is quelled; a Gartner survey of 229 HR managers recently revealed that while 30% of their employees worked remotely at least part of the time before the coronavirus pandemic, 81% or more are currently working remotely and 41% are likely to do so at least some of the time once a return to normal working is permitted.
The bottom line? HR’s relationship with the technology that currently fuels businesses the world over is strong, and getting stronger. However, whilst some leaders are very much clued in on what tools best suit their needs, others are yet to realise the potential of digital innovation. For this reason, HR Grapevine asked two groups of panellists some of the most pressing questions about the future of technology, and what this means for you…
Panel Question One
What are the key elements for using technology to engage with a remote workforce?
Black is attuned to the ways in which people experience life at their organisation, regularly posting content on burnout, how employees are experiencing the pandemic and how to best connect with your workforce. Previous to Glint, where he was also Senior Director of Organizational Development Science, he was Director of Innovation Sirota.
“Our current pandemic remote working conditions make regular touchpoints even more important...”
One core organisational habit to help achieve an engaged remote workforce is eliciting and acting on regular feedback and insights from employees.
Glint recommends a monthly pulse check during times of major change to help people share concerns and stay connected. Our current pandemic remote working conditions make regular touchpoints even more important, given the absence of informal avenues to raise concerns, such as corridor/water cooler chats. Specific remote work issues can be surfaced as part of a short, monthly pulse to quickly understand and respond to needs.
Ultimately, the goal is for everyone in the organisation to feel ownership of these results, and that starts with sharing employee feedback immediately and openly. Our global findings reveal highly localised employee needs, so getting pulse results into the hands of managers right away is more important than ever.
Wilson is passionate about driving people potential and inspirational organisational leadership in his role across the EMEA region. Prior to his incumbent role, he worked across Northern Europe and for IBM before Cornerstone and regularly shares original content on how to build successful teams and on how to coach people to manage the stress of their jobs.
“One of the main flaws of remote working is the lack of physical social interactions with our colleagues...”
One of the main flaws of remote working is the lack of physical social interactions with our colleagues. In an open office environment, many of us are used to moving to our colleagues’ desk to talk to them, but the difference now is those interactions happen behind a screen and initiating conversations becomes tricky. But there are ways we can encourage more social interactions within a remote workforce, and this can improve their mental health too.
For example, routine, functional meetings, like Quarterly Business Reviews, could benefit from the switch to remote working if they’ve become mundane. We held our European Sales QBR last quarter and used this forced change to also change the agenda and encourage things like more teamwork. In the end it led to one of the most engaging QBRs we’ve ever had.
Probert prides himself on helping global talent, learning and HR experts get recognised for the value their function adds to the wider business. He has previous experience with a wide array of firms, helping them to transform how people view learning and create strategies that enable L&D to boost business. These include: Vodafone, Royal Mail and American Express.
“In essence, a remote way of working requires us to embrace technology...”
With the world now more focused on remote working, the way we communicate and collaborate has changed. Technology provides the framework for engaging with a remote workforce but it takes a strong "remote culture" to ensure success. Maintaining connections with people is essential and managers need to be the drivers of this. Regular 1:1s are vital to establishing and growing meaningful relationships with employees and colleagues. Insisting on video calls rather than audio-only chats renders a remote meeting more human. 1:1s should be driven by employees, always take priority and never be rescheduled. Tracking these conversations can help bring consistency and continuity to them, making each conversation more meaningful and valuable. In essence, a remote way of working requires us to embrace technology to allow us to value the time we spend together virtually.
Panel Question Two
How can HR use technology to support business growth?
HR systems are smarter and faster than ever before, making the HR and people sector one of the most exciting growth areas for tech investment. In fact, over 50% of mid-sized companies we polled in our research are already increasing their HR technology spend.
Many HR leaders are turning to HR technology – particularly cloud HR and People systems – to free up resources and focus on strategic tasks. That’s where HR automation comes in. It enables employees and managers to self-serve, such as processing holiday requests, which in turn gives back all-important time to HR teams to focus on more strategic initiatives.
In addition, personalised portals, tailored communications, real-time recognition and targeted pulse surveys enable HR and people teams to get the best from their people, creating employee experiences that improve engagement and ultimately, productivity.
At Ceridian, we create innovative technology that organisations around the world use to attract, develop, manage and pay their people. Our award-winning Dayforce solution helps our customers manage compliance, make better decisions, build great teams, and drive engagement with their employees. Ceridian has solutions for organisations of all sizes.
Jeff Phipps is Managing Director of ADP® UK, a leading global provider of Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions. He joined ADP from Systemax, where he was Executive Vice President and General Manager for Germany, Austria & Switzerland. With a strong background in the technology industry, Jeff has previously worked in IT consultancy, sales and business leadership roles at Tandem, HP and Dell.
“The question is, are your HR systems and processes ready to take you on that journey?”
Technology and automation lightens the burden of HR admin, allowing HR leaders more time to concentrate on their people and on strategic pursuits. Through the integration of HR and payroll systems, HR can extract valuable insight to define the personnel strategy, feel confident their employee data is stored securely and their organisation remains compliant with complex legislation. Thus, HR has the tools to concentrate on attracting the right talent, addressing levels of engagement and providing insights to support business decisions. Technology has and continues to change our lives – the question is, are your HR systems and processes ready to take you on that journey?