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Benefits of HR tech in an evolving world of work

15th Jan 2021
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Over the best part of a year, the pandemic has put a tremendous amount of pressure on HR functions. Their role in improving the wellbeing, productivity and engagement of staff is more important now than it ever has been.

HR tech is an increasingly significant part of helping organisations manage changes and disruption in our world of work. In this blog, I cover some of the newer HR tech that professionals need to have on their radar as suggested by my colleague Jacky Carter, Group Digital Engagement Director at Hays - and the benefits it’s providing for organisations today.

A bit about HR tech

Although rising in popularity, the phrase HR tech still isn’t totally commonplace. Covering hardware and software, it includes innovations such as the cloud, automation and self-service systems. Its aim is to improve performance, provide cost savings and boost the overall competitiveness of HR functions.

A huge range of HR tech is now available and its use is becoming more and more mainstream in our world of work.

The HR tech you need to know about

The pandemic has pushed new innovations into the HR tech space, triggered by remote working, increased focus on wellbeing and updated recruitment solutions.

With this in mind, here are some of the main developments in HR Tech to have on your radar.

  • Cloud versus local systems: Transitioning from local systems to the cloud is resulting in strong HR benefits including gains in productivity, improved employee experience and better workforce insights. Of course, working in the cloud is also enabling entire organisations to switch to remote working in record speed.
  • Virtual recruitment systems: Traditional recruitment processes have been flipped on their head in the last year and now rely on solutions like interview debriefing technology and automated reference checking systems.
  • Employee monitoring and analytics: Working remotely means managers and HR leaders need better visibility on employee productivity. This is now being provided by a variety of tools which analyse performance metrics and KPIs, schedule activity and react to changing work patterns.
  • Learning and development: This is where HR tech is really taking off. Remote education and micro-learning initiatives are springing up frequently and go a long way to helping an organisation foster a culture of learning and development. VR is another growing tool which is also influencing training.
  • Communication: Tools like virtual assistants and chatbots are rewriting the way we interact in both our professional and personal lives. HR professionals will need to be aware of new developments in this space to ensure that their organisation is working at an optimum level, wherever its employees may be based.

The benefits and potential of HR tech

HR tech has been instrumental in overcoming challenges organisations have faced due to the pandemic. In light of the further change and challenge expected this year, here are just some of the ways HR tech can help organisations manage and thrive.

  1. Improving remote collaboration

Tools such as Slack, Trello, Teams and Zoom have helped organisations operate remotely with much success, but ‘Zoom fatigue’ is a growing issue among many workforces. With remote and hybrid working here to stay, HR leaders need to rise to the challenge of keeping employees engaged and productive while based at home.

Alternative tools such as Facebook Workplace, FocusMate and PukkaTeam have virtual coworking abilities which can aid collaboration and engagement. VR conferencing is also coming to the fore, offering a realistic substitution for in-person meetings.

  1. Addressing mental health and wellbeing

The health implications of the pandemic on workforces is multifaceted and we have certainly seen a much greater emphasis on the mental health and wellbeing of employees. HR tech can help reduce the strain through initiatives such as AI therapists, chatbots, virtual GPs and fitness trackers.

  1. Upgrading virtual learning

Remote working has changed an organisation’s ability to upskill and develop its workforce, but HR tech may offer a solution. Virtual learning methods are widely employed, but tools like Google Classroom, Facebook Workplace, FocusMate and PukkaTeam help employees learn with the social aspect that can be missing when remote.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution

Although there are lots of exciting developments in HR tech, what works for one organisation won’t necessarily be right for another. It will be crucial for HR professionals to remain adaptable and open-minded when it comes to embracing new tech in order to help their organisation and its people thrive.

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