The future looks digital! An era of the digitised HR functionadmin
The future looks digital! Have you seen it?
Human resources or people management is often seen as an independent function. Some would even go further to say human resources and/or people management is often the least prioritised for digitisation and innovation. Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, most organisations have been found unprepared. Therefore, Lack of adequate Technology to support their workforce who are forced to work from home has been a weakness for most organisations. Organisations not having invested in robust cloud-based workforce management tools and subsequently productivity has been negatively affected. If there was ever a time to invest in human resources digitisation, that time is now.
Digitisation is described as the process of converting information into digital formats, thereby making it accessible anytime, anywhere. This has become exceedingly important as employees need to access their work, collaborate, engage with managers from home.
So what will a digitised Human Resource look like?
Well, at the most basic level, a digitised Human Resource department will have employee records and documents stored in digital formats. This information must be accessible to the HR department and individual employees, anytime, anywhere. Some functions of HR, like recruitment have long moved online. However, some functions such as performance and talent management are still manual and backward.
At the centre of a digitised HR lies the Employee Value Proposition (EVP). In other words, the employee experience should be central to the digitisation process. This implies that HR processes and services must be digitised in a form which makes social and mobile accessibility possible. The new digitised Human Resource must be designed to improve employee experience whilst advancing organisational objectives by moving from costly paper-based, reactive and time consuming process, to a more timeous and digitised approach. This means, employees must be constantly engaged, performance encouraged, customers retained and organisational success optimally reached.
What is the digitised Human Resource comprised of?
A digitised Human Resource will be comprised of various layers of technology seamlessly working together. We are going to focus on the key aspects which will help with the success of your new digitised HR.
1. The Cloud
Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage (cloud storage) and computing power, without direct active management by the user. In lay man’s terms it is just a bunch of secure computer servers and networking infrastructure on which our HR software and other applications are hosted. In our context, the cloud is an approach which allows us to access our Digitised HR Systems from anywhere without having to worry about security, back-ups and availability because we let the specialists deal with it. It is also cheaper because we don’t have to buy servers but we only rent what we need. The advantages of implementing a cloud based HR System is that our employees will be able to access it from anywhere e.g. from home, they can collaborate in realtime and are not limited to the office (which we cannot go to now during this COVID-19 pandemic).
Access via mobile devices is another critical aspect of digitising HR. Employees like salespeople and field technicians are always on the road and they need an easy way to engage with the digitised HR system for processes like claiming for their expenses, applying for leave and tracking their activities. At the very least a digitised HR System must be accessible from a web browser for mobile and desktop.
A more centralised approach to digital HR is where HR Practitioners prefer to centralise the use of platforms and therefore eliminating employee access and modification of information. The self-service platform offers a number of advantages for parties involved (employees, managers alike). This means that the HR department has less data entry, managers can control their teams better and employees are more involved in work activities.
Integrated or specialised
As it is noted above, HR is responsible for a number of responsibilities which include; performance, management, recruitment, payroll as well as leave and attendance. Some organisations have different sub-systems dealing with the different functions. In this case some sort of integration will need to be done to avoid duplication of tasks. An integrated digitised HR system which has multiple modules may eliminate the need for integration.
Advantages of a digitised HR function:
- Availability of accurate and timely data for all staff.
- Higher speed of retrieval of specific information.
- Timeous processing of information (leave, timesheets, expenses and rewards).
- Better ability and transparency to respond to environmental changes.
- Better team engagements and reports.
- Ability to work from anywhere
In conclusion, we believe that, now is the time to invest in HR digitisation which has now been accelerated by the current crisis we are facing. HR digitisation will help in increasing employee productivity, save costs and create a more compelling employee value proposition.
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Dr Anita Sharma, 2015. The role of digitisation in HR.
Susan Hathfield, 2019. What is a Human Resource?
Andrea de Vita, 2019. The digitalisation of Human Resources: 7 Key Steps.