Technology Trends in Human Resource
The Human Resources function has been consistently evolving right from the time it was welfare and compliance focussed to becoming a business critical partner. As we barrel into the future on the verge of a technologically-savvy workplace, HR has a lot to look forward to. Let’s look at some technological trends that have the potential to transform the HR Landscape:
1. Employee Engagement
Tools enabling organizations to better understand employee needs are becoming more and more critical as feedback tops the charts. There is an increasing effort to consolidate these with performance management, leadership assessment, change management, and just about every other people practice in business.
2. People Analytics
Advanced analytical software’s are being increasingly used to draw trends and make predictions. There are products from leading HR software vendors that can recommend employee trainings based on their roles and activities at work; identify non-compliant workers basis lapses in their mandatory training and certification; and even track employee activities and behaviours to predict job changes and accordingly suggest engagement & hiring needs.
Naturally, HR is the central repository of humungous employee & company data and offline storage can only lead to inefficiencies & data loss. Hence, Cloud is picking up pace where documents and other pertinent information can be easily accessed online while data can be collected through simplified forms and automated processes.
A new revolution that is bringing greater automation to HR process (just like it is to other business processes), and enabling far more data driven predictions and forward looking decisions is Chatbots.
A chatbot is a service, powered by rules and artificial intelligence that lets you interact via a chat interface. The service could be anything from functional to fun, like a weather bot, grocery bot, news bot, HR bot.
Rule Based chatbots respond to very specific commands (rules), and are unable to process if information is not entered in the right way. On the other hand, Machine Learning chatbots are Artificial intelligence based. They get smarter as they learn, via Natural Language Processing (NLP), from the conversations it has had with people.
Although chatbots have been popular amongst the consumer-facing companies that use them for basic customer-service functions, a number of HR solutions and service providers like PeopleStrong, Ramco Systems, etc. have also lately concentrated many efforts on creating bots. It has been observed that close to 60% of consumers feel good about themselves and the selling company when they are able to solve a problem without having to speak with a person. Using the same principle, Human Resources function in organisations across the world has started using HR Chatbots.
Chatbots facilitate immediate employee access and as a result, is increasingly used by companies to help human resources managers speed up some routine functions. This mechanism has 2 basic agendas: to ensure that employees get immediate access to all the possible information available without having to wait for the HR department to respond; and empower human resources managers speed up mundane tasks and focus on strategic areas.
Moving to the level next, Chatbots could also be leveraged for one of the most critical HR processes – performance reviews and employee feedback. Leaving the human interaction aside, Chatbots allows real-time feedback, collate scores and thereby curtail the lengthy course of action.
Chatbots may also prove to be useful in cutting down majority of the time spent on mundane recruiting process. They are also able to manage another critical aspect of Human Resources – Onboarding new employees. They are used to contact new employees (or allow them to self-serve) with onboarding information, such as organisational structure and history, how to get enrolled in programs or benefits, suggestions on colleagues to meet, and links to the required HR formseffectively automating the role of an HR generalist.
Cost & Time
Unlike most enterprise platforms – that are bulky and rely on long-hours of training before usage, Chatbots consume a considerably shorter amount of time to build and use. There are also a plethora of templates readily available from developers like Facebook, Microsoft, etc. which can help build a Chatbot quickly.
Though many successes have been recorded with text based chatbots; the voice-enabled smarter chatbots still have a long way to go. Despite dramatic progress in AI in the recent times, language understanding still remains a huge challenge, with different accents and human intonations posing the challenge of uncertainty for machines.
In case of an organisation having existing applications, it can lead to an issue of chat application overload. Additionally, Chatbots may pose security concerns in cases where the data involves sensitive employee data like compensation, performance metrics, etc.
With these changes as an HR leader it’s imperative that one understands the HR Technology space and puts safeguards in place against these latest technology trends. Many parameters governing the HR Technology implementations have changed; however any technology change is only successful when it is accompanied by lasting business impact.
Technology in HR can definitely revolutionalize the organisation by reducing the cost tremendously as compared to the traditional approach. Chatbots & Technology can not only reduce the number of people working on a particular HR task, but also enable continuous learning which could improve future performance. Overall, it allows businesses to become leaner and more effective.