How Technology is Transforming HR

By Andrew Morris, Director, Robert Half [NYSE: RHI]

Andrew Morris, Director, Robert Half [NYSE: RHI]

Technology is bringing change and innovation to every aspect of the Human Resources (HR) function—from recruitment processes to the way employees are managed, motivated and retained. We look at how four technological advances are reshaping HR practices.

Cloud computing–centralizing real time information

By streamlining data storage and retrieval, cloud technology is enhancing opportunities for greater collaboration in the talent recruitment process. Candidates’ details can be readily shared and reviewed by HR teams, department managers and business leaders, regardless of geographic location.

Cloud computing also has applications for employee management. The real time nature of data allows HR teams to make ongoing assessments of employee performance, so that any issues can be addressed at an early stage, and possibly eliminating the need for the more time-consuming annual review process.

Importantly, cloud technology is underpinning flexible workplaces, a key factor in talent attraction and retention. Robert Half research shows that 84 percent of Australian employers are already offered remote working as a non-salary benefit.

Artificial Intelligence–changing the nature of work

Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to boost profitability by 38 percent by 2035 according to a study by Accenture. But along with benefits, AI brings HR challenges.

AI can be used to fast-track the recruitment process by selecting suitable candidates through machine learning, using techniques that go beyond simple keyword matching. This frees HR professionals to invest in the human aspect of recruitment, including assessing a candidate’s attitude and if they fit with corporate culture.

On the flipside, Deloitte Access Economics estimates that over the next 10 to 15 years, around 40 percent of Australian jobs have a “high probability” of being automated. This calls for HR to navigate a smooth transition between the addition of newly-created roles and the decline of traditional roles, and the possible risks and costs of redundancies.

Big data, big possibilities

Big data can support the HR function in a variety of ways. Anonymous polls and pulse surveys can provide insights into how employees feel about the organization—data that can be used to attract new talent, and develop policies that improve retention rates.

Data analytics can identify high-performing employees, who can be targeted for leadership roles, or conversely, pinpoint underperforming staff, who could benefit from additional training to achieve their full potential.

Internet of Things–more efficient workplaces

Many Australians are accustomed to the idea of the Internet of Things (IoT) through wearable devices that measure exercise, hours slept and even kilojoules burned. Similar IoT technologies can help employees track their own productivity, or allow HR teams to measure employee fatigue/stress levels so that workplace wellbeing can be maximized. The challenge for HR is to enlist the workforce into this effort. Employees won’t always be comfortable about their movements and activities being monitored.

While advances in technology offer considerable benefits, they also bring new considerations including privacy concerns and the need for watertight security of personal and company data. HR teams that can overcome these hurdles are well-placed to harness the power of technology—to build more efficient workplaces, populated by skilled and productive employees, who are loyal to the organization.

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