It sounds like a contradiction in terms, should technology and human resources work together in any sort of electronic/human harmony? It becomes quite the debate when you are thinking about businesses in the modern world as a whole, and the computer systems that we run should be secondary to our decisions and thought processes as people. While we should think of technology as, in some ways, inferior to actual human decision-making, the opposite is becoming very apparent in a lot of businesses. Industries such as the service industry or companies that specialize in administrative procedures are benefiting from automated technology, which throws a lot of low-skilled workers into a precarious position. So, can technology and human resources work together to benefit the industry as a whole?
There are plenty of ideas that businesses you can use to get ahead of your competitors and this can include things like marketing, administration as well as, ironically, the more human interfaces of the modern business. Ultimately, a lot of people can feel sidelined by tech, but it is better to think of technology as a means to an end rather than the end itself. And so, here are a few examples in which you can help make businesses improve, not just for a structural aspect, like productivity, but it can also benefit on a holistic level too.
The hiring process
The whole process of acquiring talent, in respect of human resources, is an essential function. While appearing human on the front (and in name), it is being affected by technology more and more as time passes. The more recent applicant tracking systems (ATS) is something that helps HR professionals keep a close eye on prospective candidates, and when the candidates have been narrowed down to the interview process, it is now being done via video technology. There are numerous benefits to making this the core way of talent acquisition because it helps the prospective employee and the employer to go through the process quickly and efficiently because time is cut down from both sides due to travel etc., but also cost is greatly reduced. This is the future of hiring staff, and we’ve already seen the process of remote workers succeeding well by just relying on technology.
The payroll process
One of the vital aspects of any business is its ability to pay staff members promptly and without fail. This is something that, going back 20 years, would require a few hands on deck to make sure the whole process was completed swiftly. It was also done manually, which would be unheard of now. The automation of the payroll process has helped to take the focus off the stressful process of handling paychecks etc. and focusing their attention on more pressing matters. The added benefit of invoice security in the modern climate of Internet hackers makes for a process that has a lot more peace of mind for each side of the payment process. The accounts payable sector can be one to cause major headaches, especially for those that are new in the business realm, like startups.
The automation of processes
We’ve already seen what automation can do for a business when it comes to the back office functions. This has been demonstrated very clearly by CRM automating the fairly simple aspects that can keep the company in the mind of the customer. For example, emails or social media being programmed to drip feed information on a regular basis so you can keep your brand firmly in the mind of the customer. It’s a big part of the business, operating on the customer’s behalf, so it’s vital to be firing on all cylinders in this respect. So when it comes to making your customers feel valued or to keep in constant contact with them, automation has become an invaluable tool.
The main purpose of human resources is to make sure that your staff are working to the best of their ability and are helping themselves, as well as your business. The staff member that does not work to the best of their ability could be viewed as a dead weight, but with the advent of analytics, it has proven very useful in the call center environment to understand the minutiae of each call handler and where they are going right as well as going wrong. This means that even the lowest skilled member of staff has facts and figures to measure themselves against so they can start to improve their efforts which benefit the both of you as well as the customer.
The benefits of mobile communication
It’s not just the smartphone that has changed our life on the personal side of things it has benefited businesses when it comes to liaising with staff members that are dealing with personal problems or looking at getting help. It can also help you to figure out ways with staff members to help them to get back to work quicker, either by doing remote working or by reducing their hours. Mobile communication is great in the confines of HR, but it also is catering for the new breed of workers such as Generation Z who are more reliant on mobile capabilities for personal contact as well as work contact.
Probably the most vital tool you will ever need as a leader in any way shape or form is to engage your staff members. By fully engaging staff members, you are helping to keep productivity high as well as improve morale across the board. There are typical tools built into every standard business framework, and one of the more common examples is the biannual review of the employee. This is slowly making its way out the door thanks to technology. It seems that now instead of once every six months giving a massive list of things that a certain staff member has to improve upon, there are much better tools to allow continual monitoring of a staff member’s progress. In other words, in real time. This means problems are solved quickly and as early as possible before they can snowball, but you can also use tech to keep your employees schooled in the latest business processes, which we have already seen with e-learning becoming the most common form of staff member improvements in general business.
As you can see, technology has become more than something to do our bidding, but it is our equal! But don’t forget that it is a vital tool and should be harnessed appropriately.