If the industrial revolution transformed the kind of jobs people aspired to have, a slew of new age technologies along with increasing automation today are slowly driving a similar transformation in many facets of the businesses. In the last few decades alone, the rise of digital disruptors has changed the way industries operate and the way business is conducted. But this has taken a completely bearing on the HR processes. In the context of HR, the features that earlier saw automation included administrative processes like payroll, benefits and time management. However, the phenomenon of automation is now moving towards more advanced processes including job performance analysis, management of employee referrals and assessing internal employee social networks. Companies are now taking advantage of this transformation and are expanding their budgets to accommodate investments on technology in HR processes. According to the People Matters HR Technology Study 2015, six out of ten companies are increasing their annual budgets and in terms of the domains are increasing their budgets in HR Analytics (72%), Recruitment Technology (69%), L&D Technology (69%), and bringing mobility across the HR processes (65%).
Despite the scope that technology automation provides in driving business results, companies are often faced with certain challenges relating to gaps between the expectation of the technology to address a business problem and the actual delivery of the technology; managing technology, whether in-house and outsourced; and the inability of HR leaders to drive business cases for HR Processes. However, in order to make HR automation a seamless process, there are a few things that can be kept in mind to counter and manage such challenges:
Aspiration vs. Readiness
While automation is still in a nascent stage, HR needs to identify the gaps between business aspiration and business readiness.HR leaders are often too caught up in the aspirational aspects of technologies. There needs to be clarity in terms of the automation pyramid – whether it is at the field level, the controller’s level, an operator’s level or the management level. In this context, for example, it would be worthwhile to ask what aspects of talent management should be automated. Given that different companies are at different stages of growth, HR must prioritize its needs concerning automating processes, whether it is the whole performance management, or just grievances.
In-house or outsourced technology
It is also essential for the HR and business leaders to reflect on whether the technology will be built and managed in-house or handled by an external party. Even in the case of using external technology, whether one should be involved in the design aspects of customization or not is important to determine. Driving assessments suited to the organizations’ needs or focusing on a high-end off the shelf product are also some parameters that need to be considered. For any organization, the right mix should involve internal product design and external tools that offer the ability to customize.
Alignment with business needs
When HR makes the right business case by emphasizing on a business challenge that needs to be solved, the process or initiative is likely to succeed. Alternatively, when initiatives are seen as a standalone activity led by HR, it is less likely to be taken onboard by the business. In this context, the imperative is to align with the established business goals and then propose the change. Thus, it becomes important to assess whether the business is ready to take on the changes arising out of the implementation of new technologies .The idea of automating HR processes need to be linked to the overall business outcomes it will help achieve in terms of productivity, efficiency and quality of talent.
At MakeMyTrip, where we have a millennial workforce, our own experience of adopting technology tools, whether it is for automating processes or supplementing our existing initiatives has involved a needs assessment and architecting supporting technology to ensure the leadership buy-in. For example, in our learning and development function, we observed that apart from skill building based learning modules, peer to peer learning that employees can access on-the-go was also immensely popular. Since there was a need and opportunity, we created “Trippers academy” which is an app-based platform that enables employees to share their learning with their peers. Users of the app can easily shoot videos of fewer than three minutes and post it to the platform. This initiative saw a lot of traction. So, whether it is learning imitative or performance management related issues, taking note of the factors that drive successful tech adoption will play a vital role in tackling disruption.
By Yuvaraj Srivastava, Chief Human Resource Officer, Makemytrip
The article was first published on People Matters.