Something just like this: What do HR leaders expect from HR technology?
“Just someone I can turn to, I want something like this,” these lyrics from the famous song Something Like This by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay are the best projection and constant mood of HR leaders using technology. You might be thinking how? ETHRWorld brings to you the top three challenges and expectations that HR leaders have from HR technology.
Often there is news about HR technology bringing huge revolutions in the HR field and some HR tech startups have entered the unicorn club. But new technology means change which in turn means challenges from deployment to understanding the technology for the user.
Also, 24 per cent of CHROs said they struggle to fully understand how evolving technology trends (such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality) will impact talent management processes.
The constant innovations in technology aim to revolutionise and create ease in functioning but statistics show that there are several challenges still in the way of adopting and deploying the technology. ETHRWorld interacted with HR leaders to know more about the challenges that they are facing and their expectations from future technology to mitigate the challenges.
Making technology more adaptable and interesting
When work from home setup became the worldwide mood of working during the pandemic, several challenges were faced by employees and management to shift to the new technology. Many employees felt left out and overburdened with using new technology and the tech team faced challenges of making technology more accessible.
According to Monica Mudgal, Head – HR, HealthKart, making technology more interesting and accessible is a challenge.
“In the need to innovate, the challenge is how to make it feel more interesting, more fun, and more acceptable, organically replacing hackneyed/vapid manual processes. For us HR folks, the major challenge in leveraging technology for HR processes is to make it adaptable to the end-users – primarily business managers – and explicate the benefits to them,” said Mudgal.
She further said if the technology is not accessible then the whole purpose of technology is wasted.
“During our day-to-day transactions and interactions with staff at large, we struggle with implementation and 100 per cent adoption of new technologies. If it is not adding value to the end-user, then all the razzmatazz that we may forge around it would tend to fizzle out in the end,” added Mudgal.
As implementation remains the biggest challenge, Mudgal believes that HR technology needs to focus on the behavioural aspect more than the expertise perspectives.
She said, “HR technology players can best address these challenges by understanding the baseline and looking at talent across the organisation – not only from a knowledge and expertise perspective, but also from mindset and behaviour perspective.”
Speaking about her expectations and areas where HR tech can work to improve the implementation problem, Mudgal says there are three areas where HR technology can work upon.
Firstly, Mudgal emphasised, the need for HR technology is to become a partner of HRs and understand the distinct needs of an organisation. She said, “Become a Proactive HR Partner with us. Understand the basics of our transformation journey – why, how, from where, and to where.”
“Every organisation is different and has a different need for transformation. Therefore, stay “connected” with us in the real sense of the word, and not just push your own standard sales pitch onto us,” added Mudgal.
Secondly, in terms of artificial intelligence, Mudgal said that there is a need for several improvements in chatbots to make them more interactive and accessible.
She said, “Artificial intelligence needs to improve the ability to reach all employees, develop multilingual, multi-channel deployment, conversational AI-based approach, early attrition warning prediction, and customisations according to organisation’s requirements.”
Thirdly, she stressed the need for establishing a digital learning academy to keep the employees updated with the latest technologies.
“Creation of a Digital Learning Academy to work alongside the organisation to build capabilities for employees at different levels – say basic, intermediate and advanced. The starting point is to understand where an employee or talent is, and build a specific and dedicated learning agenda for them,” she said.
Developing customizable technology to give valuable experience
Technology is not a matter of a single fit to all, Anusha Suryanarayan, Chief Human Resources Officer, Signify Philips Lighting India, said, adding, there are many HR technology players in the Indian marketplace, but the problem lies in customization as there are different sizes of organisations.
“The Indian marketplace is rife with service providers in the HR technology space with many small-scale organisations offering interesting technology solutions in the space of engagement, recruitment, learning and recognition. However, not all of these are truly scalable to a mid-sized workforce and may also not be open to a lot of customization to suit the specific needs of different organisations,” said Suryanarayan.
Similarly, Lalit Singh, Co-Founder & CTO, Meraqui, said that HR software customization is a troublesome process.
Singh said, “HR technology adoption is basically unavoidable. When it comes to the deployment of HR technology, many firms may experience certain difficulties. HR software customization is frequently a stumbling block during installation. It’s critical to understand your company’s customised requirements and find a vendor who can meet them.”
Sharing another challenge, Suryanarayan highlighted the lack of nimbleness and delivering a value-added experience for employees and companies which create resistance to use technology.
“HR technology must keep up with this need for nimbleness and deliver a value-added experience for employees and companies alike,” asserted Suryanarayan.
For instance, she said that many HR managers still prefer face-to-face interaction when it comes to transactions even though tools are available for the same process.
She said, “People managers are still used to interacting with HR partners face-to-face to talk about even transactional needs, whereas HR Operations and Services have moved to app-based HRMS tools that require people managers to be a lot more independent and self-reliant when it comes to simple transactions.”
Talking about her expectations from HR technology, she said that HR technology needs to be more customisable and aligned with the company’s culture.
“In my opinion, HR technology solutions must be customizable and flexible and should be able to incorporate key cultural drivers of the organisation in the platform while also being scalable,” said Suryanarayan.
Also, she said that HR technology should be more focused on communication and responsiveness. “The tech support teams should be high on responsiveness and provide consistent experiences when it comes to troubleshooting and reporting. A strong focus should also be on supporting communication. The quicker the tool is adopted, the better are the chances of it becoming ingrained in the ways of working,” Suryanarayan added.
Evolving HR technology
As the workplace is continuously evolving with different demands, there is also a need for technology to evolve with the growing needs. For example, Chaitra Desai, Director – Talent Acquisition, Dream11, said that the hiring needs at Dream 11 keep increasing because of the growing user base.
She said, “At Dream Sports, especially with a platform like Dream11 that has a growing user base of over 120 million users, a hurdle for us is that most of our potential candidates lack extensive experience of working at such a scale. Currently, the primary focus in hiring for the next couple of months is to rapidly scale up the teams in our core productivity functions of technology, product and design.”
Sharing her expectations from HR technology, Desai said, “Maintaining the accuracy of employee data, efficiently managing different types of corporate data as well as updating it securely and correctly are challenges that are easily solvable with the right HR technology.”
“Automating core processes resolves the main administrational challenges and allows the team to focus on more strategic tasks that can improve employee experience, and grow and retain the workforce,” she added.
Talking about a similar aspect, Mainak Maheshwari, Director – Talent Advisory, PeopleAsset, said HR technology needs to be flexible with the evolving changes coming up and quickly adapt to the newly added data and insights.
He said, “As the last two years have taught us, we need to provide a lot of flexibility to employees and potential candidates and therefore, we need a system that is equipped to provide the same. The second challenge is regarding the integration across various productivity tools to ensure the data is captured as and when things change.”
Moreover, mentioning the importance and the expectation of evolving HR technology, Desai said, “In our industry, change is a constant thing and the technology should adapt to those changes.”
She further said, “For an industry like ours, where change is the only constant, the right HR technology will also support the level of adaptability that HR requires as workforce needs and priorities continuously evolve.”