Pandemic increases focus on HR technology investment


Technology has helped HR support employees to collaborate

HR technology has increased in importance during the pandemic, according to a survey by XpertHR.

Just over 85% of organisations have a formal HR technology strategy in place, or plan to introduce one over the coming 12 months, it found.

Almost nine in 10 deployed some form of technology to support HR activities, with the most common being an HR management/HRIS system, used by 71.5% of respondents.

HR management systems were most commonly deployed in organisations with more than 1,000 employees, where 90% had an HRIS in place.

Just over one in 10 (11.8%) of organisations said they currently do not use any HR technology, with the most common barrier being insufficient resources.

In most organisations surveyed, the HR technology strategy was part of a wider HR strategy, although one in 10 said they had a standalone strategy for technology. Just over a quarter plan to introduce an HR technology strategy over the coming 12 months.

The main drivers for investing in technology were to increase automation of HR services (81%), to enable employees to access HR via self-service (66.9%), to enable data-driven decision making (66%) and to integrate disparate sources of people data (64.6%).

When asked how HR technology use had changed over the past 12 months, HR professionals said it had been deployed in enabling the rapid shift to remote working, helping keep employees engaged and connected, and recording details of furloughed employees.

Technology has also been vital in supporting ‘virtual’ processes such as recruitment and onboarding.

When asked what advice they would share in choosing and implementing an HR technology solution, respondents’ recommendations included:

  • Be as thorough as possible when looking for a solution, taking time to identify exactly what a solution needs to help achieve, and selecting the option most closely matching these needs.
  • Put user experience at the centre of HR technology initiatives, and involve users in every step from design through implementation to use.
  • Be aware that work processes may need to evolve following the introduction of HR technology, in ways that can often prove to be for the better.

XpertHR HR practice editor Sheila Attwood said: “HR technology has fully established itself as a key part of HR’s toolkit, proving its value by enabling HR’s rapid and agile response to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“At its most effective, HR technology can help deliver smooth and efficient HR processes while also driving engagement by keeping employees informed and connected.”

XpertHR’s survey was carried out in January and February this year, with responses from 144 organisations with a combined workforce of almost 140,000 employees.

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