The Employee Age: How Technology Can Help – People Matters | CialisWay

In today’s age of upheaval, technology is one of the key drivers of upskilling and ancillary skills, encouraging continuous learning. According to Forbes, it’s one of the most important competitive differentiators, and as it increasingly falls into the realm of HR, HR leaders must continually ask themselves, “Can we provide employees with a great learning environment at work?”.

The need for HR Tech

Businesses have been using the technology for years, but only recently has it begun to show its pervasive impact on people management. This is because HR as a function can capture and see the maximum amount of data that a company can create. Whether it’s a person’s vacation status, attendance and absence, employee intranet contribution, or external volunteer activities, the data points are out there, connecting for big data tools to show a critical mass of insights . Therefore, over time companies have realized that every HR employee must be a data scientist. “That’s where the next CEO is hiding. You just need to search with the right tools,” says Rajendran Dandapani, Director of Engineering at Zoho Corporation. For example, McKinsey is now exploring AI tools to handle Rajendran’s large proportions of resignations.

The business case for HR Tech

Technology must become as important to HR as it is to business. It should boost the energy efficiency of living beings if done right. For example, when Steve Jobs launched the Macintosh and wanted to sell it to people who didn’t know what a computer could do, he launched an advertising campaign that is still considered one of the best in the world to this day. Steve Jobs said, “I’m bringing out a computer that’s like a ‘bike for your brain'”. In fact, technology is like a bicycle that has the ability to power different elements of HR. Recruitment and selection, performance management, learning and development, succession planning for future scenario planning, compensation and benefits are just a few of the areas that data and analytics are touching and transforming. Talent Tech should integrate all of this, single tools will not work. For example, Zoho has over 50 tools that work together by sharing data. From identifying a person who applied along the way of that person’s transfer as an employee, to noting what projects he or she successfully completed today, to seeing how the person would perform on interviews five years from now has, integration is key. The right technical tools paint a big picture. “We might think that AI is about data, but the next wave is about gaining AI insights with very little data, that is, with self-learning tools,” Rajendran believes.

Balance technology with touch

Rajendran says: “Today I used a digital background in my presentation that represents digital connectivity with all the dots connected. From my point of view, this represents HR more than ever. Because HR is about shaking hands, talking, meeting, connecting; not to send an email when a meeting is more useful”.

That’s true, food for thought for HR practitioners. The Oxford meaning of “digital” comes from the Latin word digitus, meaning finger. “It’s more important to touch your employees, colleagues, prospects to connect with them,” says Rajendran. ATMs became popular because people were unwilling to wait in lines and wanted access anytime, anywhere, in their own place and with privacy. Similarly, self-help tech tools only work if they activate the bottom of the pyramid. Simple steps like allowing people to create a form and share information with whoever they want or start a support group and discuss make a big difference. Tech is about building a platform that allows employees (even those who just joined yesterday) to feel one with the system. It helps to transition from non-conference mode to conference mode, from closed view to transparency. To make a real impact, HR must learn to share the data it collects openly in a meaningful way, and not hoard it, advises Rajendran.

The way forward

Technology has a bad habit of exponential speed; it makes everyone believe that to stay in the same place, we must keep running at the fastest possible speed. “But we’re dealing with people in HR, and their heartbeats haven’t changed in thousands of years,” Rajendran jokes. Man has his own pace. Therefore, to make HR technology a success, organizations need to understand that while there may be some impatience in implementing technology, there is not impatience in adopting the technology. “We need to focus on creating a strong employee experience. When the time comes, the fruits will come anyway,” says Rajendran.

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