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Digital HR In Workplace

Not only are job seekers but even recruiters increasingly using mobile apps to filter the right candidates for jobs in a hassle-free manner

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Digital transformation is a much-extolled disruptor in almost all organizations. Organizations are reshaping themselves because of digital transformation. As organizations transform themselves, their departments have undergone tremendous change primarily because of digitalization.  The HR division is no exception. Digital and social media have also positively changed the HR division in the workplace. They have transformed how organizations recruit, train, pay and retain employees. For instance, managers use LinkedIn to identify active and passive job seekers.  This digital recruiting trend has seen a tremendous rise in recent years.  Companies are using many other social media sites other than LinkedIn, like Facebook and Twitter to hire the right talent. The company connected globally use video-based interviews instead of face to face interviews. Video-based interviews offer many benefits in the hiring process by increasing connectivity and saving time. 

Given all the technological advancements and digital disruptions taking place in the world, we can even question ourselves whether “Is it the end for Traditional workplace era?”  Automation is ruling the HR world as well. Automated HR processes benefit the HR department to handle the humungous volume of data with ease, few errors, and faster implementation enabling time-saving. Some of the HR functions which have seen successful automation are Leave requests approval, Employee information system updates, training and onboarding process, Payroll and appraisal process etc.,

Digital HR has been identified as the top trend by Deloitte 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report. Organizations are concentrating on developing digital workplaces which is nothing but to redefine how people work and connect with their colleagues. As per Deloitte 2017 report, 56 percent of businesses are redesigning their HR programmes to leverage digital and mobile tools, 33 percent of HR teams use Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools to deliver HR solutions and 41 percent are actively building mobile apps to deliver HR services.

One of the major HR game changers is the dominance of millennials at the workplace. This generation is tech-savvy, highly collaborative and adaptable. To embrace innovation and change, organizations must focus on recruiting more millennials as they can suit the demand of being digitalized. Apart from this, the existing workforce must be trained to learn new technologies to adapt to the digitalized workplace. 

Work from home and Homing from work are increasingly acceptable practices nowadays. This encourages remote working and flexible schedules and ensures work life balance. The emphasis here is on caring employees, as organizations believe that employees who are well taken care of will, in turn, take care of the customers. Companies also use self-service systems to help employees book and manage their leave on their own. Workflow management tools like Asana, help organizations to keep track of projects as well as their human resources.

In fact, the digital space is increasingly expanding outwards into the cloud. On a whole, SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics, and Cloud) is making a tremendous impact on the workplace. Shifting from traditional to Digital HR demands companies to invest in cloud-based software solutions and tools to automate the end to end talent management processes starting from recruitment to retention of employees.  Many companies are also incorporating AI into their HR processes to reduce time-consuming administrative tasks. AI seems to be showing great promise in helping HR teams focus more on delivering their digital HR strategies.

HR is not only about people, but also about processes. Right from recruitment, performance metrics to structured training and compensation, cloud-based HR solutions help in the centralization of employee data. The existence of cloud in HR is still in infancy stage. Almost all HR software nowadays offer cloud-based solutions. All information can be stored and retrieved from online, as well as information can be archived in a secure location. The most commonly used cloud-based HR solutions software are Oracle, SAP, ADP, Infor, Workday, etc. 

Another important trend in HR is the use of mobile-enabled HR solutions. Increased usage of mobile apps with today’s generation or millennial employees have highly contributed to self- service. Today’s generation is more comfortable and dependent on mobile apps for all daily activities including hunting for jobs. This is because mobile devices make their work convenient and cost-effective. Not only are job seekers, even recruiters increasingly using mobile apps to filter the right candidates for jobs in a hassle-free manner.  This is again the reason for many companies to introduce mobile-based apps and games to train their employees. 

As HR teams grapple and take into stride the pace and impact of the digital world; as we wonder, “When, Why and How HR became Digital? It eases the challenge by going back to the basics. Use can be made of Dave Ulrich’s (pioneer in strategic HR) model that throws light on the four roles played by HR in any organization.

Strategic Partner: Traditional HR playing the role of strategic partner concentrates on fostering ‘systems thinking’ and ‘customer focus’ by aligning strategies with business. As the world is becoming digitalized, the strategic partner plays a key role in aligning business strategies to digital demands. This will help employees to stay connected anytime, anywhere.

Change Agent: A Change agent is the one who understands the organization’s culture and helps assist line managers to lead and cope with organizational change. One way of transforming culture to employees is through the induction process. This can be done by e-based training sessions or video based training. Training for upgradation of skills need not necessarily be based on chalk and talk or face to face workshops as there are digital alternatives even available on the internet. 

Administrative expert: HR in this role will aim to deliver HR processes in an efficient and effective way. Using AI and Machine learning techniques, HR can provide feasible solutions to increase employees’ potential as well as provide retention strategies using analytics.

Employee champion: Employee champions enhance people contribution by motivating them and enhancing the commitment of employees. One such aspect is to encourage employee engagement. Research indicates that digital networking tools and platforms have led to increased employee engagement.

Digital transformation will decide the future of human resource function. Dave Ulrich model is one of the paradigms used to explain the transformation. Organizations can adopt different paradigms to digitalize their workforce and workplace.

Salient Features of Digital HR in the workplace:

  1. Agility to integrate people, technology and processes 
  2. Learn to adopt from other departments like Marketing or Operations 
  3. Embrace Design thinking
  4. Ensure real-time employee experience 
  5. Integrate analytics and reporting

HR in many companies, to large extent, concentrates spending money on digitization. What HR has to do is to make an immediate shift towards digitalization. HR is progressing to lead the workplace’s digital transformation via cloud services, new technologies, and platforms. The change is more or less inevitable as otherwise, it compromises on efficiency. HR teams can continue to adapt digitalize and modernize in comfort even by being firmly grounded in the basic tenets of the HR function. Digital transformation is happening at a quicker pace. HR function must be involved in preparing for the automation to tackle not only the redundancies but also on reskilling of employees.

What an irony; Human invents technologies to assist them but have to reskill themselves to work with the technologies!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Digital HR hr millenials workplace

Dr. Shameem S

The author is an Assistant Professor, Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior, Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai.

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