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Transforming HR through technology: e-HRM

Opinion & Analysis
In a competitive world, human resources (HR) need to transform to help the business to be more agile and efficient.

In a competitive world, human resources (HR) need to transform to help the business to be more agile and efficient.

Emmanuel Zvada

Technology plays a key role in digital transformation and this was accelerated by COVID-19. The need for digital transformation from operating in the traditional way of doing things is undeniable. The sooner the shift, the higher the chances of survival.

The future of HR depends on being agile, digital and fast. As HR we need to ensure we are at the heart of enabling organisational success. HR must rethink the capabilities and operating models required in the future.

Truly, this is the right time for HR to evolve as it has a critical role to play in this digital environment. HR leaders are harnessing resources and insights to redefine obsolete models, and implement technologies such as analytics, digital labour and artificial intelligence (AI). I like calling it e-HR. HR is evolving into a more technology-based profession because organisations need to streamline HR processes and reduce administrative burdens, compete more effectively for global talent and provide real-time matrix to allow decision-makers to spot trends and manage the workforce more effectively.

e-HRM meaning

The concept of electronic human resource management (HRM) is the adoption of technology in delivering HR practices. The term “e-HR” describes the transformation of HR service delivery to web-based technology. Implementing e-HR requires a fundamental change in the way HR professionals view their roles.

Now HR professionals must not only master traditional HR skills and knowledge, but also have the ability to apply that knowledge via technology. Due to the digital revolution in the world, e-HR is a tool organisations can employ to aid the performance and behaviour of the people on whom they rely on to achieve business success.

Opportunity amidst a pandemic

Technology has caused sweeping transformation across industries in the last couple of decades, disrupting industries like travel and hospitality while rapidly transforming functions like finance and marketing. It is during this pandemic that the HR department has seen the need to evolve. In the midst of the ongoing pandemic, HR technology continues to serve as a key asset for HR leaders.

The ability to disseminate information to a remote workforce is made easier when proper digital communication channels are in place. Small businesses may also realise that now is the time to capitalise on trends in HR tech and upgrade their systems to help remain in compliance, effectively track time, process payroll, and maintain employee information.

HR virtual assistants (HR robots)

HR chatbox is already gaining traction. It is being used as a kind of virtual HR help-desk and employees are increasingly using chatbox to get answers to routine queries. The pandemic has made organisations realise they too need to interact with employees. Virtual assistant technology can initiate this, share policy changes when remote working, promote wellbeing and mental health with push notifications. COVID-19 has changed the paradigm for virtual assistants. Business leaders must prepare now for this shift as it becomes mainstream. In the future, it is expected that AI-powered virtual assistants will be able to handle a range of HR functions, as a result improving employee engagement, generating insights on talent matrix, managing process workflows, and so on.

Artificial intelligence (AI) in HR tech

AI-enabled programmes are increasingly playing an important role in companies recruiting and hiring processes. They can speed up the process by which recruiters review job applicants from vast numbers of resumes. AI can facilitate an analysis of the labour market, match skills and identify competencies, and can perhaps detect bias in posted job descriptions.

Technology can be used to cement and reinforce internal structures of the workforce and ensure employees feel secure and supported during the shift to a digital workplace. AI is reinventing human resources in a way not seen before by automating recruitment, onboarding, learning, and development, allowing HR teams to focus more on creative and strategic work. Artificial intelligence in the workplace allows a company and its employees to attain maximum efficiency levels, leaving more time for projects and networking.

Data analytics transforming HR analytics)

It’s all about data. Expanding HR’s analytical capabilities to improve decision-making and facilitate the discovery of human capital Insights is key. The goal is to move from data being purely descriptive to being prescriptive, where it tells a story that enables you to make better data-driven decisions. Using analytics, data driven decisions can be made by HR professionals to attract and retain top talent. Post-COVID-19 HR practices will provide endless possibilities to use analytics in identifying trends and patterns on employee absenteeism, leave frequency, employee turnover rate, engagement level, among others. Data analytics will play a prominent role in increasing workforce productivity and engagement as well as improving workforce planning and talent development.

Retention, recruitment, engagement, diversity and workforce planning including other jobs can be done by analytics, in fact the sky is the limit for what people analytics can do to help enterprise talent teams. With data based on surveys and employee information alone, your HR team can start to make more informed people decisions and address top concerns.

New digital communication tools on the rise

The HR digital revolution is here and moving at rapid speed, and organisations are looking for new, effective, productive ways to meet the evolving demands of doing business — agility, 24/7 global access, speed and accuracy. By embracing IT as an enabler of workplace change, forward-thinking businesses will be able to move forward swiftly, empowering a new generation of staff through flexible and productive working practices. With remote working more widespread than ever, it is inevitable that new communication methods such as WhatsApp, Zoom, etc, result in faster decisions, more streamlined processes, and instant approvals and are superseding email in many cases as preferred tools for communication.

Collaborative social learning tools

Collaborative social learning was already on the rise before the COVID-19 pandemic. Collaborative learning is an e-learning approach where leaners are able to socially interact with other students, as well as instructors. In essence, learners work together in order to expand their knowledge of a particular subject or skill. During this pandemic we are seeing a rise in collaborative learning where consulting firms are now delivering training, virtual learning and offering online coaching over the internet.

Companies that have digitally transformed their HR functions have achieved measured success and are more likely to report strong financial performance, invest in diversity at all levels and have mature strategies for succession. The next wave of technology will drive more productivity, and that trend is too significant for HR leaders to ignore.

HR must embrace the digital revolution, champion HR transformation and engage employees to reap the benefits.

 Emmanuel Zvada is an award-winning Most Fabulous Global HR practitioner 2020, HR disrupter and trusted coach. He writes here in his personal capacity.