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How technology is making HR a more strategic function
Lipi Agrawal | New Delhi | Monday, 30 October 2017

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HR is now supporting the CEO in decision making by proactively planning workforce capabilities, making it future ready

From being considered a support function to finally acquiring a seat at the table, technology has widened the scope of HR, consequently changing the perceptions about the function. It has not only helped HR provide more value to the business, but has also widened its scope and strengthened its stand in the organisation.

From managing transactional services, such as payrolls and benefits, efficiently, to being able to identify strategic people challenges and ensuring immaculate talent supply that can help businesses prepare for the future, the expectations from HR have changed a lot.

Kshitiij Kashyap, senior director, human capital, Optum, shares how technology has relieved HR of all the administrative tasks unlike earlier, allowing them time for the more strategic tasks. “HR is now supporting the CEO in making better business decisions by proactively planning workforce capabilities and talent inventory, as well as making the workforce future ready,” Kashyap says.

“Although there’s no denying technology has enabled HR play a more strategic role, helping businesses perform better, it all depends on how HR is placed in an organisation. If the people do not accept it and adapt to it, owing to the fact that the tech platforms function on a self-service model, all efforts are a waste.”

Kshitij Kashyap

A recent research by Paychex also states that only 13 per cent of the respondents still see the job of HR as an administrative one, while 30 per cent see it as that of a strategic partner, providing valuable insights to the leadership team that influences company decisions.

The survey also shares that making optimal use of human capital is on these HR leaders’ agendas, and they are now devoting time to — building staff training and development programmes (88 per cent); evaluating workplace productivity and efficiency (87 per cent); creating succession plans for key roles (76 per cent); engaging in C-suite discussions about new business initiatives (68 per cent); and tracking and analysing competitors’ personnel moves (63 per cent).

In tandem with the same, Kamlesh Dangi, group president-HR, UTI AMC-‎UTI MF, says technology has brought about interesting innovations in various HR functions making recruiting, on-boarding, learning and everything else more efficient.

“Having eased out managing the entire employee life-cycle more effectively, technology has shifted the focus of HR more towards ensuring alignment between the business strategy and employee expectations; and ensuring the right culture,” says Dangi.

Kshitij Kashyap & Kamlesh Dangi

On a positive note, 75 per cent of the survey respondents said HR technology has enabled them to become more strategic and efficient on the job.

Both Dangi and Kashyap agree too, however they observe a few challenges, such as faster adoption of technologies, which is one of the biggest roadblocks in reaching the full potential of using technology for making HR strategic rather than administrative. Another big issue therein may be, changing the mindset.

“Having eased out managing the entire employee life-cycle more effectively, technology has shifted the focus of HR more towards ensuring alignment between the business strategy and employee expectations; and ensuring the right culture.”

Kamlesh Dangi

Kashyap says, “Although there’s no denying technology has enabled HR play a more strategic role, helping businesses perform better, it all depends on how HR is placed in an organisation. If the people do not accept it and adapt to it, owing to the fact that the tech platforms function on a self-service model, all efforts are a waste.”

The Paychex survey also says that HR technology integration woes may hit productivity for some as it reveals that only 23 per cent of respondents are using a single integrated HR suite.

This means that, not surprisingly, manual rekeying of data is still consuming significant amounts of time for half of all respondents’ departments —30 per cent spend 15–29 hours per month, 15 per cent spend 30–50 hours per month and four per cent spend more than 50 hours per month on the same.

Yet, the situation isn’t so grim. Technology and outsourcing models have certainly taken the transactional tasks—attendance tracking, payroll processing and so on—off HR’s plate, leaving more time and scope for ideation and innovation, making it a more strategic function.

© 2016 HR Katha
Last modified on Monday, 30 October 2017

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