February 12, 2021

Digitization Driving The Future Of HR

Digital transformation of HR is essential in an age where technological disruption is the norm

“HR Digital transformation.” “HR Digitization.” “Digitize HR processes.” Plenty has been said about digital transformation in response to unforeseen circumstances and it has been no different for the HR department. HR digital transformation is a hot topic for many professionals and technology has the potential and ability to transform HR as we know it.

Much like every other part of the organization, the digital transformation of HR is essential in an age where technological disruption is the norm. According to a Deloitte survey, digital transformation budgets are going to increase by 25 percent in the next year. With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, machine learning, automated performance management, and much more, HR teams that still rely on Excel Sheets to collect and interpret data need to make the shift to automation, and that too quickly.

According to Gartner, “For HR, digitalization is changing everything, from core functions like the way we hire and develop talent, to introducing new burdens such as raising performance. We found that 88% of chief HR officers say they need to invest in three or more technologies over the next two years.”

Digitizing HR functions through app development will mean changing operational processes to become automated and data-driven. It is a metamorphosis that involves and benefits the organization as a whole. The desired outcome is the elimination of redundant manual tasks, lesser paper and email trails at work, no more running around employees for dependencies, speeding up of request and approvals through workflows and creating overall self-serving portals for the workforce, giving each employee and the HR team time to focus on more strategically important business tasks.

Start at the End State and Work Back

Digitization enables a process to be fundamentally reconfigured; for example, combining automated approval workflows with self-service request apps can eliminate several manual processes and tonnes of paper and email trails.

Successful digitization efforts start by designing the future state for the specific HR function in mind without regard for current constraints—say, digitizing entire Leadership training and succession planning activities by moving it to cloud and better engage participants remotely, saving tonnes of logistical costs and comply with social distancing/new normal demands.

In order to adjust to the new normal, businesses would implement more hands-free operations, such as HR employee data collection and documentation or new employee onboarding to future-proof business.

The HR Technology Spectrum

On one end, there are companies that have the required resources, namely time, money, and talent, to create proprietary software from the ground up for their unique business needs. On the other end, there are companies that buy readily available applications such as an HRIS, and HCM software, or an ATS. Low-code platforms bring to the spectrum the third option for those who need to build custom HR apps or automate processes and integrate various HR systems for smooth functioning, all at speed. And although the speed of development and complexity of apps can be daunting for some, low-code eventually frees up the time of the HR professionals to strategize and ultimately benefit the business bottom line better.

Most organizations will have an HRMS or an ERP – but every new day brings new requirements that often end up getting addressed via emails, WhatsApp messages, excel sheets, or paper-based forms, for example –

  1. Visitor management and contact tracing applications.
  2. A company-wide event that needs to capture t-shirt sizes and food preferences, instead of telling them to fill out a spreadsheet or collate responses from email
  3. Employee onboarding drive and you need to capture new employee information that employees are sending over emails,
  4. Hot desking  for accommodating workforce efficiently while following the new norm
  5. Investment declarations – very unique to your policies and govt regulations – typically end up using a spreadsheet or email
Also complex systems like talent management, performance management, development center have been custom-built using low-code platforms at unbelievable speed. Building user-friendly apps is, of course, both an art and a science – and it takes months, even years, for businesses to polish their platforms. However, low-code app development eliminates the need for extensive coding in order for HR teams to keep up with agile business processes.

Should HR Opt for Low-Code App Development?

HR professionals focus on the process and human elements of any intervention, but when it comes to tech, there is a dependency on others – could be the IT department, a platform vendor, a technology partner and often the tech requirements of the HR tend to take the backseat. Low-code platforms help bring the digital future in the hands of HR professionals who get to be in control of the entire ship.

Let’s assume you are launching an organization-wide benefit program for employees. Only 20% of your internal employees are enrolled in your HRMS, the remaining work with you on a contract basis and do not have direct HRMS logins. To collate their information a designated team or individual would send an email or over WhatsApp and then store it under each employee’s folder.

Using a low-code platform, you can drag and drop form elements to capture information like name, contact number, ask qualification questions, upload any documents, or pictures. Store this information in a database, be it an existing database, a google sheet, or the platform’s database. And visually design a workflow like you would a flowchart and run approvals or notification tasks. No emails, no paper trails, no excel sheets.

Benefit the End User, Employees, and Not Just the HR

The digitization of processes will also benefit the end-user of the HR apps. If HR wants to implement an automated 360-degree performance management system that will allow them to gather data and upload it to the enterprise database and decide salary appraisals, the managers and the employees can also be given access to this platform to view and update it.

HR practitioners themselves can take responsibility for this transformation. HR and IT managers only need to sit down and plan the features, functionality and design of their HR app and visualize it as it is being built. Line managers deal with employees directly, and any change to HR practices directly affects these managers and their teams. It is likely that these managers may be most excited about the transformation and relate to key areas where HR processes need to improve for them.

While there is still resistance to modernization in some HR teams, there are no alternatives. Digitization of processes increases productivity in the field of HR as it does in every area. Low-code enables automation of processes to reduce repetitive manual tasks and empower HR teams to manage exceptions in processes with great ease.


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