While the coronavirus pandemic has been a major downer for business and economies, one thing it has impacted positively is HR practices and the overall role of HR departments across organizations worldwide. With the pandemic altering the way we work, it has offered the possibility for HR and talent leaders to accelerate faster to digital and enable their workers stay productive amid this chaos. In fact, it has prompted several organizations to turn towards cloud-based tech solutions so that they are better positioned to sustain their operations, maintain productivity, and respond swiftly to the changing needs of their business, in the long run.
Joe Ross, VP of Global Product Management at Workforce Software – a leading provider of cloud-based workforce management solution, shares in an exclusive interaction with People Matters the kind of HR Tech solutions organizations are investing in the wake of the pandemic.
With the coronavirus pandemic altering the way we work, it also offered the possibility for HR and talent leaders to accelerate to digital and enable their workers to stay productive amid this chaos. What are some of the trends you have seen across organizations?
Analysts predict that by 2025, 80% of large enterprises with hourly-paid workers will have invested in a workforce management system to improve employee experience and support digital workplace initiatives. COVID-19 is certainly accelerating this shift. We are seeing that businesses are looking for technology that will:
- Enable quick pivots in a rapidly changing business environment
- Make it easier to comply with evolving workplace safety guidelines
- Provide a user-friendly customer and employee experience that keeps people safe and engaged
With the increasing number of employees working remotely, several organizations are turning to cloud-based tech solutions. What are the kinds of solutions that organizations are investing in?
Interestingly, we are seeing considerable investment not just in remote employees, but in employees who can’t work from home. These are your essential workers - manufacturers, grocery chains, utilities, etc. It’s more important than ever to efficiently manage your hourly workers.
Old technology and manual processes cannot effectively support new environments with escalated health and safety concerns.
And with continued focus on the bottom line during these uncertain times, companies are looking for tools that will provide a high ROI by improving efficiency and reducing labor costs.
How do you think organizations are remodeling their talent management systems with HR tech – people analytics, talent acquisition tech, RPA, blockchain in the wake of the ongoing crisis?
When the pandemic hit, companies realized how flexible their systems were (or were not) to handle this new reality. New labor laws went into effect almost overnight and HR departments were scrambling to figure out how to make sure they were compliant with the new rules. More companies are realizing the importance of a robust and flexible workforce management system that can quickly and easily adapt to sudden change and ensure compliance.
Scheduling workers can be especially challenging during this time when things are so uncertain. Tools that help companies analyze historical data and make adjustments based on current business dynamics can help simplify that process.
Modern scheduling systems that use emerging technology like AI and machine learning can automatically generate efficient schedules that minimize labor costs and keep your employees safe.
How have you realigned your product offerings to deliver maximum value to customers and meet the challenges HR professionals are facing?
This summer, many of our customers were dealing with the same problem - how to adjust their processes to get employees back to work as safely as possible during the pandemic. Safety involves many factors. You need to make sure that sick employees are not coming to work, reduce the number physical touch points your employees have in the workplace, and quickly identify and address virus exposures when they arise. WorkForce moved quickly to ensure our product could support these new safety requirements.
- We leveraged AI to develop a pre-shift health screening solution so employees can be required to complete a health screening before they start work and the system will prevent them from starting their shift, provide real-time guidance to the employee and notify their manager if they do not pass the screening
- We rolled out contact tracing surveys and reports to allow customers to ask about exposure and notify others who have been in contact with exposed or diagnosed employees
- We helped customers who use physical time clocks to check in and out of shifts, to make those interactions touch-less or switch to a solution that allowed employees to use their own mobile phones
How do you think investments in HR Tech have grown this year and what do you think is going to be the trend in the coming year?
A recent PWC survey of CFOs found that allocations for technology investments are not set to change in the next 12 months, despite cost cutting in other places.
We were cautious when the pandemic hit, but were pleasantly surprised to have our largest financial quarter in 20 years this summer, at the height of COVID-19, and we are still seeing strength in our pipeline. Companies want to make smart investments, even more so now when things are so uncertain. If you can demonstrate and quantify the value companies will get from their new systems – reduced manual work, more efficient processes, improved compliance, reduced labor costs – companies will invest in digital transformation that will improve their operations and make them more efficient.