A report by venture capital research firm CB Insights notes that 2016 saw an investment of $2 billion in HR tech systems and platforms. In 2015, this number was $2.4 billion across 383 deals, indicating, perhaps, that companies may be looking at the HR tech boom with caution. Whether it is examining the return on investment, or leveraging HR systems for business productivity, HR and business leaders have donned a critical hat concerning technology.
A Wave of Change
While HR technology is here to stay, in what form and to what extent it will impact the HR function, it is still being understood. Talent analytics is already helping HR take more accurate talent decisions while talent ERPs are helping streamline talent workflows, applicant tracking systems have made high volume-recruitment a reality, HR Social Media now carries a strong employer value proposition messaging to a targeted audience. These are just some of the many examples of HR tech transforming talent management.
Despite these success stories, resistance to change are pulling organizations away from seeking talent technology transitions. There is a need to debunk myths to ensure that the marriage of talent and technology yields desired results.
Here are some of the key HR technology myths:
• Knowledge of IT is necessary to use HR technology: The belief that one needs to be a developer or user interface expert to be able to use HR software is misplaced. A number of HR systems and platforms thrive on being user-friendly and simplistic, usable by anyone with ease and speed. In fact, they are as accessible as popular consumer-grade technologies like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
• Using technology reduces human interaction: HR technology is merely an enabler, talent management has and always be about managing people. Take the case of recruitment- an ATS or HCM can help promote the employer and get applicants to apply, but the final hiring decision will be made by real people- HR and business managers. A number of tasks that are taken over by technology are often rote and repetitive tasks that can be better performed by machines.
• There will be no privacy: While this has become a universal concern due to increased technological-dependence, it is not one that cannot be managed. Increased data security features enable the function and the organization to use technology against the pitfalls of technology. Modern HCM tools are safeguarded using tools a number data privacy settings, encryption, access controls and multi-factor authentication etc.
• Unclear return on investment: While the initial cost of setting up a user-friendly and org-customized HCM may be high, the ultimate aim of technology is to aid savings by aiding productivity, reducing human error and improving employee engagement (and thereby retention). From a long-term perspective, HCMs have shown clear ROI. In terms of support and maintenance, The cloud-model of HR tech has done away with the need for full-blown internal HR teams to develop, deploy and maintain HR applications.
• HR technology is only needed for large corporations: An advantage of the cloud model of HR tech is the flexibility of its offerings- right from 10 users to 10,000 users or more. This has enabled even small start-ups to realize the benefits of HR tech and compete at par with established large corporate houses. The advantage of using HR technology for an organization that is scaling up is that its HR processes would not be impacted due to the scale of growth.
HR technology simplifies and streamlines the HR professional’s job, allowing him or her to focus on more strategic HR tasks. This will only enable the strategic value of the HR professional, rather than degrading it. It is high time HR and line managers realize this reality and embrace technology. After all, perform or perish is today’s HR paradigm, and technology is one of the pillars that upholds performance.