"Crises and deadlocks when they occur have at least this advantage that they force us to think.” -Jawaharlal Nehru
The current crises have compelled the organizations to switch to technology-based disruptions in the traditional work settings. Be it IT, Banking, Education, or FMCG industry, all are able to operate remotely with the help of tech-based solutions. Online meeting platforms like Zoom, Cisco WebEx, Google Meet, etc., got a sudden hike in downloads in the past one and a half months. HR leaders of companies like, Titan, Cognizant, Axis Bank, Deloitte, Saint-Gobain India, Whirlpool, etc. opine that virtual workplace settings are here to stay for long. Therefore, HR leaders must focus on more concrete long term solutions. In this regard, amalgamating technology with HR is a fantastic solution. Companies have started switching to virtual workspaces mode to cut facility cost in order to increase investment in intelligent HR technologies. TCS has already announced 25/25 business model wherein 75% of its workforce will work from home till 2025. As quoted by NG Subramaniam, COO, TCS - "The new model will require only 25% of the workforce at the facilities to give 100% productivity."
HR-Tech functions in the current scenario
The HR functions like CV screening, on-boarding, recording employee database are handed over to bots. These are intelligent bots and are capable to take condition-based decisions without human intervention. This trait is extremely useful in the current situation as employees are not physically available all the time.
Training for employees working from home for the first time is possible through virtual training programmes only. HR managers are suggesting employees the suitable Massive open online course (MOOC) on platforms like Coursera and Edx for Learning & Development. Mathematical algorithms, performance tracking and grading is done by for Performance Appraisals. End to end encrypted software are calculating Compensation and Benefits for the employees.
Aditya Birla, TCS, Reliance, etc. are engaging employees through zoom sessions by stand-up comedians, motivational speakers or lifestyle coaches. Free of cost meditation apps like Headspace are used for employee wellness. AI-enabled emotions monitoring is helping to understand employees’ varied emotions like anger, frustration, happy, etc. while working from home.
Yes, finally tech-based HR is coming into practice. But how should we prepare for it? Let us see:
Transitioning traditional HR systems into tech-based HR demands large investment IT infrastructure. Before investing the HR leaders should ask themselves-is my organization ready for tech-based HR? Should we make or buy technology? Which technology is the best for my company? The market is full of technology providers, the HR managers must select reliable, efficient, and user-friendly technology solutions.
Seeking clarity on various HR processes is the prerequisite for infusing technology in the HR department. The method is to conduct HR audit for each process, identify the hindrance and rectify it timely. CHROs are investing in technology for HR processes like hiring, talent management, performance evaluation, employee development, CTC calculation, etc. The biggest concern is data security. Cloudflare is a software that guarantees safe access of data from remote work locations. Besides, the HR leaders are developing in-house IT teams to create secured data sharing channel.
The ultimate user of technology is the employee. Some companies are proactively training the employees on future preparedness on handling technology with responsibility and effectiveness. Employees are being motivated to enrol in online courses and utilize the lock downtime for self-learning. In this transition phase the leaders must learn to forgive mistakes of the employees and incentivize those who use technology more and more. It is truly said-“To win the marketplace, you must first win the workplace.”
The road ahead looks rough. Leveraging the HR functions with technology is the most reliable solution today. As they say-‘as you sow, so shall you reap.’ Therefore, it is the right time for developing people and practices to combat future uncertainties.