As the world of HR marches on towards making an agile, inclusive, and employee-centric workplace the norm across industries, 2024 is set to be the year the HR function pivots toward an integration of innovative technologies and a human-centric approach.
An insightful virtual roundtable, hosted by HROne, on the topic HR Tech Trends 2024: Pioneering innovation in the HR landscape, saw HR leaders come together to discuss the best strategies to balance organisational productivity and employee well-being, the role of HR technology in creating a more personalised and impactful employee experience and much more.
On the panel, which was expertly moderated by Pulkit Joshi, Chief Marketing Officer, HROne, were Anuj Nath Galgotia, CHRO, Signature Global, Debraj Roy, CHRO, LUX Industries, Smita Venkataraman, founder and chief advisor, Smita Venkataraman Advisory Services and Ritika Puri, Head HR, ExamFactor.
HR tech a great enabler
To kick off the discussion, Joshi posed an important question to the panel – As we approach 2024, how can organisations strike a balance between adopting automation and maintaining a human-centric approach to productivity in their workforce?
Anuj Nath Galgotia responded by saying that HR technology should enhance the overall HR function, not replace the human element.
“HR technology is a great enabler. The onus is on us to use it to deliver efficiency to our customers – and when I say customers, I mean the candidates and the employees. The focus should be on supporting individuals who interact with my team, utilising technology to be available and providing excellent responses to everyone,” he said, adding that the key is enabling efficiency through automation and HR tech to deliver high-quality responses to various stakeholders.
“In approaching 2024, organisations need to strike a balance by leveraging automation for efficiency while maintaining a human-centric approach that meets the elevated expectations of both management and employees in this technology-driven era,” he said.
The impact on employee experience
Organisations across the globe are focusing more on employee experience than ever before. As more and more companies incorporate cutting-edge technology into their HR functions, the question posed to the panellists was to define the impact of this on employee engagement and EX?
“As someone deeply immersed in the tech industry, I firmly believe that technology, in an ideal setting, should be viewed as an enabler, significantly easing various aspects of our lives. When delving into HR tech, its impact on employee experience, engagement, and motivation is profound,” Ritika Puri said.
The use of technology, if done right, can significantly contribute to engagement and satisfaction, aligning with the expectations of the newer generations. The impact of these tools extends to areas like flexi benefits and compensation programs, offering employees choices that enhance their overall engagement with the organisation. However, it's imperative to recognise that the success of these tools hinges on how well they are implemented and embraced within the organisational framework.
To sum up, the potential benefits of HR tech are vast, and the key lies in leveraging these tools effectively to create a positive and engaging employee experience.
Role of effective change management
Leaders also spoke about the role change management plays in moulding organisational culture to instil a forward-thinking and tech-savvy mindset.
Debraj Roy, CHRO, LUX Industries, emphasised how insights on change management are crucial, especially in 2024 when Gen X and Gen Z dominate the workplace. “Change management is about aligning the workplace with the preferences of these generations. Consequently, HR takes a facilitative role, leveraging technology as the primary interface for career development, learning plans, and organisational navigation,” he said.
Change management unfolds gradually, starting with pilot testing, persistently supported by training. The strategy involves introducing technology tools, analysing their effects, strengthening positive impacts, and then scaling up. Technology aids organisations in data-driven decision-making and micro-analytics, understanding individual career aspirations beyond recruitment timelines.
The essence of effective change management lies in aligning workplace culture with technology, creating a symbiotic relationship for organisational success.
Moving from silos to solutions
A major challenge that organisations across industries face are the silos that are inadvertently created. How can HR tech, in 2024, become a transformative force in breaking down these silos between different functions?
“The purpose of HR technology should be to foster collaboration, creating a more cohesive and superior organisational environment,” Galgotia said.
Stress-related problems and mental health challenges are increasingly prevalent, highlighting the need to design a collaborative culture embedded within technology. We must design a culture that encourages collaboration and teamwork, he added.
For instance, assigning tasks to teams rather than individuals fosters shared responsibility and ensures seamless task handovers. Technology has provided incredible capabilities, but the emphasis should be on steering people towards collaborative ends rather than fostering a competitive environment. Every individual in the organisation is an asset, and this mindset should be ingrained in how technology is designed and utilised.
Any HR tech platform's success hinges on thoughtful planning, aligning work processes to enhance the experience of being in control, and empowering various stakeholders within teams.
What does the future hold
As organisations continue working towards leveraging HR tech to make their processes more efficient and their employees more engaged, a pertinent question we must ask is how can HR tech help with talent acquisition, especially as we move toward skills-based hiring becoming the norm.
“There are three key aspects to consider: identification, coaching, and rewards for high-potential employees,” said Smita Venkataraman.
In the identification phase, HR tech helps differentiate high performers from high potentials by assessing past accomplishments versus future potential. This process requires consistent data collection, avoiding manual errors and ensuring accurate talent identification. The second facet involves coaching high potentials differently, necessitating specialised training and learning modules aligned with their competency maps.
Technology aids in creating an applied learning environment, facilitating job rotations, and career progression on a centralised platform. The final facet pertains to rewards and recognition, where HR tech supports an innovative compensation strategy, acknowledging rare skills, mentoring efforts, and allocating learning budgets. “Throughout these facets, HR tech ensures scalability, consistency, standardisation, and the removal of biases, enhancing the overall talent acquisition and nurturing process,” she further explained.
In summary, the transformative potential of HR tech in 2024 lies in breaking down silos and fostering a collaborative culture, requiring careful consideration in platform design and organisational processes.