In the last few years, there has been some emphasis and focus on talent acquisition, applicant management and talent management in the HR space. This segment has gained importance and people are paying more attention to the needs of the market. There are clearly more and more technology based solutions coming in. HR, which was a back office operation, has come into the forefront as every single industry is dealing with the cost and value of human assets. There has also been a rise in applicant tracking systems and assessments which could be for hiring and post hiring. In the Indian context employee acquisition and retention is very critical, therefore assessment plays a big part along with career succession and planning. Technology has evolved from payroll management to how one hires the best employees at the optimum cost. It is about human asset security and there is more and more focus in that area also.
HR was more of a personnel management or a payroll processing function earlier. HR has grown to be a lot more in an organization and training need analysis, benefits and compensation management, skills assessment, resource pool management and background verification are all a part of their responsibilities. The application tracking system is now helping organizations streamline the recruitment process and assessment solutions help keep track of skills sets.
The most important aspect is the fact that organizations have started analyzing the human capital they are hiring. Background screening is playing a very critical role in finding the right people and in managing the risk associated to hiring. First Advantage is the leading player in this business in India. It leverages technology to integrate its background screening application with the HRIS and application tracking system of the organization so that one does not have to use different applications in silos. By virtue of backend integration of these applications, HR operations can be made both effective and efficient.
Today cloud based applications are simplifying processes and helping organizations in leveraging the latest in the technology and social media.
While there has been a huge focus on HR itself as a function, the adoption of technology has not been in the forefront. There is a huge opportunity for companies to leverage this opportunity, especially in India. The players in this space can be categorized into companies that are providing point solutions, recruitment processes and talent management.
With more and more MNCs coming in, the processes are getting more mature. When organizations approach vendors, they look at scalability and strong backbone in terms of security and quality. However, even today the Indian market is very cost sensitive and the cheapest solutions is sometimes considered the right way to go. The buyers can be divided into three broad categories – First are the mature companies and MNCs who recognize value and buy it, second are the ‘wannabes’, wanting to be globally recognized brands and the third are the ones who want the cheapest solutions.
There is a way of measuring ROI on technology investment, but we cannot be too sure of how many companies are measuring the success factors. Technology investments are different; the returns would come over a period of time. When BPOs started 10 years ago, the usual method of staffing and scheduling was done in excel sheets and then companies came up where tools and applications could be used to automate these processes. You start seeing the ROI when you start using it. Buying technology is one thing, but using it is what makes a difference. The implementation and adaptation is important without which the ROI is not possible. It is more about the culture and intent and less about the ability to measure the ROI. You do justification, requisition, and proposal and so much of diligence before you invest and buy something but the moment you buy it; the same discipline does not carry forward.