Imagine HR departments presiding over walls of personnel files, payroll offices issuing cash in envelopes while typewriters clattered and physical in-trays grew heavy with memos.
Over the past two decades we have witnessed a seismic shift with technology evident in every aspect of our private and work lives, and the border between the two irretrievably blurred due to first the Blackberry and then the iPhone. So what’s next for the HR profession in terms of technology in the coming years?
Josh Bersin, writing for Deloitte Consulting, says that “many HR applications are becoming tools for employees first, enabling them to better manage people, learn and develop, and steer their own careers. Several years ago we talked about the shift in HR technology from ‘systems of record’ to ‘systems of engagement.’ Today’s talent acquisition systems are often called ‘recruitment success platforms,’ designed to enable applicants, managers, and recruiters to do a better job.”
I predict that today’s HR applications will become fun, game-like, and designed to help improve productivity at work – and they will be delivered via a mobile device. This means the tech-enabled nature of our home lives will need to be matched in the workplace by HR and employee benefit offerings that look, work and feel the same.
Failure to embrace this change could have a mission-critical effect on organisations that need to triumph in the war on talent. And let’s be clear this is of relevance to employees from shop floor to the Boardroom, all of whom are tech aware and able to express their preferences through multiple channels.
As an HR Director, your Department is already being rated by existing or prospective employees on social media for its menu of employee benefits and the way that they are delivered. As a result of this people are taking decisions about whether they join, remain or move on from your organisation. Technology has therefore democratised the workplace in a way that the most radical trade unionists could only have dreamt of in their 1970s heyday. Now the need to deliver state-of-the-art employee benefits in the right technological format could be key to you finding and keeping the people you need to deliver growth or take your organisation to the next level.
At Neyber we understand the challenges faced by HR Directors and have spent time listening to their thoughts on how technology can positively impact upon their work. I spent the formative years of my career working in major banks and developed a clear view of how technology can work best for employers and employees. Over this period I also witnessed the failure of the financial services sector to embrace change.
This is recognised by Snehal Fulzele, Co-Founder & CEO of Cloud Lending Solutions, who says that:
“In an age where technology has transformed the way we read books, listen to music, watch movies, reserve flights and train tickets the banking sector has remained largely untouched. In practice this means that we have swathes of financial institutions whose survival is based on the use of legacy systems and the sale of banking products that do not meet the needs of 21st century consumers. This is all the more surprising as we near the tenth anniversary of the financial crash.”
We believe that technology can revolutionise the entire concept of employee benefits. At Neyber we have invested significantly in creating a system that will deliver financial services in the workplace with competitive interest rates for employees and at no cost to their employers. We’re entirely mobile too.
We hope that other employee benefit providers and HR departments will see the opportunity of working with their stakeholders in this way. Via an app employees would be able to apply for their flexible benefits, for example, so they could opt for their gym membership, a travel loan or childcare vouchers at the touch of an icon. They’d also be able to like, rate them or share them with colleagues, and even have access to wider HR initiatives such as Learning & Development courses, HR policies, buddy schemes (say for returning mothers), and even car-pooling to help the environment and support colleagues to connect beyond the silos of their own teams.
This would take the profession a massive conceptual leap beyond outsourcing and the extension of shared service centres. Imagine that.