HR Technology Advances in the 21st Century

James Harwood on the tech innovations helping human resources outsource (HRO) companies improve service options while optimizing client employee ­productivity

Technology advances cannot be ignored in the 21st century. This reality is a lesson that should be embraced by managers in all industries. From the informed perspective of a professional employer organization, the technological shifts are positive only if implemented. If such cutting-edge changes are ignored, it can be detrimental to almost any business in virtually any industry. If a competitor takes advantage of new technological options before you, you will find yourself behind the curve. In the modern business world, falling even a step behind a top competitor can mean setbacks in relation to a company’s profit margin and overall productivity.

Rather than reacting to HR technological innovations after they happen and become normative service options, capable HR professionals need to take a proactive approach. Working with clients to help them overcome fear of new technologies and ensuring a smooth transition phase once the advanced service options are accepted is critical. It’s not enough to merely overcome the initial resistance. If the implementation phase rankles the employee base and raises resentment within a client company, then a positive innovation devolves into a problematic thorn.

Embracing New Technology

Technology advances should never be forced upon a company. Nobody has ever found success by trying to force a square peg into a round hole. Rather, innovations need to be presented as HR service options in a concise fashion. Rather than focusing on the why, a good demonstration highlights what a new technology does and how it will support the business of a specific client.

However, not every advance being offered needs to be detailed in the exact same way. Some technology advances are intuitive and make sense to the vast majority of business owners with very little explanation. In contrast, others feel alien and demand a careful walkthrough to make employees comfortable with what may seem like a radical change. The key to introducing any new technology in a business environment is to overcome initial resistance by fostering understanding and security.

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The HR technology advances that will be trending in 2018 and beyond will include both types of innovations. Some will make perfect sense right off the bat, while others may demand more hand-holding and positive reassurance. Ultimately, the amount of initial effort required to create buy-in of a technological advance will not be nearly as significant as the long-term impact on the company’s bottom line. Technology advances, however, do require keeping employees informed about the changes that are happening.

In the coming year, there will need to be continued focus on technology skills development. Although such skill development sometimes requires training from an external educational provider, this is not always the case. More often than not, companies are taking advantage of the resources within their walls. Through the institution of company intranets for in-house training, transparent forums can connect employees with expertise to employees in need of guidance. A crucial role of HR is ensuring that employees are aware of and tuned into a company’s latest technological advances.

Companies also need to take advantage of online education and learning software. Indeed, a lasting part of the Internet revolution has been a remarkable expansion in easy access to online learning options. Employee skill sets can be revamped and their understanding of new technologies optimized through digital training, online video demonstrations, and learning management software (LMS). From SkyPrep to SkillPort, the LMS options now available on the web are diverse, offering both interactive and passive educational services. If a company’s technological platform has been revised, such LMS options can help keep employees up to speed.

From the use of organizational bots to manage information resources to chatbots for interviewing potential job candidates, technological advances are changing the face of how business is getting done.

advancing hr via technology

Given the rise in artificial intelligence service options for any human resources provider, keeping a client company’s employees on pace is an essential requirement. From the use of organizational bots to manage information resources to chatbots for interviewing potential job candidates, technological advances are changing the face of how business is getting done. Organizational bots fueled by artificial intelligence are being used more and more to manage the vast amounts of paperwork that go hand-in-circuit with job candidate tracking, talent acquisition, and benefits administration.

Many companies receive hundreds if not thousands of resumes for each job opening. In the past, it sometimes took an entire team to manage all of this paperwork. Even today, when most of that information is virtual in the form of emails and a variety of PDF or document attachments, such a flood of information can bog down almost any department. Organizational bots can help execute these tasks with impressive speed and precision, archiving and storing thousands upon thousands of HR documents.

Within a company, chatbots can help to automate time-consuming tasks such as asking interview questions, scheduling meetings, or even finding matching passive candidates on social networks. Artificial intelligence speeds up the recruitment and selection process. Virtual personal assistants, chatbots are not subject to human error and do not take sick days. If the initial design is precise, an AI chatbot will do its job as programmed 100% of the time.

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If a company is faced with a flood of potential job candidates, questions required for an initial interview can be detailed, and chatbots can be programmed to handle the video interviewing. Such questions will elicit specific yes/no or multiple choice answers in an initial interview. Once compiled, the AI technology can analyze the interview data. With the results of these initial interviews measured against a paradigm of ideal responses that reflect the specific needs of an organization, candidates that do not fit in with the acceptable model can be easily weeded out.

From artificial intelligence to tech skills development, HR technology advances cannot be ignored in the 21st century. Many people look at new technologies and think, “It’s such a headache to have to learn something new when I’ve finally become comfortable with what’s already in place.” Such a perspective on technology, however, is painfully outdated and, in fact, always has been. By taking advantage of the latest updates and cutting-edge technologies, a company is gaining an edge over competitors and making life easier from both a short- and a long-term perspective.