HR author, writer, speaker and consultant Sharlyn Lauby shares her perspective on how technology is impacting the HR profession today -- and her predictions for the future.
Q. What is the single most important piece of technology an HR pro can have in 2016?
I think organizations need to examine their recruiting technology capabilities. Not necessarily because recruiting is the most important – as an HR professional, I think every function in HR is important - but because it happens first. It sets the stage for other technologies that employees will expect like goal setting, performance management, learning, self-service, etc.
SHRM has published a couple of articles recently that paint a very challenging picture when it comes to recruiting.
It tells me that we are clearly in a candidate-driven market and organizations need to make sure that their first impressions with candidates are valuable. The question is how many organizations have recruiting technology solutions? I ran across an older article (dated 2014) that said 75 percent of large organizations use an applicant tracking system (ATS.) While I’m sure the number has grown, I wonder by how much. And what are small to medium sized businesses doing?
Q. What are the advantages of combining both HR professionals and technology process experts to design software that will address HR’s future challenges?
HR professionals have a terrific opportunity to be the voice of candidates and employees when it comes to designing HR technology solutions. Whether it’s selecting software, customizing it, or developing the internal processes for its use.
One of my first HR roles was to be the go-between for users of a human resources information system (HRIS) and the technology department. IT wants to know how to create a system that users will actually like and use. They are looking for someone to tell them. HR can play that role, if they learn about technology and they learn what candidates and employees want.
Employees are increasingly using mobile to access their employers’ HR services. How will employees’ evolving expectations affect an organization’s HR technology regarding access and security?
I’m glad you asked this question. One of the things that candidates and employees want is an experience similar to what they do outside of work. I can use my phone to deposit a check, buy shoes, book a vacation or dinner reservations, and talk with friends in other countries. I believe employees today want to apply for jobs, manage their schedule, learn new things, and communicate with colleagues using their phones.
This means that organizations need to find a way to make that happen. A lot of organizations are allowing employees to use mobile and social technologies at work. They are also asking them to be responsible and holding them accountable.
HR can help the organization effectively bring technology into the culture. Not by writing a policy, although that’s probably a good idea. But by having an effective adopter mindset.
Q. What are the biggest challenges to employee adoption of new HR technology and what advice would you give to HR professionals to ensure that employee adoption of new HR technology is successful?
I believe we’re facing big challenges when it comes to cyber security. I know SHRM NextChat recently hosted a conversation about this. Incidents that compromise privacy and security can hurt employee adoption and overall use. HR needs to make sure that employees are educated on best practices to keep their data private and devices secure.
Q. As technology evolves, what do you think the future of HR will look like?
I’ve always thought one of the biggest roles HR has in the organization is that of educator. We help new hires learn about the company. HR trains employees on knowledge and skills that will make them successful. We act as a facilitator on employee coaching and mentoring programs.
Technology solutions are giving HR the opportunity to use these wonderful tools and our educator skills to improve organizational performance. We’re able to scale the conversation and develop more cost-effective programs. HR doesn’t need to think small when it comes to the future, because technology will help us reach more employees effectively and efficiently.