As we have seen human resources and information technology have become more intertwined during the last decade. Manufacturing, financials, sales and marketing, and supply chain were the focus of information technology in the 1990s and 2000s: ERP, automation, and analytics.
For HR, organizations either used proprietary in-house or third-party specialized HRMS, or some large firms extended their integrated ERPs to encompass human resources.
Throughout the second decade of the millennium, the cloud and the importance of the employee life cycle pushed HR tech automation. Organizations had a wide range of options, ranging from industry-specific and generic integrated HCM solutions to specialized solutions for each stage of the employee lifecycle, such as talent acquisition, onboarding, payroll, tracking and attendance, learning and development, performance management, and so on.
With industry-standard integration interfaces, it was becoming easier to quickly connect these various specialized HR products via enterprise middleware or point-to-point integration (P2P). According to a 2018 Gartner research document, next-generation technologies such as machine learning, bots, and analytics were ready to take these technologies to the next level in terms of personalization, efficiency, and delivering insights.
The first half of 2020 was believed to have seen significantly more digital and workforce transformation than the previous two decades. Extensive remote work, rising percentages of the gig and part-time workers, virtual hiring, inductions, and departures, faster skilling, online collaboration, and team-building all happened overnight. CIOs collaborated hard with CHROs in high-tech, high-touch enablement to help companies quickly transition to a remote working model.
According to a Gartner study published in early 2020, more than 90% of CHROs in APAC had adopted WFH arrangements with the help of their CIOs. Aside from infrastructure and revised HR regulations, CHROs and CIOs worked hard to provide/upgrade employees and extended workforce to best-in-class application tools and collaboration platforms. In the context of the improved cybersecurity regulations, IT security products, particularly endpoint and antivirus, malware protection tools, operated flawlessly.
While functionality and security were addressed, a major portion of the workforce, particularly those who were unfamiliar with computers, was suddenly overwhelmed by the sheer number of programs available across various departments.
Numerous employees and extended staff who were not computer literate had to acclimate to using so many different applications nearly overnight. While functional application familiarity existed prior to COVID-19, back-end functions, particularly HR, are a patchwork of best-in-class, but disparate applications/tools that confounded many employees.
Different interfaces, navigation layouts, tips and tricks, and even fundamental things like password management have all been added to the mix. Some businesses’ semi-manual operations, such as claims processing, asset allocation, and medical prescription collection, exacerbated the problem. Onboarding employees who need to establish the functional learning curve and even navigate through the multiplicity of using and leveraging so many different systems, such as HR, collaboration, online meetings, and many more, has proved equally tough.
During this time, training and IT enablement have been particularly difficult, and CHROs and CIOs must strike a balance between functionality and simplicity of use. A good employee experience is a crucial pillar of successful digital transformation.
According to a poll conducted by Willis Towers Watson, 9 out of 10 Asian businesses are prioritizing a superior employee experience. Employee experience platforms, which deliver a unified, consistent, and easy-to-use omnichannel experience to employees and extended workers, are one of the numerous efforts organizations are turning to.
If an employee is applying for leave, filling out an appraisal form, or requisitioning a new training or laptop, the same user interface applies to mobile and web for HCM/employee lifecycle operations. This is especially important since that most HR systems such as SkizzleHR encourage self-service.
Employers can deploy digital experience platforms of industry-standard, or even deploy customized/specific workforce experience portals within the company or via any service providers. Several major digital and employee experience platforms launched in 2020 and 2021, demonstrating the importance of balancing functionality with simplicity and an easy-to-use excellent employee experience.
Because of the hyper-acceleration of digital transformation activities, it is expected that by the end of 2021, CIOs and CHROs will share equal responsibility for the resulting cultural change.
Machine learning, artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, quantum computing, and RPA are next-generation technologies that empower CHROs and their internal and external HR teams with even greater outcomes, data, and knowledge from the human cloud. Employees have become more self-reliant as a result of the usage of self-service HR, administration modules, and RPA, allowing HR professionals to focus on higher-value tasks such as upskilling, appraisals, talent acquisition, leadership, and motivating.
Among all the advantages and benefits of digital transformation and information technology, the most significant focus is on a simple yet strong employee experience. With continued uncertainty surrounding vaccination and subsequent pandemic waves, as well as the possibility of a large-scale resignation, the remainder of 2021 and 2022 will be critical for organizations with a strong CHRO-CIO alignment focused on leveraging functionally rich and easy-to-use HR technology to help them navigate these unprecedented times.
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