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How HR can bridge the tech inequality gap

Sarah K. White | May 20, 2016
Human resources technologies keep marching forward, offering a competitive edge to those willing to make the right investments. Is your organization keeping pace?

Implementing cutting-edge technology is a concept no longer relegated to IT departments. And HR is no exception. In fact, 92 percent of HR workers cited in a recent study are currently using some type of HR analytics system. However, there is still a growing gap between the early adopters, and the more traditional departments that are slower to change, according to Steffen Maier, co-founder of Impraise -- a company that provides real-time employee feedback for HR -- and Tom Haak, partner at Crunchr -- a company that uses data analytics to create meaningful employee data.

"The HR Tech industry is growing rapidly, and many companies are trying to catch up with new solutions. In the last five years it has grown by 50 percent into a $10 billion industry. Attracting and retaining talent has become crucial for every company worldwide and therefore, having a great work culture should be a part of every company's priority list. If companies want to remain competitive, motivate employees and grow their business they must adopt these innovative solutions," says Maier.

For companies interested in remaining competitive and recruiting the best talent, you'll need to develop a more flexible strategy to adopt new HR technology. And besides recruiting the best talent, you'll want to consider the latest HR technology to help improve employee feedback, streamline onboarding processes and minimize the amount of day-to-day paperwork.

HR tech roadblocks

Overhauling business technology is never a simple fix and there are plenty of roadblocks preventing businesses from taking the HR tech leap. For one, there are often concerns from HR employees around the difficulty of the technology, says Maier. You'll want to ensure that you focus on integrating user-friendly software or hardware that won't intimidate your employees. And you also want to avoid simply adding more technology on top of what you already have, otherwise employees may look at it and say "Why do I need other tools in addition to my current HRIS system?" says Maier.

Another important consideration you'll want to make when implementing new HR software is to look at the types of technology your employees are already accustomed to using -- think user-friendly, well-designed smartphone and tablet apps. Chances are, your employees are already using apps like Slack, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Google Drive in their own time, so find apps that function as seamlessly as those tools, says Haak, and it can allow for a more natural transition.

And this one may seem obvious, but you also need to set a realistic budget -- implementing new technology doesn't come cheap, and companies that don't have the funding won't be able to stay on the cutting edge. According to Maier, HR is a department that has remained technologically behind for a reason, and one of the biggest reasons has been a lack of appropriate funding. "As a consequence, a strong attitude of, 'if it's not broken don't fix it' often thwarts the adoption of new technology. This has contributed to an increasing gap between companies that have already adopted HR tools based on data science for their HR functions, such as performance management or hiring, compared to those that still rely on outdated methods, such as paper or Excel spreadsheets," he says.


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