Digitalization of Human Resource Management

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Human resource is such an important department that we cannot afford to do without in any business.  It is the hub of recruitment, development and a custody of talents where each talent is fetched from when needed.  All these years, this busy department has been run manually. Ask the retired human resource managers how it was like and you will learn that the struggle was real.

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Today, with the increased pace in the market and with technology taking over everything else, there is a need to digitalize our systems.  We all cannot close our eyes to the reality that we are living in a time when technology has taken over everything and our business modules have had to change to accommodate the new technology.

This can be well seen in development that has taken place in communication being one of the key sectors in every business.  So many new platforms of communications have been developed such that we are lost for choice.  This should be so for every other sector; we cannot afford to see some develop while others remain in stone-age and one of it being the Human Resource Department.

For startup businesses coming up today, it is wise to adopt the digital HR early in life to avoid going through the long tiring way that older businesses are going through.  Had this technology come early in life, many businesses would not be where they are; they would have excelled better.

Why The Digitalization?

Digitalization is the most essential driver of all businesses in the 21st century.  Human Resource is known for the big data it holds.  To be able to account for this data manually, it takes long days and the workers in this sector can attest to that.  Many information has been generalized and assumed in the manual system and due to this, the company suffers for lack of precise data.

We cannot afford to close our eyes to the technology that has become so common. The best we can do is to get aboard and come up higher to make technology work for us.  We have become so accustomed to getting everything manually done that getting a software to work on our behalf kind of scares us.

This is why technology is invented, to completely eliminate the work that we manually do and in return help us accomplish more than we could ever accomplish on our own.

Technology is here to stay and the best we can do is get on board and learn from it now before it grows too much and we are not able to catch up with it.  Fear of failure and making mistakes, especially in business can keep you enslaved for the longest time.

Establishing a new easier way to manage this data is a sign of relief for many individuals and companies.  This can only happen through digitalization of the Human Resource Department.  Digitalization of this sector will help the HR workers to ascertain specific details that help them improve in their decision making over the management of people.  This in return will feed the company with accurate information that will help in achieving the set objectives.

Where to Start in Digitalization of The HR Department?

There is always a starting point for everything in this good earth.  You only need two things – determination and expertise.  With so much knowledge shared freely on the technology platforms, we cannot say we are shortchanged.  We ought to start today before it is too late.

Today, there is a large number of well learned fellows who know the technology world like the back of their hands.  Such technology experts are either within or without our companies but not far from our reach.  Such are the people you bring on board to start with and share the idea with them to help you start your long journey to freedom.

Before that, ensure that your Human Resource Department has a team of people who are flexible, enthusiastic, ready to learn and of course, are computer literate.  This kind of people will take seriously what is placed in their hands.

Simply sell the idea to the experts and then have them crack the idea, define it in the technology terms, develop the tools to use and the like.  At this point, we wish to clarify that it is easier said than done. Don’t assume that what is suggested will automatically work, 90% of it fails.  Do not try to take whatever is suggested and force it down the Human Resource personnel’s throats, it won’t work.   Take time with this group of experts and allow them to try it out with your Human Resource group.  That’s the only way you will be able to tell what works and what doesn’t.

It is also important to talk to other companies who have successfully digitalized their HR department ahead of you.  This equips you with smarter ideas to handle matters in a more creative way.  Realizing your weaknesses as a business is not a weakness; rather, it is a strength because by learning to do the right thing, you will become better.  Well, it may cost the business some money and maybe cause down spiraling but in the long run, there is profit reaped from the truth learned.

There are simple easy steps you can adopt to help you strategize how you will digitalize your human resource sector and all the sectors in your business.

Steps to Make Digitalization Fun and Seamless

If these are taken seriously, these are vital steps that can launch your business in the technology world.

  • Form a top-management agreement to drive digitalization across the HR sector. The vision maybe yours but share it!  The management should be put on the same page regarding this process.  It should be clearly aligned to the overall goals that the business has set so that everyone understands that it is meant to make profits for the company; not just incur unnecessary costs.
  • Create a flexible, contemporary culture. Digital experts are flexible people who hate to be stuck in a box.  They want to be able to do what is meant to be done and move forward without anything standing in their way.  They have high expectations of experience and will only stay if infrastructure and governance is allowing them to make a difference.  Give them a voice where it matters and provide them with the right infrastructure, and they will make a difference!
  • Avoid departmental approach. As much as you want to digitalize the Human Resource Department, don’t make it look like it’s the only one that needs these digital services.  Most likely, the other departments will boycott the singly picked department.  Digitalization should be planned and distributed throughout the organization.
  • Challenge the HR to embrace a digital system. The digitalization of the HR Department should be viewed as a revolutionary leap forward with the appropriate challenge launched to the HR department.  The first challenge should be to own a smartphone that can redefine how communication has been taking place.  The combination of mobile and cloud solution together with the access of a smartphone is as powerful as a PC or a laptop.  This is where redefining the HR Department starts. The shift for every HR manager to a mobile and platform way of thinking should be highly encouraged.
  • Look wider and open platforms. Most experts out there do not want to come, sit at a desk and work for you, nothing wrong with you or your company – that’s just them!  It will be wise to look into the workforce you have and provide the means to connect, transfer, co-develop and co-create ideas for the business gain.  Allow and empower team leaders accordingly to form online platforms where they can easily connect skills and manage them.
  • Encourage resourcefulness. Train people to know what they need and how to go out and find it. Google is one of the platforms that answers most of your questions and enlightens you on things you had no knowledge of.  Encourage resourcefulness because that’s the only way digital skills will be learnt fast and easily through personal motivation.  Personally motivated people achieve much by far than those that are persuaded.
  • Learn the difference between skills and behaviors. You will gain much through individuals who have collaborative behavior as they are willing to share ideas, learn new ones, and think creatively.  People who enjoy teamwork will turn ideas into action leading to business gain.
  • Use data to drive decision making. This is a crucial element of digitalization of the HR department.  It is vital to use precise data – recruitment, performance management, learning and development to reach to a decision without any guesswork.  This helps the HR department to be very accurate and develop programs to their advantage.  By leaving your company’s HR department to operate manually for too long, you are bound to lag behind in updating your records.
  • Empower cross functional learning. When something goes wrong, it should be celebrated rather than critiqued.  Create the means to pass learning across teams while providing a positive framework for this learning.  This platform shares out the best practice and means to resolve issues providing recurrence.
  • Offer a seamless platform for sharing experience. Let the HR use social and mobile platform to interact with the employees in order to build stronger and better relationships.  Mobile platforms and applications are way interactive to use and easy to access the information.
  • Embrace design thinking. All the technology tools – the social, mobile, analytics and cloud tools are only understood if they are practiced.  Encourage the employees to adopt them and use them in their daily communication with the HR department.  Incorporating design thinking through this process will help your company maximize on the impact of the new digital technologies.

What Does Digitalization Require?

Digital HR will require building and fluency of mobile apps, design thinking, behavioral economics and use of fixed analytics.  We have to realize that it is not just about building apps and all but also developing platforms that contain a wide range of apps built with analytical and cloud technology.

Creating such platforms allow you to use hundreds of apps on it like recruitment, collaboration, goal setting, employee attendance, employee wellness and many more.  Designing such platforms allows you to integrate all the data in one place that is used to make recommendations to users throughout the day.

Challenges of Digitalization

No transition comes without its flaws and challenges but we are meant to conquer.  Digitalization comes with big challenges that many companies face It is the mandate of the company to ensure they do not give up due to the pressure they experience in the midst of this huge transition.  The positive side is that for any challenge, there is a way out but only those who are well prepared to face them will find that way.  Some of the challenges experienced include:

  • Lateness in technology adoption.  Human Resource is known for its late adoption of technology.  Generally, many companies have been caught up in this challenge having waited for a long time before they could adopt the technology in their Human Resource Departments.  Most companies only talk of technology and its benefits long enough before they adopt it leading to piling of data in manual form and having to do lots of work to transfer it into the new technology once in place.
  • Balancing the high tech with a high touch.  Being able to recognize the need of technology touch in your business is great but getting professionals to keep it working is even greater.  Getting the younger generation that is used to using the technology in most of their daily work is rewarding as it gives them an opportunity to drive your business easily without cajoling.  The high technology required in the Human Resource can only be worked on and maintained by the employees who are passionate of the technology ideas and solutions.
  • Accurate information transfer.  With most human resource adopting technology when they are already so late, there is a lot of information to be transferred from manual records.  Unless you have highly trustworthy and devoted team, you are bound to lose important information due to negligence.  Remember all this information is important for the business to run smoothly and for employees to feel secure.
  •  Communication is key in the digitalization of the Human Resource Department.  Unless expectations are communicated in a way that is well understood, challenges are bound to occur in the transition.  The managers in the Human Resource Department ought to be people who are accountable and can clearly put across the expectations to those they lead so that they can also become accountable.
  • Setting attainable goals.  Goals are set to help the business achieve something by the end of each working day.  In the digitalization, goals must be set for each member involved in the digitalization to ensure something valuable is achieved every day.  Without set goals, people tend to just work with no direction.

Conclusion

From the information mentioned, it is easy to tell what digitalization can accomplish but it’s not all easy without hitches.  Cooperation from all sectors is key in order to enjoy the end-product you want to see.  The integration of the Human Resource Department being the hub of every business will fuel it to run smoothly and relationships will be highly improved; not forgetting the data will be precise and accurate.

The Human Resource Digitalization transformation is big and cannot be done in a rush.  It has to begin with a change of mindset within the HR department and every other sector in the business.

The business rises from the art of teamwork, and digitalization is one of the key areas that require this kind of teamwork that brings achievements.  Everyone in the business has to embrace the forward move right from the beginning to make it smooth sailing.  They have to come to the level where they prioritize connectivity, real time operations and automation.

This should be viewed as a revolutionary opportunity all over the company, not just as a one sector responsibility.  This is only a small section of digitizing the entire company.  This being a very sensitive sector that determines the relationship between the HR and the employees, it must be handled with care.  With the right approach that does not threaten the employees, the new technology will be embraced and worked towards with the right attitude.

There is still a long way to go until the HR sector is settled in the technology world and we can toast to that.  A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step, it’s better you start yours today!  You have the opportunity to showcase your company’s success just like the above example of a successfully digitized company.  Remember once you digitize the first sector in your business, all the rest will be easily integrated and brought on board to enjoy a fully digitized company that enjoys life the 21st Century way.

Victor Phang,

CEO & Founder of iTalent Management

[email protected]

Originally published on LinkedIn.

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