Bird’s eye view of people meeting

HR is not about Technology…

I’ve been reading some articles that question the influx of technology into HR. The general idea is that technology dehumanizes the personal touch that HR leaders are keen to have. Somewhere along the line, we’ve become so obsessed to make HR service delivery as cost-efficient as possible that we’ve overlooked the employee experience. And that means we’re missing out on something important.

If done right, technology can add to employee satisfaction by providing quick support and transactions. It not only increases efficiency, it also improves the interaction and communication with HR and delivers a good employee experience. If done wrong, well, you’ve got a mess on your hands.

The consumerization of HR, a concept I wrote about 2 years ago (on my blog, in a whitepaper and in a slideshare), is front and center when considering the employee experience. Is using transactional HR as easy and unified as buying a book on Amazon, downloading music from iTunes or checking in for a flight? Or does it involve multiple screens and clicks and is online engagement very different from the real-time, physical HR experience?

By thinking about employee experience, I challenge you to put yourself in the seat of your workforce. For a minute, forget that you are HR. What do they see when they use HR? Think about Amazon and iTunes again: while they process your transaction, they are already serving up suggestions for what you need next. They’ve found a way to turn all that data into knowledge, and try to enhance your customer experience. And once you are done, they will analyze your online behaviour to predict the future needs of their customers.

Does all the data you’ve accumulated in HR enable you to deal better with workforce issues in an intelligent manner? If not, then you’ve overlooked an important part of how HR adds value to the company. Technology is never a goal in itself. Sure, it can make HR more efficient against lower cost. But that is not the real value that HR can add. Once you start looking at technology as a means to an end, you start focusing on outcomes, and that’s a sure way to think about business.

If you think about technology for technology’s sake, you’re missing out on some great value. It’s about helping the company and its people get the job done. HR is not about technology, but it sure can help!