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The Strategic Use of Technology to Boost the People Function

Companies that recognize their employees as their greatest asset and invest in people first go longer distances. Human Resources in many companies has become a key strategic partner to the C-suite, helping to spearhead digital transformation across the organization to not only drive value but also to support the attraction, retention, and engagement of a happy workforce. Focused transformation within the HR practice itself can also drive efficiency and improve employee attraction and retention. More HR leaders than ever before are looking at themselves and their teams as a critical starting point for employee experience excellence, digital transformation and innovation within the business.

Cases in point (and there are many) are Google and Microsoft, which are both highly people-oriented in terms of the opportunities they provide to their employees and how seriously they value engagement as a metric.

Technology has helped the HR function immensely, both to achieve efficiency and to make processes smoother. Particularly for growing organizations, HR technology can ensure all stakeholders, as well as potential new talent, receive a consistent, excellent experience.

Creating Capacity For The Real People Work

HR leaders today have a tough job, indeed. Massive job losses and pay cuts are being reported across the board and managing the people function is twice as challenging as ever. In the post COVID-19 reality, employee experience is going to be extremely important, and significant. Not only is it important to protect and engage internal stakeholders, potential talent will closely watch to see how a company’s people are treated before making a decision.

The strategic and thoughtful use of technology and tools can free up time for professionals to focus on tasks that need true hands-on attention. One of the key points of resistance to technology adoption is that it might replace the need for people. Yet, the reality is that technology helps take over routine, repetitive, cumbersome tasks and allows people to focus on areas that need a more well-rounded approach to problem-solving.

The same goes for using technology in HR.

What was once an unending stack of paperwork or an unending stream of digital documents to move along through a process can now be automated. Some of the areas with the highest need for automation in HR include employee onboarding, data management, employee offboarding, payroll management, and talent acquisition.

For one of our clients, Jiffy.ai has been able to manage the regular churn and process over 600 contractors per cycle in a fully automated manner. The entire employee onboarding and offboarding process can be automated using intelligent automation, too, ensuring at each step that the process is not only seamless but also human. In the context of employee data management, automation can help accomplish what would ordinarily take at least two people working for 1 hour per employee. For a luxury real estate firm, Jiffy.ai has created tremendous value by automating processes for a 400% reduction in manual effort.

This is time best spent in quality people interactions. The New Now will see a rise in the need for managing not just the work people are doing but having a greater pulse on their wellness and emotional state. HR managers will be called upon to bring teams together by showing each individual the path to their growth and the synergies with the big picture of the organization. All this will need human time and energy.  

HR And Automation In The Context Of Remote Work

If there’s one thing the pandemic has done for the New Now, it is to accelerate the process of technology adoption. While employees now work from locations as diverse as the size of the team itself, management teams have had to adjust to a completely new way of reconciling performance and rewards and getting their bearings on what is actually going on.

Indeed, many companies are reeling under the pressure of circumstances that change every week, maybe sooner, and the C-suite is reacting as strategically and as swiftly as possible to keep their businesses open.

In this context, delegating not just performance management but also the entire onboarding process to a technology tool is one great way to free up time and the much-needed headspace to work on complex decision-making and have meaningful interactions. Jiffy.ai has successfully implemented automation in HR for a leading global audit and consulting firm. Here’s what we have been able to do for them:

  • Moving contractor interactions to a web interface
  • Making communication smoother and more efficient with Exchange mailboxes
  • Automating the onboarding process entirely

As a result, the firm has been able to achieve these significant outcomes:

  • An increase in the onboarding capacity to 100 contractors per month
  • A sharp decrease in onboarding time from 3 hours (manually) to 17 minutes (when using RPA)
  • 16 of the 20 core onboarding processes are now fully automated
  • An onboarding process that runs 24X7 without the need for, or with minimal, manual intervention

Here’s a simple example of what a manual HR process would look like when automated, and the savings on time that can be expected as a result.

The role of HR has never been more critical than it is now. New tools and applications can aid HR leaders immensely in making this shift for their organizations. By relegating processes to automation and shifting its focus to its people, HR has an opportunity to help their entire enterprise not just to survive change but to be able to thrive in it.

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