Transforming HR through Technology

Vivien Shiao Shufen 24 Jan 2013

Technology is getting more advanced each day, and HR technology has been one of the areas leading the pace. Manual systems are fast being replaced by programmes that allow HR to not just handle employees’ leave and payroll, but also to track performance and plan HR strategy.

“Technology is so significant in HR as it helps to increase the efficiency of HR processes, such as the yearly increment process, performance evaluation, and maintenance of personnel and training records, to name a few,” says Barbara Frei, Regional HR Manager, Carl Zeiss Southeast Asia.

“It increases the speed, makes processes easier to monitor, and allows easy reporting,” she adds.

Marda Saturno, HR Director, Asia-Oceania, HeidelbergCement Asia, concurs. “Processes are made more efficient,” she explains. “Reports and statistics can be easily drawn-up through the system. Decisions can be made fast when data are readily available through the system.”

Technology is no longer something that is a nice-to-have, but has become a must-have for HR professionals to perform at their optimum. As the wave of technology continues to speed up, those who choose not to ride it will inevitably fall behind.

What’s out there?

With all the technology out there in the market, it is easy for HR to feel baffled over which to choose.

One of the latest types of systems on everyone’s lips is Cloud HR. “Cloud HR solves several setbacks that all systems had,” says Dinesh Saparamadu, founder and CEO, hSenid Business Solutions.

By being totally web-based and using remote servers, cloud-based HR information systems (HRIS) require almost no upfront cost or capital expenditure. There are also no system maintenance costs.

“Cloud HR, like PeoplesHR – Asia’s fastest growing Cloud HR software, has made HRIS accessible to large and medium enterprises and also significantly reduced the expenditure,” he says. Such technology can also be used by small businesses, due to its flexible nature and cloud technology.

Cloud HR can also be used to implement a talent management system to attract, measure, develop, and retain talent.

“(Another cloud HRIS option) HRiQ was introduced to fill up the void between complementing HR core operational tasks with effective talent management solutions,” explains Teo Teong Ho, co-founder and director of iqDynamics. “It can manage performance, appraisals and people development that can cut the time spent on repetitive tasks.”

With time saved from the time-consuming tasks of administration, HR managers can then focus on the important roles of talent attraction and development.

Another new trend in HR technology lies in the recruitment space, as more employers are using video-based interviews and online recruitment systems to find and hire their talent.

Prosoft HRMS is just one of these software solutions that aim to empower recruitment managers and provide them a tool that will help them with their work.

“It is smart, flexible and easily integrated, with the post-implementation agility to change between on-premise solution, software-as-a-service and outsourcing models,” says Ho Chee Tiong, Director, Sales and Operations, Unit4Prosoft. “Companies can make use of Prosoft HRMS to streamline their HR processes, including complex appraisal and recruitment management.”

The human touch

With HR technology becoming more common place, many feel that the face of HR has become that of a machine, instead of a person. However, Saturno disagrees with this view.

“In many companies, like HeidelbergCement, the introduction of electronic performance and potential assessment did not replace the final personal interaction amongst HR employees and line managers because we still require both the line manager and employee to meet up, discuss and co-sign the document,” she argues.

“In addition, HR is always required to meet up with all line managers to discuss the ratings and agree on actions moving forward.”

For Frei, the ‘dehumanising’ of HR due to technology is not a problem.

“In a small business like ours with about 200 employees in the region, there are a lot of avenues for the employees to interact with HR outside of the HR portal,” she explains.

“The new technology helps the entire organisation become more transparent and HR more efficient. It doesn’t replace any direct interactions with employees.”

Face-to-face communication can never be replaced by technology – it is merely a complement. With technology to handle tedious tasks, HR professionals can now spend more time and resources on what is truly important: attracting, developing and retaining their talent.

 

Managing leave and payroll

For HR executives that need to handle leave administration for an entire region, or even worldwide, appropriate technology solutions can provide an important tool.

When the company is geographically dispersed, HR will need to be aware of the various government regulations depending on the location. For example, statutory leave regulations for Singapore are different from those in Australia.

Software such as hSenid Business Solutions has made things much simpler as the required leave entitlements for Singapore have been built into the system, together with all 25 countries which hSenid has a presence in. The same applies for all payroll-related regulations and information.

“A geographically dispersed company can easily get on board within less time, where all the rules are in one product and it has the capability to process salaries on a weekly, fortnightly, and monthly basis in multiple currencies with calculations performed for each country,” says Dinesh Saparamadu, founder and CEO, hSenid Business Solutions.

 

Pros and cons of HR technology

Pros

•        Reduces human error

•        HR department becomes more transparent, building employee trust

•        Increases efficiency in the organisational processes

•        Saves time and effort for HR to focus on talent strategy

Cons

•        Potential dehumanising effect through reduced interaction

•        Potential for the organisation to become dependent on technology

 


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Commented by: Elaine at 15 Jul 2013 03:10 PM Report this comment
Whether you like it or not, technology is here to stay and we already are dependent on technology. It is now imperative for HR professionals to embrace it and sharpen our strategic and change management skills. Technology reduces the mandate admin work and stops HR from being paper pushers. It'll help HR be more strategic - better use of information, reporting, better alignment of learning initiatives, use of social and mobile learning and so on! How exciting!

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