Human resources departments are a drain on many organizations. While they offer administrative services, they also harm productivity with paperwork, long-winded emails, and lackluster onboarding processes.
Now, though, numerous companies are figuring out that they can use tech to help them overcome these long-standing issues. Firms are leveraging the power of automation to bring recruits into the fold and get them set up.
For example, we’re seeing the development of more data-driven decision-making. Businesses are getting better at managing their staff using policies that work, instead of doing the first thing that comes into their head.
This fact means that managers have clearer insight than ever before into employee engagement and productivity. Even middle management can make data-driven decisions that optimize outcomes and reduce the need to make tricky decisions.
Data-driven decision-making has been around for a long time. However, it is only recently that tools have brought down the price enough for it to become feasible beyond the biggest companies. Now everyone has the tools they need to manage their people more effectively instead of relying on entire teams to do it for them.
We are also seeing the development of technologies that help to improve communication and collaboration between various parties. Instant messaging platforms and project management software are making it possible for people to work together, irrespective of location.
This technology began to develop rapidly in the aftermath of the pandemic. Businesses needed tools that would facilitate collaboration and keep the economy running, even as the majority of the population remained at home.
Several years later, those same tools are being perfected and infused with AI to make them even more capable than ever before. Teams are working together across the globe in real time without having to show up at the same physical office every day.
Technology is also helping companies with the sometimes challenging process of onboarding. Companies are finding ways to streamline the process and avoid putting customers off.
Software consultancy, Apryse is overseeing this change currently, helping firms use all of the automation tools in Salesforce. “The main problem is a lack of knowledge,” the company says. “These tools exist, but only a fraction of firms are using them to anything like the extent they should.”
“The point of automating onboarding is to make the customer sales experience better. Clients who feel looked after are more likely to stick with a firm, even if it is only a machine behind the scenes pushing all the buttons and doing the work.”
The client onboarding process usually requires companies to engage in significant administrative tasks. Things like writing and sending out emails are time-consuming. However, proper onboarding automates all of this and helps with aftercare. Companies can contact people long after they buy a product for an update on how things are going.
Improved Learning And Development
Companies are also discovering that tech can improve learning and development. AI-powered platforms are potent pedagogical tools that can provide tailored advice to colleagues when they need it.
Improved learning and development are challenging for many firms to implement, but some are making progress. Companies are using AI to discover their colleagues’ needs and skills gaps and using it to determine how to target learning.
Current approaches don’t provide this level of customization. Course operators don’t investigate what trainees are missing from their repertoire.
However, AI could potentially do this. Tools could test for existing knowledge and skip any unnecessary learning, speeding up the process. Colleagues could be up to speed on a new process or approach in a matter of minutes instead of going through hours of exercises that are largely already known or irrelevant.
What Are The Problems With Using Tech To Manage People?
The problems with using tech to manage people are likely going to be small in the long term. That’s because AI will probably become more human-like and less robotic in the future, giving people the personal touch they want. However, that’s still not the case today, unfortunately, despite the incredible leaps forward in technology we’ve seen over recent months.
The main concern is an over-reliance on technology. Companies still believe that humans need physical interaction and empathy to thrive. Unfortunately, it is unclear whether AI can provide that at the moment. While it can engage in conversation, many individuals won’t gain much satisfaction from talking to it (unless, of course, it closely replicates the human experience).
HR technology might also include elements of algorithmic bias. Hastily designed systems may lead to errors and oversights that privilege some colleagues and harm others.
For instance, you can imagine a data-trained AI making unfair predictions about a potential worker’s productivity or performance in the lab. You could also see artificial intelligence penalizing some groups while promoting others, particularly during evaluations.
There are also employee privacy concerns. AI systems digitize everything, creating a record of workers’ activities and preventing them from living their lives separate from the intrusive eye of the firm. For some individuals, paying this price will be okay, but for others, it will be a terrible prison and restraint on their liberty.
If companies do implement technology for managing people, they must do it sensitively while being transparent and considering the ethical implications. Many of these high-tech systems come with unintended consequences that the firm might not foresee, such as employees looking for jobs where the employer doesn’t constantly monitor everything they do.
Lastly, the main issue is the lack of human touch. Most workers prefer human interaction with HR departments, but that will disappear if robots take over the role. Workers might feel cut off from other employees or not understand why the firm believes so fervently in using technology and preventing them from interacting with each other.
Many companies pay lip service to the idea that AI will augment, not replace people. However, that seems unlikely. The economic incentives for full automation are overwhelming and the benefits could be extraordinary. The risk, of course, is that it makes people feel atomized.