HR tech is software used to facilitate effective human resource management. At its core, it automates functions and processes, improves operational efficiency, and enhances employee experience. Today’s more digitally empowered workforce expects more from their systems. HR tech companies are rising to meet demand. This article takes a closer look at the areas where HR tech is having the most impact. As technologies continue to evolve, we stop to consider: are we really making the most of the tech already available to us? And what do we risk losing in our continual quest for innovation?

Recruitment and Onboarding

Businesses have grown more reliant on software to manage their recruitment efforts and optimise talent acquisition. These technologies range from basic automation to predictive hiring tools. According to Sage, 24% of companies are already using AI for talent acquisition, and 56% claim that they will adopt such tech in the coming year. When the right candidate is found, AI can be used to streamline document exchanges, onboarding processes, and feedback analysis.

Employee Management

For many organisations, the traditional office has become a thing of the past. While the COVID-19 pandemic may have been a catalyst, the steady transition away from conventional modes of working had already begun. 80% of workers would now reject a job offer without flexible working. Companies are turning to cloud-based and SaaS platforms, such as Personio, PeopleHR and BreatheHR to manage their increasingly remote and often contingent workers.

of remote workers believe the traditional office will be obsolete by 2030

Mental Health and Wellness  

Even before the pandemic, addressing mental health and wellness in the workplace had become an important focus for HR professionals. It is now commonplace for businesses to incorporate wellness tech within their employee benefits packages. These include subscriptions to mindfulness apps such as Headspace and Calm, and access to incentives and reward schemes such as Perkbox and Perks at Work. At a strategic level, companies are leveraging employee feedback data and analytics to inform their corporate wellness policies.

20% of remote workers say that loneliness is a big challenge and 18% struggle to unplug after work

Training and Development

Tech solutions can be used to build personalised career development pathways for employees. Talent management software, such Lattice and TalentGuard, use qualitive and quantitative insights to assist with goal alignment and performance reviews. Tailored digital learning environments can also address skills gaps and deliver training and development programs where needed.

Is HR losing its humanity to tech?

It depends who you ask. According to some critics, AI could wipe out up to 40% of jobs in the next 15 years. Others suggest it will create millions more than it will destroys. There is no doubt that HR tech has taken over in areas traditionally overseen by HR professionals. But by automating the more mundane tasks, staff can allocate more substantive time to areas of human and strategic importance. We are told that AI and data reporting can identify potential organisational issues, eliminate unconscious biases, and build a more equitable work force. Yet there is also evidence that existing inequalities are being entrenched by poorly executed algorithms. In 2018, for example, Amazon got into hot water when it emerged that their recruiting algorithm had systematically discriminated against women applicants.

From this mixed picture, one thing is clear. If you want to invest in new HR tech, the needs of your staff must be front and centre. Don’t make assumptions. Listen to their pain points and find tech solutions that can be tailored to their requirements. Software, AI, and data analytics need not be impersonal. It is all about perspective. We must look for tech that improves the relationship between HR departments and staff, and not for ways to substitute what is an intrinsically human responsibility.