(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by our friends at Paycom, a leading provider of cloud-based human capital management software. They recently announced the release of Ask HereTM, a new tool that gives employees a direct line of communication to ask and get timely answers to work-related questions. Enjoy the article!)
Technology is a huge part of today’s business environment. As such, it’s becoming a big part of human resources. And we’re not simply talking about a new piece of software or hardware. Human resources professionals have to think differently about the role technology plays in the business as well as the human resources function.
During the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) annual conference, I had the pleasure to spend some time with Jennifer Kraszewski, vice president of human resources at Paycom. We talked about how technology is transforming human resources. It was a terrific conversation, so I asked Jennifer if she would share her thoughts here on HR Bartender as well. Thankfully, she said “yes”.
Jennifer, we read and hear a lot about the term “digital transformation.” Can you briefly describe what it means?
[Kraszewski] The digital transformation is about more than just technology. It’s about how technology simplifies the way we do things, and changes how we think about what’s possible. We’ve seen evidence of this in our own lives. We use apps to easily complete what used to be time-consuming, mundane tasks, like personal banking and grocery shopping.
Technology has so simplified the way we generally go about our days, it has become the backbone of modern life that frees us to pursue more meaningful goals, both personal and professional.
Why should human resources departments focus on digital transformation?
[Kraszewski] When it comes to the workplace, this pace of transformation is behind the rest of the organization. Nowhere is this truer than in the HR department. Despite the flourish of human capital management (HCM) technology vendors that have emerged, many HR departments remain mired in manual processes. Why? Because technology alone is not the answer.
The key to utilizing technology in HR is being open and prepared for changing and simplifying processes that will have a positive impact on organizational culture. For example, by allowing employees to complete their own HR-related tasks with one easy-to-use app, HR is freed from antiquated processes and administrative tasks, so it can focus on high-level initiatives that drive the business forward.
You mentioned giving employees the ability to complete their own HR-related tasks. Can you share with readers an example of how employee self-service can digitally transform the workplace?
[Kraszewski] Late last year, Ernst & Young did a study that found the cost of data input for HR-related information is $4.39, per data point. With Paycom’s Direct Data Exchange, the industry’s first tool of its kind, our clients can pull employee usage data showing how many entries employees have made for themselves versus made by HR or their manager on their behalf.
Let’s say the company can see 11,000 data entries or changes made by the employee, but 72,000 made by the employer that could have been made by the employee, then there is significant return-on-investment (ROI) available for the employer: nearly $320,000 simply by having the employee enter the data or make the change.
Once employers and HR change their mindset to empower their employees to enter information, self-service technology will truly digitally transform HR functions within an organization.
What challenges do you see for organizations considering a digital transformation?
[Kraszewski] Some HR departments remain concerned about technology eliminating their jobs. We must be careful to not appear as if we are ‘going around’ the HR person. If HR does not buy into the employee usage strategy, real change will not occur, and the employees will not have control over their own data. As a result, the organization will continue to have antiquated HR processes that prevent them from having a more strategic HR vision.
Most people who became HR practitioners did so because they wanted to help people. It’s important the employee-focused message feels inclusive to HR. Our approach should focus on how HCM technology actually allows us to be more strategic in our roles. With technology and the digital transformation, HR needs to rethink or reframe what it means to help their employees. It becomes a paradigm shift: HR is able to help in more meaningful ways.
Last question. Digital transformation obviously has a people component. Are there activities that organizations should consider to prepare their workforce for digital transformation?
[Kraszewski] Without leadership’s buy-in, employees won’t be empowered to use the technology. It should be a deciding factor now, since there is a direct ROI that we can tie to it through technological advances like our Direct Data Exchange.
What we need to focus on is the communication and training piece, not only with the employee base, but within HR. We have to be able to tell the story behind the ‘why’ and give HR talk tracks around how they can help employees adopt the usage strategy. An effective talk track communicates, ‘Without a doubt, we are here because we are committed to the success of the digital transformation. It’s absolutely critical this team supports data collection, a blended learning approach with emphasis on a train-the-trainer philosophy, and 100% usage of the technology!’ and ‘As HR, our goal is to help you make the digital transformation in your team and across our organization so everyone can benefit.’
My thanks to Jennifer for sharing her thoughts. If you want to learn more about how HR departments can use tools like Paycom’s Direct Data Exchange to empower employees, reduce organizational costs, and digitally transform the workplace, check out their website and their blog.
We’ve said it before; technology isn’t going away or being reduced in the workplace. It’s time for organizations to embrace the strategic advantages that technology can bring, so people can do those things that technology cannot. Instead of thinking “either/or” when it comes to our relationship with technology, it’s time to think “both/and”.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the Wynwood District in Miami, FL16