Where HR meets technology

by 08 Feb 2010

Q A growing emphasis on technology in a highly connected world means that the role of the HR professional is also evolving. In what ways is it changing and what competencies are required from a HR professional to get the most out of HR technology?

A. It’s pretty clear the continual evolution of HR technology is transforming the HR professional’s role in a radical way. The tech nology itself is characterised by workflow, automation and embedded analytics, as well as the internet with its focus on delivery methods, and connectivity to social net working sites. As such, HR technology de livers faster, centralised services to the busi ness, with lower transaction costs, and information that is complete, accurate, and delivered in real time to the decision maker. The end result is an HR professional spend ing more time making strategic decisions with a clear, direct and measurable impact on business results.

This changing role requires strong em phasis on competencies that bring out the best in implementing and managing HR tech nology, as well as interpreting the patterns of information delivered. Of these, the most ob vious is understanding, and effectively using, HR technology. This is critical to the success of all HR professional leveraging tech nology and, based on the take-up rate of HR technologies in large and small businesses alike, it’s set to be a mandatory requirement.

A key requirement for any HR profession al is the development and execution of poli cies and processes that support the overall strategic business plan and objectives. This means the HR professional needs to be a strategic leader. This not only means mak ing the right decisions at the right time, but understanding and interpreting the relevance and impact of information on the business, as well as communicating the idea effec tively. Tactically, HR professionals require a deep knowledge about the design of policy and processes in which people are recruited, developed, retained and rewarded. This strate gic-tactical relationship impacts on HR serv ices and the translation into the technology solutions, such as recruitment, learning, tal ent, and remuneration management.

The very nature of technology is to bring about profound change while the basic na ture of most organisations is to resist change. As such, the HR professional needs to con stantly evaluate and assess the effectiveness of the HR policies and processes, and respond accordingly. This means having knowledge and ability to execute successful change strategies and linking them to the strategic needs of the business. As a change cham pion, HR professionals need to create a vi sion for change that includes the mission, val ues, goals and action plans with measurement criteria. This also means sponsoring change in other departments and work practices by challenging accepted practices and motivat ing others by creating openness to change and overcoming resistance to change.

The main drivers in the use of HR tech nology will continue to be faster, cheaper transactions, as well a platform for strategic decision-making. The way technology will support and deliver this is only getting smarter, so monitoring developments in HR technol ogy and developing their competencies in this domain will be a key factor in determining the success of both the HR function and HR pro fessionals.

Ari Kopoulos, Employee Connect, ari@employeeconnect.com, 02 82888028