Tech: the future of HR
The payslip could be the foundation of a completely new approach to empowering the workforce, through relevant, valid data, says Richard Firth, CEO of MIP Holdings.
The human resources (HR) department fulfills a vital function in many organisations, providing valuable services to employees and management. Despite its pivotal function, however, HR departments are often left behind when it comes to technological advancements.
For years, remote working environments have been expanding, and cloud technologies are becoming increasingly essential to the running of businesses. And as the millenials continue to make their mark on business, gamification and social applications will become the cornerstones of the HR function, says serial entrepreneur and MIP Holdings CEO Richard Firth.
"HR departments are increasingly evaluating how to exploit new technologies in order to improve the internal operations of a company. However, the one area where technology can make the largest impact in the lives of employees is the one that is not included in the more common approaches HR departments are taking in terms of technology: the payslip."
The payslip as we know it today is an outdated approach to providing data to a workforce that is not only always connected, but that is used to having access to much more information on demand, says Firth. "We know that the social paradigm has changed customer service, and in the same way, employees are increasingly more powerful in the workplace as a result of social media."
The payslip could be the foundation of a completely new approach to empowering the workforce, through relevant, valid data that goes way beyond that traditionally found in the payslip employees receive every month. As a result of Web services and the connectivity between third parties and the HR function seen today, the payslip can come alive, empowering the employee to take charge. The payslip of the future could contain current information as well as forecasts around all of the third party participants in the payroll of any individual - including short- and long-term insurers.
"Message standards are already available that could help moderate how these communications could be effected," says Firth. "What you'll have as a result is an organisation that provides much more insight for staff into the way their deductions are being managed, rather than just what the deducted amounts are."
Firth says the progression of the HR department can be taken even further through technology by putting two teams in place: a people analytics team and a people support team. The people support team would manage the HR functions traditionally associated with that department, supporting all employees in the organisation. The tasks of this team would include: helping employees with their development, ensuring staff engagement, identifying issues with morale and culture and generally looking after the well-being of the people in the business.
The role of the people analytics team would be to look at people more scientifically and support the company with insights and analytics. The kind of questions this team would help to answer includes: What are our talent gaps? What makes a good employee in our company and how do we best recruit them? Which employees have got the highest potential? How can we predict staff turnover?
"Companies in 2014 are looking for ways to be more efficient. They can start with changing departments that don't add value," says Firth. "This is not to say that people don't matter. Nothing matters more to companies than the people who work there. Companies are nothing without the right people. But managing 'human resources' in a top-down fashion by managing humans in a similar way to other resources such as finance, property or machines is not the way to go. In place of HR, companies should invest in the 'people function'."