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How Consumerization of IT Can Transform HR

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After attending a HR technology event, I always come back on a high having spent one or two days talking with positive people who are passionate about what they do in the HR tech space. HR tech continues to develop apace, and has become very user-friendly.

Having spent most of my career in HR, I sometimes wonder whether the HR end-users in attendance are there to take a serious look at what HR tech can do for their organization, or are there just to take some time out the office? The sad reality is that for the majority it is the latter - the event will soon be forgotten about as HR personnel in their organization get bogged down in day-to-day operational issues and ultimately nothing changes. 

With increasing talent shortages, and with a multi-generational workforce who want to be engaged, organizations who do little to engage candidates/employees will lose out. HR needs to work faster, smarter and more efficiently than ever before, and technology is the enabler to achieve this.

There are some good tools/technologies out there that could transform how HR operates (even for small to mid-sized organizations). The consumerization of HR technology is a current focus for HR tech developers.  In the U.K. alone, smartphone adoption is approximately 81%; U.K. smartphone users collectively look at their phones over a billion times a day; and tablets, one of the fastest-adopted products ever, are predicted to reach a peak market penetration of 65-70% of U.K. homes (Deloitte 2016).

HR start-up Epic Software has developed the Epic HR App. With a low-cost monthly fee option, it is accessible to small organizations.  The app can be integrated with most platforms (including payroll systems) and can be branded to match organizational requirements.  Epic Software enables a personal omni-channel work experience.  Key features include:

  • Booking leave
  • Document management (including tracking of regulatory/statutory documents). CVs can also be added as a refer-a-friend initiative and air printed
  • Incident management
  • Learning and development – organization-specific course content can be created/added and delegates can schedule their attendance
  • Engagement surveys – HR can send-out pulse surveys to measure real-time engagement
  • News – branded organization/team news and videos can be loaded up, allowing employees to make comment on them in real-time
  • Direct messaging (currently works one way) – HR can send out a hot message to employees if the workplace is closed at short notice due to bad weather, for example.

If an organization uses blue-tooth proximity beacons in its various locations (like those used in retail outlets) then HR can:

  • Get a real-time update on the presence/absence of its employees within the region of a beacon – saves time when trying to locate an employee. The app can also be linked to Amazon’s Alexa, where the presence/absence of an employee can be confirmed simply by asking Alexa
  • Show organization-specific content on screens in break-out areas, by adding digital signage in break-out areas.

However, it is not just the HR start-ups making an impact. The “Avature In-Store for Retail Recruiting” solution utilizes technology associated with an omni-channel shopping experience.  The app is designed for store managers to enable hiring at short-notice. Key features include:

  • Access to a database of former employees, silver medallists and talent pools
  • A dashboard enabling them to view open jobs, status (candidates, interviews, offers, hires) and manage actions to be taken.  Candidates can be compared on key criteria such as shift availability or behavioral assessment scores (based on pre-loaded questions)
  • One-Click Review to quickly move candidates forward or decline them
  • Templates to create job descriptions/offers/onboarding schedules, etc.

A candidate can determine location preferences for job opportunities, and can engage with the retailer in several ways:

  • Online – via a branded, mobile-enabled career site; application via social media; has Google Maps feature as a store locator
  • Walk-in – by downloading a QR or SMS code (advertised via an in-store poster/digital signage) which triggers a fast apply process; or via the Fast Apply app on an in-store mobile device.  Candidates can also scan upload a paper CV onto the instore mobile device.

This is a truly omni-channel candidate/employee engagement solution, which could easily be applied to other sectors, not just retail.

My recent visit to HR Tech World in London didn’t disappoint; while I have focused on just two of the exhibitors, there were many other HR tech companies in attendance who are also consumerizing their solutions.  HR technology will soon no longer be accessible just to employees with a workplace desktop or laptop. Consumerization of HR tech will enable organizations to use technology to engage with all employees/ candidates and this will be one of the key attributes of the workplace of the future.    

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