Aside from forcing professionals to quickly adapt to working from home, the global pandemic also shuffled priorities and changed the way professionals think about work and how they define success. The ensuing talent crunch in the wake of the Great Resignation and Great Reshuffle compelled organisations to introspect and build experiences that address employee concerns – in a bid to hold onto their best employees.
This has led to a wave of HR Tech innovations to streamline processes to both, address difficulties that employees counter at various stages of their journey in companies and to boost efficiency through enhanced engagement. Organisations are embracing various pre and post-onboarding technologies with the aim of creating work environments that are more inspiring, meaningful and enjoyable because, as research frequently shows, employees who report having a positive employee experience have a greater engagement level and are far more likely to want to stay at a company.
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According to Willis Towers Watson’s 2022 employee experience survey, 61% of organisations see a need to create a holistic employee experience while 58% view strengthening their work and rewards framework as the most important capability over the next three years. The survey also found that 65% of organisations believe that the use of AI will drive the most change in how we work. Moreover, 67% of organisations are building leader and manager capabilities around engaging talent with flexible work arrangements. This has spurred tremendous growth in HR Tech, a market that is expected to be worth $38.36 billion in 2030.
AI Bots to the rescue
Six-year-old company Moveworks recently received its C-series round of funding at a valuation of over $2 billion, its growth undeniably escalated by the shift of mindsets and requirements through the pandemic. “From 100 employees, we now have 600. Growth has been strong on the strength of how the world has evolved; we’ve seen demand from mid-sized and large-sized companies. With a median resolution time of five to six seconds, our AI reduces significant pressure on the service desk and lowers costs,” says Vaibhav Nivargi, CTO and co-founder, Moveworks.
Founded in 2016 by Nivargi, Bhavin Shah, Varun Singh and Jiang Chen, Moveworks is an artificial intelligence-based platform that provides quick, automatic support to employees’ requests by using a network of integrated machine learning models.
The American chipmaker Broadcom sought to streamline a series of mergers and acquisitions that resulted in the onboarding or transfer of over 11,000 employees. Moveworks provided a single interface to resolve their support issues and to answer employees’ IT requests.
While the pandemic accelerated the company’s growth, return to work, comes with its own challenges for HR Tech to address. “Our tech can be used to send out communications about outages and service degradations, for instance. The worst thing for employees is to not know and to be taken by surprise,” says Nivargi.
At ADP, globally, the whole intent is to create a more sustainable approach. The objective of HR Tech is to drive efficiency and gains and make life simper for employees – the keywords for HR Tech being simple, easy and adaptable. Our aim is always to scale up opportunities [for employees] and become a more engaging employer.”
– Ganesh Iyer, senior director, HR, ADP
Increase productivity, lower costs
When Moveworks announced its partnership with TCS this year, Sankha Ghosh, CIO of global insurance broker AssuredPartners, that relies on TCS and Moveworks for employee support, revealed that the new digital solution allowed the employees to get the technical support they need in a matter of minutes so they can focus on things that really matter.
Expediting and streamlining these processes has become a priority for organisations, that understand that effective communications have a huge impact on not only employee satisfaction but also on productivity. A survey conducted by Dynamic Signal offers proof:
- 85 % of employees said they lose at least one to two hours of productivity a week searching for information
- 80 % of employees said they feel stressed because of ineffective company communication
- 78 % of employees said communication should be a higher priority for their workforce
- 52 % of employees have witnessed poor financial outcomes because of ineffective communication, including lost business and a damaged brand
- 36 % of employees said they don’t know where to find the information they need to do their work
- 36 % of employees said they have been in an unsafe situation because of poor communication
- 63 % of employees are so frustrated by the way their company communicates with them that they’re ready to quit
Companies are making a beeline for solutions that address these problems – like global tech giant, HCL Technologies’ recently-updated ‘AI-Driven and Automation-Powered Employee Experience’ (AEX) digital workplace solution. Its new features include automated software installation on end-user devices, advanced reporting capabilities, upgraded user interface, unified administration portal for backend configuration, file attachment capability, enhanced queue management, and additional out-of-box automation scripts.
Beyond IT problems
Besides, HR Technology is also helping human resource teams to maintain organisational culture. With the reluctance of workers to return to offices, human resource teams must find ways to enhance employee experience when employees cannot interact in person. That’s where technologies like cloud computing, human resource management systems (HRMS) and unified communication tools are making a difference.
There is an increased reliance on AI-backed solutions like uKnowva, a mobile-enabled platform designed to automate everyday business operations. Founded by Vicky Jain, Priyanka Jain and Abhay Talekar in 2012, uKnowva provides services to acquire, manage, develop, and engage employees. It uses AI and automation to map the happiness index of employees and to predict the likelihood of resignation.
Vicky Jain, founder and CEO, uKnowva, shares that in the case of logistics player Delhivery, uKnowva helped bridge the gaps created by the ever-maturing nature of the tech-driven businesses. “With the requirement for automation at its forefront, Delhivery aimed to automate all onboarding processes for all off-roll employees. They wanted to eliminate dependency on Excel and Google Sheets which, they found, required manual tracking efforts and thereby lowered productivity,” says Jain. The solution uKnowva provided improved financial transparency with vendors in addition to helping the company reduce attrition and improve onboarding and attendance management.
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Similar is the case with Naukri RMS. The end-to-end recruitment solutions provided by one of the country’s leading job portals are helping organisations automate regular tasks, thus giving managers the time to evaluate the right hires. Manoj Sharma, CEO, Huquo Consulting Pvt. Ltd shares, “Our team was facing huge productivity loss due to overflowing email inboxes, manual job postings on multiple job boards, manual sorting of resumes, screening of applicants, aligning of interviews with clients and making multiple dashboards for internal and client review. Naukri RMS has helped us give discipline to the entire work by restructuring our database, enabling job board integration etc.”
The benefits of these HR Tech innovations are far-reaching. Not just for vendors, AI in HR has the potential to create a transparent performance management procedure with feedback mechanisms that can render performance evaluation more subjective and foster greater trust between employers and employees. Eliminating human discrimination through AI-based onboarding processes can also help employees feel more wanted and, thus, more motivated.
Manoj Sharma, CEO, Huquo Consulting Pvt. Ltd shares, “Our team was facing huge productivity loss due to overflowing email inboxes, manual job postings on multiple job boards, manual sorting of resumes, screening of applicants, aligning of interviews with clients and making multiple dashboards for internal and client review. Naukri RMS has helped us give discipline to the entire work by restructuring our database, enabling job board integration etc.”
Putting people first
It’s the technology that’s assisting CHROs to shift to a ‘back to human’ model – one that allows HR to give due importance to the physical and mental well-being of employees.
While research conducted by McKinsey shows that, the majority of CHROs are keen to return to people-centric policies, more proof of it comes from Ganesh Iyer, senior director, HR, ADP, who says, “At ADP, globally, the whole intent is to create a more sustainable approach. The objective of HR Tech is to drive efficiency and gains and make life simpler for employees – the keywords here being simple, easy and adaptable. Our aim is always to scale up opportunities and become a more engaging employer.”
To achieve these ends, ADP relies on, among other things, interview scheduling tools, robotic process animation (RPA) and bots as well as strong learning management systems that are tech-driven. These are used to enhance engagement as well as for employee profiling to ensure efficient, optimal appointments.
The digital transformation of the HR industry is, thus, creating exciting opportunities for organisation that are exploring new ways of working. Adopting these tech interventions will allow HR heads to sharpen their focus on boosting the overall productivity of organisations.