Rajiv is CEO of Complygate which is an award winning HR Tech Startup, which helps SMEs and Tier 2 Sponsors comply with the Immigration Laws.
The coronavirus pandemic disrupted corporate expansion plans on a global scale in 2020, the greater part of which included technological innovations, adaptations and expenditure plans such as spending on HR technologies. This led to a massive refurbishing and workaround culture globally involving huge investments in remote working systems, HR technology and related workplace norms.
As the CEO of a company that offers HR software, I have been monitoring the trends in the industry. While there may be a slight decrease in conventional HR technology budgets with regard to the year 2021, I believe this deficit should be more than covered by a considerable increase in investments in unconventional HR technology domains like digital infrastructure and remote-working tools. This is largely due to a proposed continuation of remote-working practices by a major chunk of the global corporates.
The importance of HR technology has been boosted with the change in work norms. There is a continuous trend to invest in new and innovative HR technologies despite the economic uncertainties of the times, as per the 2020 HR Technology Pulse Survey (registration required) conducted by Gallagher. The survey also found that the respondents were initially (up till 2019) focused on attracting top talent, but by 2020, this focus had shifted to performance management and employee communications. Trends like these reflect the growing HR capabilities that influence the development of remote-work culture.
Companies started investing in talent management.
The year 2020 was a momentous year for the development and application of HR technology in the corporate world. The HR technology shifts have been remarkable, with dependence on collaboration platforms, helpdesk portals and communication tools. These applications are still serving as mission-critical tools to support organizational initiatives and evolved HR processes and track their progress. One of the immediate implementations was to track and update the healthiness levels of company-wide employees while they were working remotely during Covid-19 lockdowns. Another prominent use was alerting the senior management to immediate concerns related to engagement, business processes, etc., by the employees.
I’ve observed that the acquisitions, developments and mobilization of organizational talent worldwide during the Covid-19 pandemic was very well-documented and the results studied thereafter. For organizations that were able to make easy and seamless transitions to remote working and modify their business processes, preparation and situational awareness were the key attributes. Such organizations had data on mission-critical job roles and skills and had developed mechanisms to re-align goals and business focus rapidly. This made those organizations well-prepared to handle the sudden pandemic and manage business continuity, sometimes even with better productivity.
I believe this is mainly the result of better talent management practices coupled with the availability of people data and interpreting the correct implications. Companies that had not yet invested in beneficial talent management strategies had to stay afloat during the pandemic by overtly relying on layoffs and incorporating pay cuts. But there were those organizations that faced good outcomes, due to planning ahead of time, thus even giving their employees salary hikes.
Organizations are redesigning workforce management.
HR organizations were surveyed by The Sapient Insights (membership required) on the basis of initiatives put in place by them due to Covid-19. The top initiatives were to:
• Increase remote-working options.
• Implement remote-working employee tracking and performance management tools.
• Implement new employee communication processes and tools.
• Create flexible HR processes and models, especially for pay, recruitment and strategic management.
• Create schematic work schedules and more creative environments for better performances.
• Implement policies, technology and models to maintain safe working environments.
Organizations are rethinking existing workforce management plans and strategies, including technologies for employee learning and talent acquisition. A considerable majority of organizations are looking to revaluate or replace learning technologies/workforce management/talent acquisition systems.
Workforce management systems — or “time management tools” — are now being used by a wider level of organizations. The major objective for this is to comply with Covid-19 safety protocols. Systems upgrades and automation also make time management easier, with in-built tools for time tracking and work scheduling. As per a survey from Progress, 56% of companies were planning cloud migration projects in 2020.
Implement workplace planning and change management.
Enterprise workforce planning is now being practiced by a major chunk of organizations. Using insightful analytics, HR teams can calculate the required organizational metrics to assist business leaders in making solid business plans for the good and bad times. Using the practice of change management can also give an annual increase in the number of team members actively using it in their daily planning activities. This approach focuses on business and organizational planning as a continuous and adaptable path instead of a one-time measure, thus actively incorporating skills that can be inculcated to handle changing times and adapting to different business environments.
According to the Sapient research, practitioners of continuous change management had more positive outcomes than the ones using an ad hoc/project-based change management approach. However, in many major organizations, and despite these strategic shifts, the HR function is still understood to be focused on compliance. HR needs to be able to lead continuous and strategic change in business functions to help grow the organizational capacities and goals.
Disruptions like Covid-19 will be faced again in the future. Organizations need to look beyond mere operational costs; they need to use their employee data to be able to grow and sustain themselves fully without creating disruptions for themselves and their employees.
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Rajiv is CEO of Complygate which is an award winning HR Tech Startup, which helps SMEs and Tier 2 Sponsors comply with the Immigration Laws. Read Rajiv Ranjan’s full