The digital revolution has empowered employees by increasing efficiency, however stand-alone HR software and numerous other systems are also halting employee productivity. This leads to the question, could there be a way to create more cohesive and productive teams by simplifying human-technology interactions?
Technology has changed business, but it hasn’t changed organisations’ reliance on quality talent. HR leaders need to have a strong grasp of the digital tools and core skills the workforce needs. By using contemporary HR software and integrating their other technologies, they will help their business remain competitive. This move will also have a positive effect on employee engagement, productivity and well-being.
Recent research by global management consulting firm McKinsey found that sectors and companies with strong digital capabilities were out-performing those lagging behind in digitisation, especially where there is a digitally empowered workforce. In fact what set the leaders apart was, “…the degree to which they put digital tools in the hands of their employees to ramp up productivity.”
Globally distributed workforce's are also becoming more mainstream. Organisations are being required to support their workers and improve the employee experience by:
Creating a digitally-empowered workforce is not about distributing devices, or implementing systems, and then waiting for the results to roll in. Skills, software, infrastructure and processes must be developed with a clear sense of how they help individuals operate, and how they contribute to organisational goals.
The danger lies in creating a business where an enormous amount of information is being created and shared, but very little sense or progress is being made. When systems and processes are cumbersome they distract people from their core objectives, which reduces productivity.
More than half of the respondents to Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends 2014 survey said their organisation was failing to help employees address information overload and the demands of the work environment.
Software entrepreneur Dan Bricklin argues that businesses can gain strategic advantage from technology by improving the often “terrible” user experience they offer employees via internal systems. He believes the ever-present nature of smart phones (and employees desire to use them) will force employers to create more user-friendly, effective and responsive ways for employees to provide, create and manage information via apps. Bricklin says, “As smartphones become the primary computer in employees’ lives, companies will have to apply design thinking — a focus on people, how they work, and how they use tools — to their interfaces.”
Common and essential tasks should be available at the click of a button, or swipe of a finger—and that requires a sophisticated understanding of human-centred design and systems that work on multiple devices. Unfortunately, too many organisations rely on stand-alone systems that tie up workers valuable time in administrative tasks, overwhelm them with options they don’t need, and are clunky to use. Poorly designed HR software and lack of integrated systems creates lag, duplicated effort and confusion.
Leading organisations choose tailored interfaces that allow employee self-service, treating workers more like consumers. For instance, it should be fast and straightforward for managers to compile performance feedback, or for a worker to apply for leave or download their payslip.
Simpler and more streamlined working environments are also bolstered by HR establishing policies and clear boundaries about technology use. While workers may value flexibility, receiving emails at all hours causes stress for many.
Technology should make life easier, but for many workers it consumes too much of their effort on tasks that do not align to the organisation’s strategic goals. Simplifying your HR software and integrating other technologies needed will save time, energy and improve your employees’ working lives.