Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs
Working in the Human Resources industry, you’re likely well versed in the daily struggles, frustrations and time suckers of the job. If you stay on top of industry news you’re probably also familiar with the all the drool-worthy technologies that streamline and automate processes. You understand the value of investing in these tools and technologies to make your department more efficient, better at their jobs and able to focus on things like strategic planning, networking and learning about your workforce. These technologies are both jealousy inducing and a logical next step for many HR departments that are ready to increase their abilities.
So when it seems like a no-brainer to you, why is it that those outside of HR often struggle to see the value of technology in your department? Essentially, it goes back to the fact that those who don’t work in the industry don’t see all the responsibilities that slowly eat away at your time. In the same way that you would be lost in the purchasing department because it’s not what you do every day, those outside of HR simply don’t have the knowledge base of what a time commitment each task is. Additionally, they may have trouble assigning a monetary value to the cost savings each newly automated process offers or how accuracy will improve, even in the most careful of HR departments.
If you’re lobbying for new technology in your HR department and the powers that be aren’t in your department day in and day out, you have a responsibility to educate them on the differences it can make. Your job in this instance is to bridge the gap between what they think they know about HR and what you see every day. To help with building your case, take a look at some of the most important things they need to know:
Questioning why this new technology makes sense financially will likely be one of the first questions you’re asked. You can share research such as CedarCrestone Research and Analytics’ whitepaper on HR technologies that states the cost of a task as simple as approving a promotion goes from an average cost of $36.48 to $14.01 for a savings of 62 percent. You could also consider the financial impact on your specific business area to give an even clearer picture of real savings.
Clearly demonstrating the return on investment of a given technology can help you more easily prove your point. For example, in the case of PayScale’s cloud compensation software, the ROI associated with ending over and under payments to employees and reducing voluntary exits of top performers can easily be more than 10 fold. This will make the most impact on convincing your boss that technology is a worthwhile investment, so do your research in this area.
Though time can be quantified into a dollar amount, there’s another aspect of time savings that’s equally valuable: what your department could be doing with their time instead. It could be an emphasis on strategic planning, wellness initiatives, recruiting, training or developing leadership. If you report to your boss that a new technology will save your department 10 hours each week, also show what you plan to invest those hours in and what the benefits of that time will be.
Improvements in compliance
As I said above, technology can help even the most accurate HR department be more accurate. Since so many processes are automated, there are fewer opportunities for human error, while the self-service aspect allows employees to enter information and verify accuracy themselves. Additionally, non-compliance is more common than you’d think and fines can be pricey. Fewer errors overall mean time saved correcting things, fewer angry employees and financial savings.
Believe it or not, utilizing technology in HR can greatly increase the morale of your HR employees, as it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in paperwork and menial tasks like filing and emailing. Employees get understandably frustrated when outdated technology or a lack of technology continually causes problems. Your general employee population will likely also jump at the chance to approve personnel documents and changes without wasting the paper and time.
What aspect of your HR department could benefit the most from new technology? Let us know in the comments section below.