Moving the HR function forward


The landscape of human resources is an increasingly complex terrain. Gone are the days of reactive support systems and putting employee satisfaction on the back burner. Today, HR leaders are turning to technology, particularly AI-powered solutions, to cultivate a thriving workplace environment that prioritises employee wellbeing. This has been driven so far by a growing recognition of the vital link between happy, healthy employees and a successful organisation. But, as in other industries, professionals with heavy workloads are looking to cut corners and get from A to B faster, so to streamline employee satisfaction, the integration of technology is fundamental.

The rise of technology in HR

The recent HR Technologies UK Pulse Survey Report paints a compelling picture; a staggering 68% of respondents acknowledge the crucial role of HR technology in supporting employee wellbeing. This isn’t simply anecdotal evidence. The survey reveals a tangible link between technology adoption and improved employee engagement and retention reported by HR practitioners themselves (94%).

In 2023, 56% of organisations invested a minimum of £50,000 in HR technology, and a significant 37% anticipate their investment to increase by 20% or more over the next five years. This surge in investment speaks for itself and reflects a growing understanding of the positive impact technology in HR can have on employee wellbeing and return on investment for business success. However, businesses understand that strategic investment in such technologies which have the potential for effective change is crucial.

So, what specific technologies are leading the charge? The survey identifies HR information systems, performance analytics, and employee engagement platforms as the top contenders. These tools empower HR teams to gather valuable insights into employee engagement and identify potential roadblocks to wellbeing, opening the doors to tailored and human-centric support initiatives.

Technology-enabled wellbeing

Technology also acts as a powerful tool to promote and foster employee wellbeing, an aspect deemed “somewhat” or “very important” by a significant 68% of respondents. Take wellness apps, for instance. Up to 83% of UK employers offer these resources, providing employees with on-demand access to stress management techniques, mindfulness exercises, and healthy living tips (People Management)

For more complex challenges, external employee assistance programs offer confidential support, while online communities foster peer-to-peer connections and build resilience.

The human touch with AI power

Contrary to popular opinion, the rise of technology doesn’t signal the end of the HR professional’s role; it’s quite the opposite. Technology serves to enable HR teams to focus on what truly matters: building connections, nurturing talent, and fostering a thriving workplace culture. The success of HR technologies hinges on their ability to place people at the centre. With continued investment and a focus on human-centric solutions, HR technology can create a future where organisations of all sizes can meet modern HR standards.

While HR technologies have been evolving steadily, the recent surge in AI has begun to revolutionise the game even further. The HR Technologies Pulse Survey underscores the immense promise AI holds for addressing key challenges faced by HR professionals. When asked about the most beneficial uses of AI, respondents identified onboarding and training (25.8%), performance management (24.5%), and chatbots and virtual assistants (22.3%). The long-term implementation of AI in HR departments will be driven by its potential to benefit the entire workforce and resulting economic profits.

By embracing AI in onboarding and training, organisations can effectively address the reported 36% challenge in upskilling. This approach not only meets the demands of the contemporary workforce but also positions AI as a key enabler of continuous learning and skill development.

This enthusiasm is echoed by the 80.4% of respondents who expressed a likelihood to adopt AI specifically for talent acquisition processes. This significant rise from just 52% last year (Gartner, 2023) reflects the rapid advancements in AI technology and the changing investment landscape for business leaders.

The future of HR is undoubtedly shaped by technology, particularly AI-powered solutions.  But it’s crucial to remember that technology is a tool, not a replacement for human expertise. As the industry navigates this exciting future, HR professionals must champion the human element and ensure that technology serves as a force for good, fostering a workplace that prioritises not just productivity, but the overall wellbeing of its employees.

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