Apart from employee safety and experience, this approach brings other HR benefits too

At the onset, it may sound like a paradox – HR and humanless?

But that’s a misnomer. Contactless does not mean humanless. In fact, if anything that we have learned out of the pandemic, the beauty of contactless technologies lies in keeping humans safe but taking the human approach in key areas. 

The growth of virtual meeting rooms and cloud-enabled digital workspaces was just the beginning of the contactless revolution. As time passed, we saw more technology solutions capable of delivering ‘human’ elements. Virtual chat rooms became immersive. Online training programs became gamified. Project assignments became more collaborative than ever before. Even OTT players introduced group-watching Fridays or buddy-content bundles.

So when we think of HR processes like attendance, recruitment, and learning getting contactless, intelligent automation can eliminate the repetitive administrative tasks. There is no point in having an entire team manning a desk just to clock who came in, when, and for how long. A smart contactless attendance solution can easily take care of that. Similarly, such a solution can cut costs, save time for employees and liberate them. It can remove the unnecessary bureaucracy they have to navigate through just to get to work. 

Why not free them from these hassles and use technology to enable basic tasks?

Contactless HR removes inefficiencies and enhances the employee experience

Ask yourself. As a leader, what would you rather prefer? 

  • Watching employees enter and exit gates – or create a fun, positive, and productive work environment?
  • Counting the number of hours one is at work – or finding solid and stable ways of improving productivity and empowering employees?
  • Waste time in scheduling meetings and visitor permissions – or concentrating on the real outcomes of these conversations and interactions?

If you want your organization to be productive, future-proof, and employee-friendly; then you need to embrace technology and more importantly, in the right way.

Technology is inarguably the common denominator in today’s industry paradigm. Every prudent enterprise is investing in technology to cut costs, improve profitability, and enhance business impact. And not just outside, but inside the company as well.

Let’s look at a report ‘HR Technology 2021: A Definitive Guide’. It indicates that the biggest change in the HR technology market is the shift from “HR” to “Work Tech.” Josh Bersin’s researchers have also pointed out that 2021 will feature a focus on employee experience (EX). There will be more and more easy-to-use apps. They will make jobs easier and will fit well with existing workplace tools. 

It was also seen that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a major driver for this rapid shift, as companies have realized that their survival depends on the health, wellbeing, and productivity of their people. 

It was also observed that AI is being used to make HR systems more personalized, conversational, and easier to use. There is a palpable appetite for solutions designed to support safe and interactive workplaces.

Employee Experience, or EX, was a dominant factor as summarized in this report. It also came up as one of the big six issues driving HR technology decisions. According to PwC’s Human Resources Technology Survey, it was spotted that 42% highlighted the improvement of employee experience. Also, a collaborative work environment emerged as an important factor for 40% respondents. 

For 30%, the focus was on improving well-being, diversity, and inclusivity. The survey also reminded us that the corporate technology space is now a $148 billion market of HR cloud solutions. These solutions address business needs for the future of work. It has been predicted that the HR technology focuses through 2022 would be on employee experience (48%) and intelligent automation (45%). Almost 74% plan to increase spending on HR tech in 2020 to address pressing talent needs in this survey. Companies also expect new investments in talent acquisition (49%), improved user experience for employees (48%), and skills mapping/career path tools (46%).

Gains and pains of adopting HR technology

While challenges with any new technology adoption are only natural. The benefits have started manifesting too. About 37% said their talent management solutions are delivering benefits to a “great extent.” This was witnessed especially for workforce analytics (38%), workforce planning solutions (41%), and recruiting solutions (43%).

But the survey also spotted a disconnect over the perceived effectiveness of these tools. Managers who are expected to use them are two times less likely than the C-suite when it comes to accepting the effectiveness on some business outcomes. Only 27% rated HR tech as very effective for changing behaviors at work. This is when 82% face adoption challenges and others wrestle with lack of preparation, not meeting user needs, unclear user benefits, and poor user experiences. All of these areas remind us that HR Tech is not like other enterprise IT. Just being an early adopter of some technology will not suffice. Just having a project mindset with traditional ROI metrics, on-time, and in-budget criteria will not lead to your true effectiveness. You will have to approach HR technology with a different perspective and rigor.

Yes, everyone is using HR technology today but if the end-of-the-day employee experience and manager, as well as employee, comfort is not taken care of, the technology will falter. EX is something that cannot be create simply with great software. It has to be woven in carefully and meticulously. It comes in when you choose and execute solutions according to the users, their environments, their needs, and their cultural nuances. 

You can set yourself apart from the crowd by identifying the right technologies that fit your organization’s context, needs, potential, and culture. You may be able to leverage great results from artificial intelligence, or you may find that scope in analytics, or both. The answer about ‘what to pick’ and ‘how to deploy it’ – that’s a major hurdle to be crossed first.

Start asking the right questions and discuss them with experts who have a wide and top view of the industry. You would be at a better vantage point by partnering with consultants who have helped many types of enterprises in applying analytics, automation, and intelligence in the realm of HR. And with the help of the right partner, find solutions that can be tailored to your problem areas. 

That’s the only way to retain ‘human’ in HR Technologies. The world is definitely going to get contactless in many processes. Organizations will continue these new approaches even after the pandemic fades. The emphasis on employee safety, well-being, and time quality would be paramount for enterprises who know that talent matters. These would never sideline the safety aspect for short-term gains. They will automate, go contactless, and still manage to eke out profitability as well as productivity in the new world.

But they will also face the challenge of creating the right balance. They will have to apply HR technology with a different approach and experience aspect. This is where they will get immediate and lasting acceptance from employees, managers, and CXOs.

Automate key processes, but not at the cost of deleting the ‘human’ factor. Do it under the guidance of, and with resources from, proficient solution-makers. So that you amplify the ‘human’ factor and multiply to build loyalty among your workforce.