HR

How does HR Tech help businesses in the face of COVID-19?

Published On
September 28, 2023
Read Time
4 Minutes
Author
OnBlick Inc

The COVID-19 crisis brought drastic changes to several industries and myriads of businesses. As the pandemic increased the demand for remote working, employees had a new experience where their work and personal lives became interlinked. From an employer’s perspective, the scenario required exploring new ways not only to stay connected to their employees but also to cater to the needs of their customers with ease.

In this era of remote work, HR professionals must deploy the right HR technology to promote productivity, simplify the virtual work experience, and help their organizations thrive.

Here’s how HR Tech can help overcome some of the major challenges facing businesses.

What is HR Tech?

HR Technology/ HR Tech is a blanket term or a hypernym that is used to refer to innovations such as the cloud, automation, self-service systems, etc. that help to improve performance, save costs and boost the overall competitiveness of various HR functions. Both software and hardware solutions are included in HR tech.

It is acknowledged by numerous businesses that COVID-19 has made the association between HR and technology even more significant, thereby helping them tackle a range of issues associated with remote and hybrid working, mental health emergencies, changing employee expectations and requirements. Many have intelligently automated the hiring workflow process in the remote environment.

For instance, when an offer letter is signed by the new hire, the HR team starts the process. The IT manager sees to it that they send out a laptop and other IT equipment to the new hire’s address. Technology has started playing an inevitable role in every new remote new hire’s life, starting from the onboarding process and new employee orientation to routine tasks.

Now let’s take a quick look at some of the HR tech trends that are developing at an incredible pace.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI has helped to lessen the administrative burden on the HR teams. Since it can be used for various purposes in HR functionalities like screening, recruiting, online and offline training of employees, managing leaves, detecting anomalies, resolving queries, reviewing performance, absenteeism, exit metrics, and initiating retirements, AI has been a boon to the HR professionals. It streamlines redundant and time-consuming tasks. When the mundane administrative tasks are taken up by AI, HR managers can focus on more complex value-added tasks. AI-based applications have the potential to reduce backlogs, overcome resource constraints, improve accuracy, make better decisions, to name a few.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

RPA comprises robotic skills like Natural Language Processing (NPL), Machine Learning, Chatbots, and AI. Since it is capable of speeding up communications, it aids the HR team to increase productivity. Virtual Assistants or Chatbots found on websites and applications make things easier and efficient. The USCIS Virtual Assistant, Emma, that helps the users get assistance from immigration authorities in real-time is the epitome of AI.

As per Deloitte’s reports, RPA tools are best suitable for processes with repeatable and predictable interactions with improved efficiency and effectiveness of services. It can be beneficial for various HR processes, and can contribute to aspects like the following:

Cloud and self-service

As per the PwC HR Technology Survey 2020, HR leaders report strong business benefits of using an HR system that’s based in the cloud, as opposed to those deployed on on-premise servers. These benefits contain increases in productivity, enhanced employee experience, and improved workforce insights.

Employee Self-Service (ESS) is an online platform that enables your employees to view and edit their personal information, to manage their HR, Payroll-related, and benefits information. Employees get their login access to ESS portals and thus take care of many HR-related and job-related tasks that would otherwise need to be completed by HR personnel. When your employees have their ESS enabled, anything from making changes to their personal details to applying for leave is made easier. The introduction of ESS transforms many manual HR processes, thus resulting in more logical and efficient systems.

The benefits of cloud and self-service technology are many, however, they might pose certain risks, particularly when it comes to security. This is why experts warn businesses to have resilient security measures to properly reap the rewards of this HR tech.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have been recent additions to the HR toolkit. They are helpful in the recruiting and onboarding processes, as they aid in setting up a simulated environment to test candidates’ specific skills, sharing a virtual tour of the office, creating a personalized work-space environment, and so on. The technology is expected to enable the HR professionals and supervisors to identify key areas of improvement, understand elements of concern for accomplishing goals by scanning people’s faces through sentiment analysis. Though it is not implemented by businesses across the globe, it is envisioned to become a top trend in the years to come.

Blockchain

Blockchain technology is capable of managing HR capabilities in diverse ways. The HR industry is envisaging the growth of blockchain owing to its distinctive features like immutability, transparency, trust, security, and decentralization.

For instance, with its security capabilities, blockchain can handle sensitive employee information like their pay, healthcare, banking, performance records, and expense reimbursement. Also, the internal and external hacks of sensitive records will be prevented by blockchain as there won’t be any unauthorized persons. The blockchain ledger helps to track invoices, facilitate distribution, billing, and reporting of all kinds of transactions. Payroll processing will occur in a well-timed manner. The technology also assists in automating taxes, reimbursement systems, mitigate audit risks, and give better access to benefits and packages.

Making use of the right HR Technology

Now that the initial challenge of letting the employees get used to remote work is solved, employers have to be keen on keeping them connected and engaged. The right HR tech can help you keep your staff well, engaged and productive, which is a difficult responsibility in the current scenario. Though video conferencing software, workplace chats, and other tools are meant to connect employees and empower flexible communication, they can also add stress and inhibit deeper human interaction. A Forbes article suggests that when employees work remotely,  employers might miss the subtle cues and nonverbal communication that help gauge how employees are feeling. In situations like this, HR tech can play an important role. The article also informs us that plentiful tools are there to help business leaders gauge employee sentiment, elicit anonymous feedback, and engage them in honest conversations. In short, HR tech can help you in identifying the challenges faced by your employees and acting on their concerns.

Several studies have demonstrated that many remote workers are just as productive without being micromanaged. It is the technology that has made it possible for remote workers, and research testifies that remote work increases productivity and improves employees' work/life balance. To a greater extent, technology has been able to unite employees under a common culture no matter where they work from. Although these are tough times, we have realized that embracing the true power of HR technology can benefit businesses in numerous ways. Nonetheless, employers are reminded by HR experts to watch out for tech burnout. SHRM urges employers to figure out ways to use data analytics to create a more humane experience for their employees.

Final Thoughts

HR technology is helping the industries to sustain amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis. Implementing the above-listed HR technology in addition to an emphasis on the people/ human aspect will help businesses thrive in these difficult times.  

OnBlick’s HR business partners will bestow your new talent a seamless virtual onboarding experience through OnBlick’s HR platform. We assure you guidance and support throughout the phases of document collection, completion of electronic Form I-9s for all your remote employees, managing your global workforce documentation, and keeping up with regulatory reformations. Try OnBlick today and experience HR tech that also ensures compliance.

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