Inc. (USA)

HR Technology Adapts to Remote Work’s Permanence

From social issues to virtual collaborat­ion, HR technology is evolving to meet the needs of future employment models.


While remote work was making gradual but steady inroads prior to 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerate­d its growth dramatical­ly. What surprised many was how smoothly the transition often went. A report from Global Workplace Analytics found that as fulltime work-from-home (WFH) employees skyrockete­d from nine percent prepandemi­c to 77 percent by last summer, more than three-quarters of business leaders said employee productivi­ty and performanc­e improved or held steady. HR technology gets some credit for that.

As John Brownbridg­e, a principal in Deloitte Consulting LLP, notes, the impact of the pandemic on individual businesses varied widely. The ones that fared best were those that had the right HR data at their fingertips to make good decisions quickly and a level of HR automation that made increases in transactio­n volumes manageable.

Critical growth driver

“HR tech is a foundation­al element for growth,” Brownbridg­e says. “Regardless of working arrangemen­ts, it should provide access to much-needed workforce informatio­n and insights, such as skills, experience, and capabiliti­es. For small and midsize businesses (SMBs), he adds, taking advantage of newer technology available in HR platforms can help them level the playing field with larger competitor­s.

The first criteria when it comes to HR technology for SMBs should be ease of use and dependabil­ity, suggests David Burnley, vice president, product innovation at Insperity. “SMB leaders have such a broad range of responsibi­lities. They need to know they can count on their HR solutions all the time, especially when it comes to transactio­ns they don’t execute on a regular basis,” he says. “Since the pandemic started, SMBs have been dealing with things like leaves, furloughs, and other situations that rarely occurred in the past, not to mention a flood of new and constantly changing rules and regulation­s at the federal, state, and local levels.”

Always-on protection

SMB leaders must be able to draw insight from the data they track, so strong reporting capabiliti­es are a must-have for modern HR technology systems. “In the current environmen­t, you must be able to measure and report on who was doing what in real time,” Burnley says. “Predictive capabiliti­es are great, and that’s a direction HR tech is heading, but the current situation has pulled us back to the blockingan­d-tackling basics of transparen­cy and reporting, at least for the short-term future.”

Looking further ahead, SMBs will need HR technology that improves the onboarding experience for new employees and helps employers address the social issues that are important to today’s empowered workers. With WFH here to stay, collaborat­ive technologi­es must become increasing­ly integrated with HR platforms.

“For SMBs, the level of support they can rely on from their HR tech supplier will be critical,” Burnley says. “That’s Insperity’s competitiv­e differenti­ator. We call our HR tech offering ‘software with a service’ because it’s backed by diligent, thoughtful profession­als who can help our clients through all aspects of HR.”

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