According to Gartner, only 9% of HR functions are highly efficient and highly aligned with organisational needs. As more and more work moves into the remote sphere, businesses need cloud-based HR structures and systems that can scale with them.
But timing is everything. Too much too fast, and companies struggle to see a return on investment. Too slow, and teams grow frustrated with a seemingly endless digital transformation project.
The pandemic pushed us into the virtual sphere at breakneck speed. And if we’re being honest, it did break a few businesses on the way. But it’s not a lockdown anymore. We can take a step back, evaluate, and move intelligently into the digital future.
We can approach digital HR solutions sustainably – with minimal disruption and maximum return on investment.
Modern HR platforms are designed to grow with your business. If you introduce a basic version early, you’ll already be familiar with using an HR platform when you need to scale it up.
Instead of rushing to fill gaps in your HR capabilities when things get busy, you can steadily increase automation and digital transformation. You skirt the disruption that comes with implementing new technology. And you get the luxury of time – more room to think strategically.
A process set-up at the beginning is much harder to dismantle further down the line. Digital HR lets you get those processes right the first time, ironing out inefficiencies before they appear.
Instead of being bogged down with repetitive tasks, your people get stimulating work – and more time to think about enhancing company culture, engaging employees, and attracting recruits.
The earlier you introduce a digital HR solution, the easier it will be to scale. Starting small with a few simple software implementations gives your people time to acclimatise to digital HR. If you’re struggling and don’t know where to start, there are supports like the Digitalisation Voucher from Enterprise Ireland.
These grants aim to facilitate strategic intervention for companies to work with third-party consultants to assess their digital maturity and highlight where there’s room for improvement. The output of this engagement is a strategic digital roadmap for your business.
A digital HR solution doesn’t automatically mean an enterprise-level platform with a library of functionality. It can be a software package that allows you to automate workflows like booking annual leave, recruitment communications, and basic onboarding tasks.
Start by automating the jobs that make your teams less productive. Things like searching for distributed information that could be in one centralised, secure database. Or booking holidays using manual approvals, when you could have an automated system to record and approve leave.
Research suggests that 78% of candidates drop out of overly long or complex recruitment processes. But digital HR platforms expedite the recruitment process immediately – with an integrated ATS, automated candidate messages, and simple calendar integrations for booking interviews.
The benefits aren’t just time and resource savings but also increased autonomy – something Harvard Business Review says modern employees are actively seeking. If you empower employees with a personal app, they can take control of recording their time. They can independently identify where they’re spending a lot of time, whether it’s too much time and correct. Employees get to manage their time instead of letting it manage them.
Introduce digital HR as early as possible and automate the really simple things first. Focus on what you can do to make the business more productive and your people more satisfied with their jobs.
Just as AI tools like ChatGPT can give people more room to think – by helping with structuring, consolidating, and presenting information – systemising gives teams more room to strategise and focus on creating impact for employees.
Digital HR removes the clunky workflows and inefficient structures that hold people back and gives them time to think and take action.
Buying a complicated enterprise HR solution in the early days is like buying a 20-bedroom house as a sole occupant. You pay for a library of functionality you don’t use – which means it’s harder to return your initial investment. Remember: automate the basics first.
Ideally, you want to work with a platform with at least three years’ scope. Choose a system that can solve the immediate issues in your business and has the potential to solve the ones you foresee in six months.
Modern HR platforms are responsive to their users – don’t think you can’t have your say on what you need from a platform.
In three years, just as your business will have evolved, your HR platform will have evolved too. Pick something with the potential to scale, and you won’t need to go through the rigmarole of integrating new software.
There’s more to digital HR than automation. Analytics and insights can help you protect and uplift your people. You might spot an employee putting in extra hours by keeping an eye on the trends, opening the door for critical conversations: Are they having trouble with their job? Are they unresourced? Do they need help? Do they need more training?
However, it takes time before analytics can add real value to your business. You need volume and time to spot patterns and trends. If you have a particularly small team, there aren’t enough data points to draw valuable conclusions.
Start with automation and progress to analytics. As the company grows, activity increases, and people join the team, you can do more with analytics. Bide your time.
Digital transformation in HR goes wrong when people try to do too much too fast, so focus on a single challenge and start there.
When it comes to HR solutions, look for something that will scale with you (but won’t overwhelm your team). Remember– a 20-bedroom house requires a whole lot of care.
HRLocker is a cloud-based HR software solution that manages the entire employee lifecycle. HRLocker’s SaaS solution makes the management of office-based, remote, and distributed workforces possible.
Crystel Robbins Rynne, Chief Operating Officer
Crystel has worked with HRLocker since its inception. As COO, she is responsible for maintaining and driving operational results within the company. She is part of the executive management team and is also an Employee Experience advocate and host of the popular HRLocker Podcast.