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The global health crisis abruptly stopped several businesses across industries in 2020. Offices lay empty for months as the lockdown prevailed, while safety of employees was given due importance. Some workplaces eventually stumbled back to activity, while many still continue to work remotely.
Human Resource (HR) teams soon realised that "work-from-home" is not a one-size-fits-all solution for businesses to continue. Not everyone has a job that can be done remotely and even among those who can get work done from home, the infrastructure to enable remote working may not be available. So, a lot of employers upgraded their infrastructure over the year and stabilised the remote working ecosystem with the help of technology.
If not done already, here's how HR leads can ease the back-to-work experience for employees.
Technology for HR processes
Technological expertise has always been one of the desired skillsets for HR leads but has become a necessity in present times. IT specialists within the HR department need to bring more and more HR processes under the IT fold now. This includes activities like reporting, data security, employee record maintenance, recruitment and onboarding, learning and development, etc. HR leads are using cloud technologies extensively to manage these processes remotely. The requirement of digital tools in HR is set for growth, with specialisation in such tools and technologies added to it. For instance, to remotely onboard an employee, HR leads need to raise an electronic order to the IT team to dispatch necessary IT equipment to the new joinee’s address. Being able to carry this all out online, remotely is where technology plays an essential role.
Managing employee workflow
Apart from managing HR processes remotely, the HR leads can also improve employee workflow management and productivity with the effective use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies. AI has come in handy in many HR processes, and this includes workflow management. AI tools are used to automate the workforce, ensure corporate compliance, and analyse the success or failure of projects. These tools empower HR leads to analyse, predict and diagnose more effectively, and improve the productivity of the workforce.
Using data analytics
Data analytics, or often 'people analytics' in the case of HR, is an important tool in ensuring productivity while giving due importance to morale and safety. HR has access to a large volume of data that they collect, which undergoes data consolidation and visualisation. With HR data analytics, the data is collected and transformed into actionable insights. These insights form the basis of improvement on how organisations make decisions and conduct business. Analytics and results can be used to improve employee performance, employee engagement and better workforce development. The incentives and compensation programmes can be improved and consequently the company’s retention records as well. The effects of useful analytics are also evident in the workplace culture.
Use of technology for employee safety
With technology, HR teams are better equipped to monitor the workload of their employees and derive data-driven work-life balance solutions. Workload balance and work schedules can be managed with the help of such technology-enabled insights. For instance, the safety of employees, monitoring COVID intensity in employee locations, pandemic-related training, and safety guidelines can all be managed with more accuracy through technology. Working in a closed environment can also take a toll on the mental health of employees, and lead to fatigue, demotivation, and isolation. Enhanced collaboration, engagement, and responsiveness can be ensured by HR leads through tech tools to boost employee morale and mental health.
Learning and development remotely
Reskilling and upskilling employees is an important part of HR activities. In a remote environment, webinars and group meetings are being used to meet these needs. Most webinar tools come with document and image sharing features as well as video recording options. Besides, chat rooms, polls, and collaboration forums are effective tools to provide and exchange knowledge. On the other hand, with data insights, HR can also identify the training needs of their employees with performance and workflow analysis reports. The need for upskilling employees in digital fields is even more relevant as many companies are choosing digital adoption as a response to COVID-19.
Optimizing the use of communication platforms
Technological advancement enables HR personnel to facilitate more transparent and engaging communication with employees. A welcome video by the company's CEO, for example, can be an ideal first mail in a new recruit’s inbox. With remote working likely to become the new normal rather than an exception, HR can ensure that communication technology is fully maximised. Apart from webinars, videos, and podcasts featuring the top management, regular activities like team huddles or employee mental health workshops can be conducted to foster a more positive environment and improve efficiency and output.
Through the optimum use of technology, HR leads in India can fulfil all of their responsibilities in these changing times. With digital tools at their disposal, they can make use of advanced technology like AI and data analytics to address workforce recruitment, management, and retention goals.
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