Top 6 technology skills HR professionals need now
The future of work is here! In this article, we’re looking at the 6 crucial technology skills HR professionals need right now, if they want to remain relevant and help their organisation grow.
The future of work is here: before the pandemic, remote working was an elite perk enjoyed by the privileged few. Today, it’s gone mainstream with 7 out of 10 companies operating a hybrid model.
With the HR process going hybrid too, contemporary HR professionals must be able to act as remote team operators and advisors. It’s a steep learning curve that requires HR professionals to make use of specific enabling technologies and cloud-based HR systems to be effective in today’s environment.
1. Data engineering
Big data was important before the pandemic in enabling HR to eliminate so-called ‘guesswork’ from the HR process and introduce data-driven HR decision-making. The move to remote working has only deepened the need for data mastery and HR professionals are supporting this move away from micromanagement by implementing results-based remote performance management. This is where remote staff performance is predominantly assessed against statistical performance targets or material deliverables. Therefore, the ability to use enabling technologies to monitor and report on performance data on an individual and aggregated level is a crucial skill for HR professionals today.
2. Collaborative technologies
Hybrid teams are becoming increasingly geographically dispersed and are ever more dependent on digital technologies for collaboration. Phone and email still have a role to play in the new world but are nowhere near as effective as social technologies when collaborating on a one-to-many and many-to-many basis. To collaborate effectively within hybrid organisations and join the corporate conversation HR professionals must have mastery of collaborative technologies, such as:
- Video conferencing technology, (the most well-known of which are arguably Zoom and MS Teams)
- Real-time, Facebook-style project-based discussion forums, (Slack is one such tool). These are proving the most effective way to manage multiple, concurrent projects in a hybrid teamwork environment.
- Internal wiki software, which is your own private Wikipedia, and allows teams to author, moderate and share knowledge between teams.
3. Workflow automation tools
Workflow automation tools allow HR professionals to do more with less effort. While they were once a nice-to-have, automation tech is now HR best practice and a necessity in many areas of business. HR professionals must be adept at identifying inefficient workflows and menial tasks that can be automated for efficiency gains and implementing automation software where appropriate.
HR tasks which are ripe for automation include candidate shortlisting, interview scheduling, candidate communications, appraisal meeting scheduling, chasing forms for completion, candidate shortlisting and staff engagement surveys.
In truth, this is just scratching the surface: a modern HR professional with an eye for opportunity and a grasp of automating technology should be able to build a streamlined HR department built on efficient automation with HR team members free to focus on more engaging and value-adding work.
4. Gamification technologies
Gamification technology has created a new and exciting way to motivate staff. It does this by allowing people managers and HR to gamify specific working processes, turning them into mini contests that galvanise team members toward the desired aim. If you want to encourage specific behaviours in your company, for example, collaborative activity like sharing tips and tricks, you could set up contests using a tool like centrical.com. In this game, employees earn special points for sharing tips and colleagues can view and upvote contributions, with those who contribute more content, earning more points. Employees gain public kudos for their ingenuity (top contributor status), which is motivating, and they can spend points earned on rewards, usually branded gift cards, e.g. Uber, Starbucks, Best Buy etc… It doesn’t stop there, gamification can be used to encourage lots of useful but hard-to-embed behaviours such as self-directed learning, cold-calling etc.
5. Wearable technology
Fitbits and smartwatches have a huge role to play in the health and well-being of your staff, and HR professionals need to be acutely aware of the capabilities in this area. By equipping your staff with very affordable and software-compatible wearable health tech, you can establish health-based targets. For example, you can set up group exercise challenges, such as completing a certain number of steps or miles in a month. JLL make use of the moodbeam wristband which allows remote workers to report their emotional state and HR professionals monitor this via a dashboard. It’s just the tip of the iceberg and HR professionals need to be ahead of the game.
6. Social media
Finally, there’s social media. It’s not going away. It’s constantly evolving, and socially stratifying and new players are emerging all the time. Social media has now evolved into perhaps the most crucial channel through which firms are communicating their employer brand message and engaging in powerful front-of-mind marketing with their target market. HR professionals who can leverage social media to their advantage will have an edge in talent attraction.
The emerging technologies we have discussed here were always going to have a big part to play in the HR process going forwards, however, the disruption of the past two years has accelerated the need for mainstream adoption. These so-called skills of the future have very much become the essential skills of today for the HR professional.