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Technology Placing New Demands on HR, and Helping it Fulfil Them

Innovative technology and the digitalization that it underpins is upending companies large and small; HR teams' roles are changing as a result, and technology is also helping them respond

Just like their counterparts across a company’s corporate functions, HR teams are using data and technology more and more in all aspects of their day jobs to make decisions and help line managers make ones about their part of the business. And as hiring, retaining, and developing the right people becomes such an important determinant of a company’s success, HR functions are taking on more and more of a fundamental role.

A new survey highlights how these two trends are linked together, especially at smaller companies: “According to the inaugural Paychex Pulse of HR Survey, more than two-thirds of HR leaders at small and mid-sized companies say they have grown beyond serving a traditional administrative function to taking on a more strategic role within their respective organizations. And technology is helping to drive that shift. A growing number of HR leaders (41%) are meeting with their CEO or CFO — or both — on a weekly basis, according to the survey, while close to one-third have access to top management when they need it.”

I, Human

While undoubtedly good news for many HR managers, these findings should not be surprising. Technology is the cause of a lot of the innovation and disruption in today’s companies, which gives HR an important role to play in keeping the workforce engaged while all this change goes on. And, as digital skills become ever more important, HR teams’ hiring and development skills are in high demand too.

However, as technology plays a bigger and bigger role, it’s important that HR doesn’t forget its human side – the “caring” and “creative” roles are the ones that will be most needed in a technology-dominated workplace. While the growth of HR’s influence is partly thanks to technology taking over the mundane tasks that used to occupy a lot of time, its future also depends heavily on building and maintaining relationships throughout the company.

This holds true for HR’s own digital transformation as well. As the function becomes more technological and takes on more responsibilities for filling digital roles and managing cybersecurity, a strong partnership between HR and IT becomes essential. Meanwhile, in the emerging field of talent analytics, research shows that building relationships both within HR and across the organization is the best way for HR to improve the quality and credibility of the data it collects, which is vital to producing insights that actually support good decision making.

 

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