Driving the adoption of HR Technology

What is driving the Adoption of HR Technology?

HR Technology is now a hot marketplace. $5.5 billion have been invested in HR startups since 2014 through VC investments. This shift in investment towards new HR and workplace tools signals a growing trust in the benefits of having a digitally driven HR process in the organization. What are the main drivers of HR Technology adoption? Let’s examine.

A massive wave of innovation is sweeping the HR industry. Many organizations are adopting cloud-based technologies and building digital infrastructure for HR. Results of Sierra-Cedar research reflects that 45 % of large organizations and 51 percent of mid-sized companies are going to increase their HR Technology budget. It’s an exciting time for HR Technology. But what is driving this excitement?

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Cognitive Computing in HR: The Evolution

Cognitive Computing in HR: The Evolution

Anyone with a flair for technology must have heard about the seemingly miraculous feats that have been accomplished by IBM’s Watson; a question answering super computer system, which relies on the power of artificial intelligence and deep learning algorithms to replicate a high-functioning human’s ability to answer questions and with a greater accuracy.

Watson has found its applications, possibly in every imaginable way, right from predicting a future health emergency for patients to creating recipes for any taste to guiding people around a resort like a concierge, to fighting cybercriminals. IBM Watson is just an example of what cognitive computing is capable of.  But what does this technology entail for HR?

What is Cognitive Computing?

Cognitive computing refers to the usage of computer algorithms to imitate human cognitive capabilities and find quick solutions to complex problems. Some of the technologies used in cognitive computing include neural networks, robotics, expert system and virtual reality. Computer systems with cognitive capabilities can synthesize data from various information sources while considering the context and evidences to come up with the best possible answers to any problem. At the center of a cognitive system is a huge database and powerful processor that can access information at ultra-fast speeds. Cognitive computing is a combination of analytics, data and a powerful infrastructure. The technology ultimately uses AI and machine learning to understand, learn and grow. IBM Watson is the most popular example of cognitive computing in action.

There are mainly three areas where cognitive computing is affecting HR:

This article is a brief and simplified analysis of the IBM report titled, “ How cognitive computing is transforming HR and the employee experience”. 

Cognitive Computing in HR: Ongoing evolution

Applications of cognitive computing are pretty much endless. HR, which is now looking towards technology with an unusual fondness and expectations as compared to, say, five years ago is also hopeful about the possibilities and impact cognitive computing can create in the future. IBM’s research shows that 66% of CEOs believe cognitive computing can drive significant value in HR while 50% of HR professionals acknowledge the power of cognitive computing to drive transformation in HR.  The goal of cognitive computing is not to replace the HR, but to expand the HR’s capabilities by processing the truckloads of data available, that humans would possibly take months to process and retain, and provide a potential solution.  Therefore, cognitive technology is one of the key HR trends in 2018.

(Also Read: Need for HR Digitization)

cognitive systems

cognitive systems


Here are the three areas in which cognitive computing are evolving HR:

  • Talent acquisition using cognitive solutions

The IBM research reveals around 46 percent HR professionals maintain that cognitive computing will positively impact talent acquisition and onboarding. This particular area of HR functions requires a lot of optimization in terms of operational efficiency and cognitive technologies will help achieve just that. With the current crop of recruiters juggling multiple responsibilities from creating job descriptions to posting them on different platforms through their choice of ATS and completing the acquisition.

With the aid of cognitive technology one takes on the approach of a marketing strategist where the recruiting efforts are optimized with better talent targeting and time utilization. Armed with analysis of millions of profiles the cognitive systems will help recruiters identify the right talent much more rapidly and with greater accuracy. From speculative hiring, the recruiter turns to predictive hiring.     Plus, you can also improve the onboarding process as IBM did when it launched in 2016, CHIP a cognitive onboarding assistant that is a one stop source of knowledge for every new hire.

Also Read: Chatbots In Recruitment: How Do They Help?

  • Talent development through cognitive technologies

In addition to talent acquisition, talent development is another area where cognitive technologies can provide an enhanced experience. 48 percent HR believe that digital skill gap is one of the major challenges while 40 percent believe cognitive computing can help address this challenge effectively. A personalized learning path where content is tailored to employee needs and continuous feedback through continues social analytics are just two of the benefits of a cognitive-enabled talent development program.

In a global organization where career conversations are relegated to once in a year performance review discussion, cognitive tools can provide the managers with great insights right at their desk which can help them have an ongoing dialogue with the subordinates to help them grow better.

  •  Optimizing HR operations through cognitive solutions

HR policies change often and so does the workflow related to those policies.  The research shows that 39 percent of CHROs believe cognitive solutions can help overcome the complexities of HR operations, especially when there is a sudden process change.  For instance, if new benefits are introduced then HR would use the official email as a channel to communicate this change. However, in most organizations HR emails are often overlooked due to lack of engagement or time constraints.

When an employee needs to know such a change his only option remains to locate the information on company’s HRMS or ask his manager about the same. These different channels may be inconsistent with each other and instead of helping might end up confusing the employee. On the other hand, a cognitive solution will use natural language processing to understand the employee query and tap into every available resource through intelligent algorithms to come up with an answer to even the most trivial or novel queries.  Reduced runtimes of HR operations and payroll management is a huge benefit of cognitive capabilities.

While this is a high-level impact analysis of cognitive capabilities and their applications in HR, we will later see how an HR department can take its first step towards utilizing these solutions to their benefit.


How to Convince Your Management to Invest in HR Technology?

How to Convince Your Management to Invest in HR Technology?

HR circles are abuzz with the benefits and performance of cloud based HR software system. But merely talking about the latest HR tech will not do your organization any benefit. Until the management decides to invest capital in HR tech software and processes, all the conversation about HR tech is just paying lip service. However, it’s not easy to convince the CHROs, the CFOs and the CEOs to set aside dedicated financial resources for HR Tech. Read on to know how you can make a business case for the same.

Every time the financial leaders of the company decide about budget allocation, the HR department is hard pressed to make a compelling case for its demands. Most of the organizations are still embedded with legacy, premise based solutions for HCM and while benefits of replacing this system are pretty clear, the return on investment is not as well defined and can dissuade the CFO from giving a go ahead to any significant investment in new HR technology tools and solutions. The onus is now on you to provide relevant data and context so as to make a convincing business case for HR tech investment.

Here are some tips for building a business case for HR Technology:

Show HR Tech benefits to convince your boss

To create a buy-in among the executives who will sign on the purchase orders, you need to prove that the new solution will benefit the company as a whole. Everyone knows the key advantages of advanced HR software, but how those benefits will translate into overall business success needs to be presented in clear and data-backed visual format. This will only happen after you do due diligence, spend days performing comprehensive market research and vendor comparisons. Once you have the required data to support your claims, you can clearly show the improvement it brings in terms of quality, quantity, productivity and transparency in every HR process. From thereon, the task is to connect the dots for the decision makers to show the fulfillment of a common or multiple business objectives.

An example could be how using advanced analytics solutions can help increase the employee retention rates and improve efficiency. Now CEOs are always concerned about the availability of high skilled talent. If you are able to alleviate this concern through your solution, at least you will have one of the top leaders on your side.

(Also Read: The Importance of HR Analytics in an Organization)

In addition to the CEO; CFO, CTO and CHRO are perhaps the only other people on the panel who have an overarching view of the entire organization’s performance and vision. Your proposal should be able to create a common ground for all the executives where each has a clear idea of how the new solution will help accomplishing the shared business goals. (Also Read: Need for HR Digitization)

Justify HR Technology costs with ROI to convince management

CFOs are more concerned with the ROI aspect of the investment than anything else. Ideally, you should be able to explain how the technology will be able to recover its costs in due course of time.

To come up with the ROI, you will have to evaluate the following three aspects:

Justify HR Technology costs with ROI to convince management

Calculating ROI of an HR Tech investment is a combination of the direct and indirect savings caused by the solution.  The direct or quantifiable part of it relates to minimization of payroll errors, precise attendance record maintenance and reduction in time to process different operations. It is easy to put a monetary value against time as you can measure the number of hours saved in doing a task with the automation tools. The resources thus freed can be reallocated to spend more time on other areas of HR.

Indirect savings or unquantifiable ROI refers to other key attributes of the solution that empower the recruiter with the ability to identify best hiring sources and key performers of the organization. Greater employee retention if made possible through identifiable patterns in employee data analysis is also a saving which can increase bottom-line in the long run.

(Also Read: HR activities to improve employee engagement)

Show case studies to make a business case for HR Technology

When leaders are skeptical about your proposal, it is wise to come up with some case studies that provide credibility to the assertions you make. The HR solution providers might have something to show off which can come handy or make a case study of your own by studying the competition and proving how they are doing better than you.  Case studies, if done right, are exceptionally powerful at expounding the product and its benefits and how it has solved problems in the past. They will help provide a value to your proposal.

(Also Read: Creating a Positive Candidate Experience with HR Technology)