Increasingly, HR is taking charge of productivity, staff training, compliance with high-tech, personalized skills.
Change seems to be the only constant in today’s business landscape. However, a new Paychex survey suggests that HR professionals are taking the lead on managing change and targeting key areas for focus in the coming months. The vast majority (90%) feel that they have a voice in company strategy and decisions (a 10% increase over last year); and they are increasingly relying on technology to support their efforts.
According to survey results, the top five HR objectives for 2019 are:
· Evaluating workplace productivity and efficiency (86%)
· Having staff training and development programs (83%)
· Facilitating training for discrimination and harassment (82%)
· Focusing on company culture to drive results (80%)
· Assessing employee performance more than once a year (80%)
HR leaders increasingly see their role as more strategic than administrative. When asked what best describes their role in their organization, 22% said they are results-oriented, implementing programs that attract great job candidates and retain the best employees. Elsewhere, 20% said their key focus is on process, identifying and promoting improvements that make work easier for employees; and 20% said they are mostly compliance-focused, spending significant time researching the right way to handle employee issues to protect the business.
While only 17% of respondents self-identify as strategic partners, just 11% and 10% respectively say they most fill traditional roles of paper pushers or data crunchers. Nonetheless, survey results show that HR leaders still have organizational and administrative duties. They report spending more than two hours per month on:
· Responding to phone calls/emails related to administrative tasks (17%)
· Rekeying data into multiple HR systems (13%)
· Keeping up with latest federal, state, and local regulations (11%)
· Tracking down employees’ time worked (10%)
· Merging data from separate HR systems (10%)
Not surprisingly, technology is driving HR success. Nearly all (87%) of respondents said that technology has strengthened their contribution to corporate success, up 12% from last year. More than three-quarters of HR leaders (81%) say that their company’s tech investments will give them an edge in hiring and help them increase productivity. Among other tech-related survey results:
· 85% say that technology use improves the overall employee experience.
· 83% say that tech tools allow them to be more strategic in their role.
· 80% say technology enables employees to be more efficient and productive.
Survey respondents say that they are most likely to use application software for record-keeping (64%), time and attendance (57%), and performance management (56%). They also say they use technology for onboarding (49%) and travel/expense reimbursement (52%).
HR leaders increasingly embrace new and innovative technology and tools to give them a competitive edge. For instance, they say that they are finding success with:
· Recruiting technology to reach high-quality candidates (72%)
· Workplace collaboration tools such as Slack, Chatter, and Jive (69%)
· Voice recognition (58%)
· Virtual reality interfaces (57%)
· Chatbots (54%)
At the same time, more HR professionals say they are using analytics to make more informed decisions (90%), defend their decisions to senior management (89%), understand how to communicate with employees (89%), track employee benefits/time off/training (88%), and benchmark data against other organizations (84%).
Survey results make it clear that technology and strategic planning are key to staying ahead of the competition in a tight employment market and addressing change proactively.