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HR tech is redesigning organisations – are businesses well prepared to make the shift?


A big trend in HR has been the rise of a people-first approach to talent management and workplace culture. Behind this shift towards people, teams, ecosystems and skills is an enabling glue – HR technology. While more and more businesses realise the important function digital HR and cloud platforms play in cultivating and nurturing the workplace of the future, I still see many businesses grappling with the transition process and getting stuck in the shift.

Many businesses are still playing catch-up. It is not uncommon to see businesses using automated HR legacy systems with prohibitive pricing models and complex implementations. Some are even using more archaic methods, while others are already using highly disruptive HR technologies but lack the appropriate change management strategies to support this process.

Recent Deloitte research pointed out that 51 per cent of businesses have been in the process of redesigning their digital business models, with a similar percentage planning to leverage digital and mobile tools to improve their HR. However, only nine per cent of Australian businesses understand how to build a future-ready organisation. Herein lies the problem, and this is compounded by the fact that many businesses are hitting their pain-point and have no option but to implement a new system.

Doing it right from outset could save you a rip-and-replace job down the track

In today’s digitised world of work, businesses must carefully plan their investment in HR cloud solutions – as well as the process design and project management to facilitate a smooth transition. This means businesses must determine what platforms and features are most appropriate. If you’re a small to medium sized business, you’re not going to need a platform designed for an organisation with 5,000 staff. This may sound straightforward but it is a common business error.

An appropriate system will balance the functional needs of the HR department while also servicing other core business needs. It should be intuitive without being too linear or configured to a set and forget template that lacks configuration options. Ultimately, the platform needs to be agile enough to foster business growth, in addition to being user-friendly for HR teams and staff.

HR departments are increasingly looking to adopt a more flexible performance management review process that enables quarterly, and sometimes monthly check-in’s. This is a real shift away from the annual review design, and one that makes a lot of sense not just in terms of productivity and employee engagement, but also financially. Companies can attain substantial savings in both cost and time by using cloud software automation to facilitate this process, and the larger the workforce, the more significant the savings to their businesses.

Clear communication is essential from the beginning

There is inevitable change management involved in ‘opening up’ HR to everyone within an organisation.

Decision makers need to be involved in any change process and at all stages, including investment in new HR technology. With the trend towards interconnected teams rather than structural hierarchy, as well as transparent and collaborative workflows, employees need to feel confident in new systems and processes, especially if the goal is to build a healthy, robust and sustainable workforce.

With the focus also on employee experiences, HR teams should survey and consult staff to determine their requirements and get buy-in before customising their HR cloud solution – rather than consult after change management solutions have been initiated, usually with a top-down approach.

Mapping out core functions

Before implementing a digital HR solution, most credible platform providers should work closely with HR teams to ensure the platform is ‘templatised’ and configured correctly, and therefore, be a fit-for-purpose installation. When transitioning to the cloud and undergoing organisational redesign, this step is essential to assist HR teams in developing and deploying new talent practices and processes for their people.

From employee hiring and onboarding, engagement and performance management, to training and development, succession planning, compliance, reporting and workflows, these functions need to be mapped out to suit organisational mechanics. Highly specialised HR solutions also provide organisations with valuable data, which is why businesses need to ensure their platform of choice is configured to co-exist with, and inform, other types of business data, so that this information can be intelligently applied company-wide for strategic business decision making.

As HR becomes the engine room for organisations, the need to adapt and align business systems and processes is necessary. Specialised cloud-based solutions and digital HR tools are helping businesses co-create agile ways of working with their people, facilitating a more harmonious and productive workplace.

Danny Lessem is the CEO of ELMO TALENT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE, which provides innovative HR cloud technology to more than 500 organisations across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. As CEO, Danny initially transformed the company from being a digital agency, to becoming a world class e-Learning content provider. Danny has a law background and holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) qualifications.

Danny Lessem

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