Traditionally, human resources (HR) is seen as the very epitome of an organisation’s ‘back office’, in managing hiring, payroll, workforce administration, and so on. But there is the opportunity for HR to take a far more proactive and strategic role in the organisation, and that can be achieved by leveraging the capabilities of the cloud.
Indeed, cloud-based HR solutions are one of the hottest areas of investment in technology at the moment, with CB Insights Research showing that there was more than $2 billion in investment capital into cloud-based HR solutions in 2015. Interest in these platforms extends to new tools for recruitment, performance management, learning, wellness, feedback and employee engagement. The underlying reason for such interest is simple: people are working differently to how they ever did before, and there is growing consensus among businesses that HR needs to adjust in line.
It is almost becoming standard for organisations to use cloud-based software to improve the recruitment process. 75% of recruiters and talent managers already use some form of applicant tracking software, and 94% believe it has improved their hiring process. In the era of social media, there is a wealth of data out there with which to find – and recruit – the best talent.
Meanwhile, employee performance tracking and motivation is easier to manage through cloud platforms, which provide an instant, and continuously updated profile of the organisation. HR professionals often struggle to keep a finger on the pulse of an organisation outside of quarterly or annual reports, but cloud-based platforms can provide instant updates, allowing the HR team to understand shifts in demographics or identify areas of concern in real time.
For employees, the benefit here is that the digital environment is helping to enable engagement. Providing employees with video learning tools through the HR solution, for example, that allows employees to share content and recommend videos to one another, can generate many times as many views, leading to a more aware and skilled workforce. Other organisations provide gamification elements through the cloud-based HR solution, giving employees access to ‘points’ or rewards based on performance.
Increasingly organisations are seeing their online HR investments as platforms that are the heartbeat of the organisation; these platforms are accessible by staff – both HR and employees – from anywhere and at any time, which opens them up to a range of uses. From providing feedback to allowing for training at the employees’ own pace, there is an increasing demand for a business’ HR organisation to act like a hub through which information flows freely, where previously the HR team would be tightly controlling the flow of information downwards.
There is undoubtedly some change management involved in ‘opening up’ HR to everyone within an organisation, but it is a journey worth taking. Research by CEB Global, for instance, indicates 66% of change success factors relate to talent, yet most organisations focus on process improvements to drive change. A talent-centric approach, which involves using the entire organisational workforce to plan and implement change using diverse skills, experiences and knowledge, has been shown to co-produce change.
Ultimately, talent management is fundamental to the business environment and HR, therefore, plays an increasingly critical role, which means the investment in and leveraging of cloud-based solutions will go a long way in producing a more vibrant and engaged workforce. This, in turn, means the HR group is doing a better job in meeting business KPIs.
About the author
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.