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by Ray Seaver
CEO | zizzl

HR is the heart beat of the organization. It pumps life into every aspect of the enterprise by recruiting, hiring, onboarding, compensating, coaching, evaluating, and developing its people. And that’s all before lunch! With an overwhelming volume of responsibilities, expanding the use of technology is a great strategy to keep the human touch in HR. Allow me to explain.

HR leaders are understandably skeptical about exaggerated HR technology claims made by overly-persistent sales people. Not only will it not “do the dishes”, it won’t have that tough conversation with an employee on a performance plan, detect the intangibles that make a candidate the right fit, or champion the effort to develop the next generation of leadership. These require a human touch.

Intuitively we all know that technology can lighten our loads and give us more time to focus on activities that need a human touch. Technology will, for example, accurately capture time and generate pay, help managers and their employees manage schedules, efficiently facilitate performance reviews and eliminate the paperwork in onboarding and benefits enrollment. These are all activities where the human touch adds little to no value.
So, what holds HR leaders back from expanding their use of technology? The three most common reasons we hear are:

1. “I don’t have time”: Launching new technology requires some additional time upfront to provide requirements to the vendor, confirm accuracy of data, test workflows, and approve the final configuration.

2. “It’s too expensive”: HR teams are lean to begin with and getting leaner. Technology will make teams more efficient, but rarely will it make them smaller. The ROI justification gets more challenging without hard dollar labor savings.

3. “We like to provide more of a human touch”: This is a sincere desire to stay connected to the people. And manual processes like onboarding and benefits enrollment appear to be a logical way to continue the connection.

Here’s the good news. Deploying new technology can be done overtime and in stages. It doesn’t have to be an all-consuming, everything at once process. You can control the pace and the time it takes. In the process, hard dollar savings that more than pay for the technology are normally discovered. This is usually the by-product of confirming data, calculations, rates, and business rules that haven’t been recently audited or confirmed.

The human touch is essential in interviewing, coaching, evaluating, and training the next generation of leadership. But it requires commitment and time. As companies demand more and more from HR, expanding the use of technology is a great strategy to “trade up” and give HR leaders that time.

Let us know what you think.

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