The Covid Pandemic has fast-tracked the digitalization of workforces all over the world. Post pandemic, we will see a return to the workplace, but we should expect fundamental differences to persist into the future.
What will this “new talent economy” look like and what is the impact on HR operations, specifically recruitment and employee engagement?
The New Workplace Outlook
Operating under pandemic conditions has proven to management that they can work effectively with dispersed teams. Going forward we expect to experience;
Increasingly dispersed workforces as remote teams become the new normal. It’s no longer a requirement that employees reside within a commutable distance to the office. This opens up recruitment to potentially anywhere in the world. The employees of the future may never actually meet each other, or management, face to face.
Having to manage gig workers alongside permanent staff, as jobs shift to be more “on-demand”. We have already seen this shift in certain industries, for example, restaurants that used to deliver their take-outs that now work through delivery apps. They are making use of workers who get paid per project or “gig” that they complete. This will become common across more industries as employees demand more flexible schedules that allow them to choose their hours and location.
Dealing with a tech-savvy workforce, who are looking for a more virtual corporate experience. As digital natives begin to make up more of the workforce, the pressure to provide a fully digital employee experience to retain them will increase.
Challenges Facing SMEs
While many aspects of the “new normal” can be considered positive, it introduces challenges for SMEs. Businesses, and HR specifically, must now find ways to cope with;
Poor workforce visibility that arises from employees no longer being physically situated with management. How can their attendance and performance be assured?
Insurmountable admin work that arises from traditional, paper-based administrative systems that are impractical in the context of a remote workforce.
Increasing compliance risks as legislation changes to address the increased digital flow of information.
Poor employee experience due to non-digitized systems that fail to cater to their new environment and situations.
What is the Future Role of HR?
We are all aware of the high rates of redundancy caused by the pandemic. For many employees, this is still a major concern, and it’s a two-pronged attack. With several industries still under pressure to remain profitable, they will continue to cut staff. At the same time, the digitization that is occurring is making some traditional roles redundant.
The World Economic Forum’s Future of Work 2020 study recently revealed the top ten potentially redundant job roles. And the role of the HR Specialist is one of them! A 2019 KPMG 2019 HR survey supports this by highlighting that 60% of HR leaders did not have any digital plan in place for 2019. This is in sharp contrast to the 3rd Industrial Revolution, which saw HR technologies such as payroll and employee management among the pioneering enterprise systems.
So what must HR do to remain relevant in the 4th Industrial Revolution? Well, in the words of Rahm Emanuel, chief of staff to former US president Barack Obama, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste”. The pandemic offers astute HR specialists a chance to shake things up and take advantage of digitalization opportunities.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
One of the hottest trends currently in HR is Robotic Process Automation or RPA. RPA is an umbrella term for technologies that automate repetitive, simple tasks through computer systems that function like humans. By emulating and integrating human interactions within digital systems, they can execute business processes, tirelessly, accurately, and quickly.
Research by consulting firm, West Monroe found that 59% of HR Managers spend half their day or more carrying out admin tasks that can be automated. Cloud-based HR management systems like Justlogin, take advantage of RPA. They can help to overcome the excessive administration introduced by disbursed workforces with solutions like remote clock-in. They can even assist with the increased compliance requirements in the workplace such as monitoring temperatures and masks, with contactless systems that offer comfort to employees.
Plus, their reach is not restricted to the HR management system. They will commonly offer application programming interfaces (APIs) to related systems like accounting and payment systems, further automating previously manual processes.
Digitizing the Recruitment Process
A prime example of the use of RPA is its application to the recruitment process. The process traditionally includes significant operational and non-value-adding manual tasks. These include scheduling interviews, collating applications, manually seeking approvals and chasing up paper documents for onboarding.
Where these tasks are digitized, by systems like RecruiterPal (which even integrates to JustLogin), HR is freed from data entry and can focus on the value-adding components such as candidate engagement and evaluation, and interpreting data analytics and insights.
Taking Advantage of the Temporary Talent Surplus
The pandemic’s other significant opportunity is the surplus of talent released into the market by pandemic-related retrenchments. This will only be temporary as we know good talent doesn’t remain unemployed. And with the uptake of dispersed workforces, employees now have a worldwide market for their talents.
In conclusion, the Covid pandemic offers HR specialists the opportunity to leverage their role in the 4th Industrial revolution. This is the time to shed non-value-adding manual and repetitive tasks with the aid of technology. Additionally, an opportunity exists to apply digitization to recruitment processes in particular and to take advantage of the temporary glut of talent in the market.
Get started on cloud-based HR with JustLogin
JustLogin is a suite of cloud-based HR applications that helps small to mid-sized businesses automate their payroll, leave, attendance, expense management. We’ve helped thousands of businesses achieve increased productivity and better employee experience – no matter if they are working from an office, at a restaurant, in a retail shop, at a warehouse facility, or of course, even working from home. Give JustLogin a try today at justlogin.com/free-trial.