In 2018 it’s safe to say things are really changing (perhaps the British understatement of the year). Those of us born pre-internet perhaps did not imagine to be living in the fully fledged digital era quite so soon.
With bots and robots and drones, the future is flying towards us (and above us) at a super-fast fibre optic rate. Technology, business models, demographics and attitudes to work are all changing, and all at the same time. As a small to small-ish business owner, it might seem like a lot to take on.
Millennials are firmly established in the workforce, and their ideas about individualism, purpose and culture are driving their decisions about where to work and what to do for a living. They desire freedom, flexibility and balance (as many of us do), and with a whole generation pushing for a new approach, work life is re-shaping before our eyes.
This new “millennial” shape of work-life demands technology to be embraced by businesses, particularly so for the role of HR, which is radically different to the HR of days gone by.
A role once considered by some as a necessary administrative headache is shifting towards a more strategic and advisory one through “people analytics”. Whilst people analytics tools may not be relevant for smaller businesses, HR software certainly is.
Understanding the value of digital tools like HR software (and using them) can help managers to make better decisions about recruitment and culture, can enhance employee experiences and give important insights into employee engagement.
All these elements position a business to succeed in the emerging digital environment and prepare them well to accommodate the best workers from the mobile, flexible millennial workforce.
Software to simplify
As we venture further into the digital era it may appear that technology, software, automation and virtual teams are adding complexity to an already busy world.
With the boundaries between employees and contractors blurry and the rights of temporary, part-time and zero hours staff yet to be fully decided by the law (more on this here), employers and managers would be forgiven for feeling as though they’re spinning plates on a high wire.
Faced with so much complexity and change, the role of HR has adapted and can even be viewed as leading the way. The advent of HR software has been huge. It organises, consolidates and modernises the numerous processes and information needed by a business (and that’s just for basic functioning and compliance).
HR software has freed up precious time for owners, managers and HR leaders to set their minds to the bigger challenges facing businesses: creating a culture that works and finding people that fit into that culture.
Whilst the changeover might seem like a bit of a faff, as businesses learn to function with a new digital system, one of the pay-offs is simplification when it comes to administration, employee data, processes and reporting.
Where does automation lead?
Although companies have been gradually automating for quite a while, recent advances in areas such as robotics and AI mean people and robots will soon be working side by side. Innovation, creativity, a well thought out set of values and a fantastic culture are not functions destined for automation and remain thoroughly human roles. All of these are in line with the millennial pursuit of a better culture, sense of purpose and work-life balance.
In the same way that not having to work in factories anymore freed us up to pursue more creative work, HR software has disrupted the role of HR, accelerating the pace of change in the world of business.
Automation such as HR software provides businesses with an infinitely better way to handle the inevitable and labour-intensive admin of employing staff, meaning huge gains in time and thinking power to put to better use.
Food for thought
With HR software in place you’re free to get your thinking cap on. Areas to consider:
Upskilling staff. There’s a digital gap in the skills market that needs addressing. With Brexit coming up (and the pool of talent shrinking), businesses who have made the move to HR software can think about training staff to meet the business needs in the future.
The double whammy of this is that training staff will not only give the business more highly skilled employees, but it’s likely to engage and motivate those employees, making them feel valued and giving them a clearer purpose.
Diversifying staff and attitudes. Addressing gender or age discrimination such as pay gaps or inequalities in a smaller business may just involve considering how to diversify your staff. How to become more inclusive of working mothers or how to attract people from different backgrounds or generations to your team.
Having a diverse team will mean having as many viewpoints as possible, leading to better solutions.
“If a company wants to recruit the best talent available it has to make its selection from all sections of society. Otherwise, you’re tying one hand behind your back”. Tara McGheehan, UK president of CGI (Consultants to Government Industries).
Create and communicate a culture that reflects your own values and those of the business. Being clear on this will not only help you grow in the right direction but help you attract the right employees to work for you and clients to work with you.
Increasingly people see brands as defined by their culture, and with more and more value being placed on positive ones, we’re starting to see this becoming a make or break factor.
Our HR software can help you to streamline processes such as recruitment, onboarding, reports and managing holidays and absences.
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