Over the past five years, HR has seen an incredible shift in the use of cloud-based technology. Having worked in some of the largest companies in the world, I have witnessed this transformation first-hand. Below I have highlighted what I think are the top ways cloud technology is disrupting the role of HR, and how it supports leaders to meet business objectives with significant cost savings - so that resources can be reinvested into strategic initiatives.
Greater transparency around information
The ability to save costs across the company is a top priority for executives but you can’t manage what you can’t see. Businesses are also increasingly at risk of compliance violations that could have been avoided with the ability to track and monitor relevant finances, tax and documentation. For example, a recent survey by EY found that 64% of companies have incurred avoidable penalties resulting from the talent mobility process.
Through easy reporting functions, cloud technology platforms significantly help HR teams to pull data, have visibility and manage all information from one central location to track spend, create efficiency and improve compliance.
Data analysis for better decision-making
There is data available from all areas of HR— recruitment, compensation, benefits, global mobility, performance, talent, learning and development, and more. This enables greater insight so that decision-making is based on quantitative as well as qualitative analysis.
With cloud technology today, we can report on how we are tracking against a workforce plan, how quickly a new hire becomes productive, how high our turnover is when international assignments end, what percentage of our top talent are promoted, how engaged are employees, and the cost effectiveness of our vendors, as examples.
Data analytics creates the power to make better and more informed decisions, which can be turned into investing in the right strategic programs that drive performance and engagement.
Easily streamline processes that save valuable time
The speed of getting things done through streamlining processes around the employee lifecycle has revolutionized the role of HR. Today, a manual task that could have taken half a day to complete can easily be accomplished at the click of a button or can be completed by the employees and the managers themselves.
Additionally, APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are a set of requirements that allow software systems to communicate with each other and make it simple to move information around. This has made it much easier than ever before to manage employee data between multiple systems without requiring software developers to change massive amounts of code.
The power of cloud systems, 24/7, from any device, has enabled HR to automate, simplify tasks and save costs to the business. This in turn has enabled HR to be more strategic than ever before, creating the re-branding of HR as a vital business partner.
Focus on talent objectives that drive growth
A recent study by Creative Auto-Enrolment and the Centre for Economic and Business Research found that small firms are wasting 28 hours a week on administrative tasks. That same study also found that if companies were able to re-invest time spent on administrative tasks back into growing the business, an extra £4.7bn could be added to the UK economy.
With time saved from easy to use cloud systems, HR skills and resources are being leveraged to strategically solve the most important talent challenges facing businesses today: globalization, war for talent, engagement, high performing teams, diversity - to name a few.
The insight HR has into each function of the business positions HR as a strategic advisor, helping executive teams drive organisational change, develop leadership pipeline or for global expansion—all important to revenue generation.
More engagement, less employee turnover
Today, talent engagement is one of the biggest challenges facing companies. Josh Bersin from Bersin by Deloitte recently found that “more than 50% of business leaders rate this issue “urgent” – up from only around 20% last year.” This is particularly problematic because employee turnover costs UK businesses at least £4.13bn, especially as it can take a new employee up to eight months to reach their prime productivity levels (Oxford Economics).
The use of cloud technology has empowered employees to take more ownership of their careers. At the click of a button, employees can manage their personal information, set career goals, choose flexible benefits, use instant messaging, manage flexible working, and so much more, from any device, anywhere, anytime, just like the technologies they use at home. These are all ways of driving higher engagement and realising the return on investment.
HR plays a critical role in improving cost efficiencies for businesses. Companies must increasingly look to HR as a strategic partner across all parts of the business and there is no better way to make this a reality than by HR continuing to embrace cloud technology.