As the green shoots of recovery surface, business confidence is on the rise. Yet the HR function remains under pressure to demonstrate value to the C-suite. Neglecting the importance of experienced HR staff could be fatal for a business looking to win the ‘war for talent’ and develop its next generation of leaders.  

The evolving range of technology at HR’s disposal could be the key to overcoming this challenge. Too much focus on technology can be a mistake when it comes to talent management. Firms must find a healthy balance between technology and a human touch. There are five key things firms must consider to strike the right balance.

1.Turn to the cloud

Using cloud-based systems represents an opportunity to slash costs by lifting the burden of IT maintenance. Moving to the cloud means increased efficiency for HR teams. They can focus less on administrative tasks and spend more time on the value-add activities. These benefits are amplified through self-service systems. These systems enable staff to take ownership of processes such as logging absences and managing shift changes without needing input from HR.

2.Embrace the power of data

The HR function generates more data than any other business area. From payroll through to employee surveys, there is huge potential for this data to inform decision making. Analytics tools are increasingly taking the strain away. They enable HR to demonstrate value by offering insights to the C-level on everything revolving around people – one of the biggest investments any organisation makes.

3.Engage employees

Successful talent management strategies should encompass the entire employment lifecycle and measure engagement along the way. This is particularly important in a complex set of employee needs and expectations. Technology can bring together information such as performance reviews and employee absence data. Analytics can subsequently present insights which can boost engagement.

4.Select the right technology

The growing role technology is playing in our lives has resulted in higher expectations when it comes the workplace. It is vital to select a system that is user friendly and ideally includes self-service. The technology must also be able to draw from a consolidated data set if it is to inform HR decisions and have a genuine impact on talent management and business growth. Lastly, it’s important to be confident in the choice of technology partner. Firms should look for a track record of successful implementations.

5.Strike a balance

Technology has a huge role to play in HR if used appropriately. In the coming years HR professionals will be expected to be more numerate and willing to incorporate a greater emphasis on data-based insights. By using technology, firms can empower the HR function. It can enable HR directors to elevate their role from a process function to a catalyst for change. With a human touch they can identify new talent sources to support growth and provide business value by acting as an adviser.

Iain Moffat, Director of Product Strategy, MidlandHR