For many HR teams, one of the outcomes of the pandemic has been that they have earnt a seat at the executive table. The people function was more critical than ever before as the pandemic took hold, as HR teams were relied on to navigate employees through huge disruption. As a consequence, the department has grown its influence on the C-suite but is now being turned to once again to solve the productivity puzzle, and support business strength.

More than ever before, leaders in organisations of all sizes are expecting HR departments to support their business even further as they look to reinvent themselves and to boost their productivity.

When it comes to productivity, HR practitioners assist in various ways to drive change throughout the entire organisation – such as leveraging technology and design thinking, and relentlessly looking for new ways to improve the quality and efficiency of their own services with the final aim to deliver a great employee experience. After all, more engaged, motivated, happy, and healthy employees are more productive employees.

Being agents of change, HR teams innovatively look to improve processes for talent development programmes, performance management, coaching, training, recruiting, organisation design, succession planning and more. Never before have we been focusing so much on employee engagement, mental health, collaboration and workforce fluidity.

So, with these new demands on HR teams, how can practitioners find new ways in which to boost their organisation’s productivity?

Technology’s impact
Technology has played a pivotal role in maintaining productivity, as well as keeping employees safe throughout the pandemic. But, in order to boost productivity for the years ahead, HR teams now need to look to what workplace tools will support their plans. A reimagined HR requires full use of growing digital capabilities to be more productive, in areas where the machine far outperforms people in accuracy, efficiency, speed, and scalable utility.

Today’s HR service delivery tools are pre-built with on-demand analytics to equip HR with meaningful operational data and help drive HR operations’ accountability. These tools provide strong analytics with the ability to measure and monitor KPIs such as time-to-resolution – such metrics are essential for understanding the impact and success of an HR service management solution. A powerful HR service delivery solution with built-in analytics should show a drastic reduction in the time to fulfil requests, even as the number of requests steadily increases in volume.

Not only does this benefit the HR team through enabling better organisation of HR operations, but it also helps to identify what’s most important to the workforce. For example, data analysis can provide insights on which articles employees are most frequently reading, alongside the employee query topics that get raised most frequently. Through this insight you can see that if for example most interest is around payroll or admin, you may want to consider how you can improve the services in those areas. It also provides deeper insights on the demographics of who is seeking additional support. For example, if there are a high frequency of queries from a particular location, there may be a management issue there to address.

In addition, digital assistants or chatbots provide the ability to automate first level query management, freeing up more time for value creating activities instead. Again, these also help to improve the employee experience through providing a 24/7 HR service in a way that people want to interact in today’s world. People are more and more wanting mobile-first services and provides that for employees, so they can easily, and efficiently access information.

Another area that has come to fore over the past 18 months in particular is the ability for technology to aid in making HR teams more agile. Through an HR service delivery tool, HR teams can have complete autonomy from the IT team to react quickly and disseminate critical information to employees instantly. If for example HR needs to launch a new health policy, it can rapidly get this new policy out to all employees and request an electronic signature.

These are just a few small examples of where efficiencies can be made within the HR team through technology deployment, but essentially, it’s all about enabling HR focus on what’s most important – the people.

Boosting productivity
Improving productivity is all about two key areas: understanding employees and empowering them through innovative technologies.

HR teams need to understand what the ‘new normal’ looks like for each and every one of their employees and understand the new expectations. Once they have this understanding, they can tap into the best of those employees, while also supporting them with clever, workplace tools that meet the needs of both HR and employees. HR now firmly has a seat at the executive table, which presents a unique opportunity to reimagine their organisation, and boost productivity.

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