Digitisation has become the ideal means of communicating and relating to one another in times of coronavirus. In this article we analyse the role of Human Resources departments in the digital transformation of companies and the latest technologies that are accelerating these changes.
“Being happy in our work is what leads to success, not the other way around”, according to the former Harvard professor, Tal Ben-Shahar. Employee satisfaction is beneficial to businesses, as shown by some Oxford University research – the results indicate that for the weeks during which workers claimed to be happier, their productivity increased by 13%.
Looking after employee happiness is profitable and, what’s more, is a duty for all those companies where the Human Resources department is responsible for it. A HR team is completely dedicated to people management and now, in the post-coronavirus era, has become an even more fundamental part of any business.
Unlike the famous passage in Hamlet where the protagonist ponders ‘to be or not to be, that is the question’, being digital is no longer an option or something that we can bypass. Drawn up by innovation consultancy Íncipy, the latest Study on Digital Transformation in HR in Spain states that 80% of companies are already in the process of digitisation, whilst only 30% have a well-defined roadmap.
The role of the HR department in this process is key. Nonetheless, 45% of HR leaders recognise that they have trouble keeping pace with digitisation, according to the recent Randstad Talent Trends Report. “It’s really a cultural issue”, says Juan Zamora, CEO and co-founder of Signaturit, the legaltech expert in digital signatures that recently took part in the Innova Home Festival organised by BBVA Open Innovation. Although “it’s hard to change that way of thinking”, there are now many options and technological tools on the table.
The emergence of remote working in the labour market as a result of coronavirus has posed a major challenge for HR professionals, who have had to adapt in record time to this new way of organising work. According to the analysis ‘Telework in Spain’, carried out by Banco de España, 80% of companies have increased teleworking because of COVID-19 and the resulting lockdown measures to prevent their activity from grinding to a halt.
Now more than ever it’s vital to protect employees, ensure their stability and quality of life despite the distance, so that it does not “impact on business quality and so that projects follow their normal course”, says Enrique de Nova, CEO of Loonfy, a startup that allows employees to collect their wages on demand. His idea enabled him to take part in the BBVA Open Innovation acceleration programme and the BBVA Open Summit Madrid 2019, the annual fintech event that brings together investors, innovators and startups to bring about change in the traditional banking scene.
A lack of liquidity is another side effect of COVID-19 and is the raison d’être of Loonfy, the startup that was conceived as an “alternative to traditional payroll systems”. Employees can download the app and access their latest pay slip immediately to request an advance. “In under ten seconds they have the portion of their salary that they consider appropriate in their current account”, indicates De Nova.
Loonfy’s intention is clear; “to improve employees’ lives and build a greater affinity with the company”. The impact so far has been very positive and, although “employees say it is a service that they don’t always need, they love having it”, says De Nova.
During these months of lockdown, even the most traditional and bureaucratic procedures have become digital. This is precisely what Signaturit has achieved, “creating innovative solutions for electronic signatures, certified electronic delivery and electronic identification without the need for facilities”, indicates the CEO and co-founder.
Although this solution is “applicable to any business”, HR professionals are those who demand it most for the advantages it offers. According to Zamora, “they achieve faster digital signings of labour contracts and other documents, saving management time and storage space”. They also “help to preserve the environment by reducing their paper consumption to zero”, he points out.
These latest advances in the democratisation of technology are likely to lead to a change in people management. Companies of any size will have access to tools that were once considered to be solely the realm of large corporations, and which will help HR departments to “have greater immediacy and flexibility when communicating and managing procedures between management and staff”, adds Zamora.
This is why the latest trends in HR digitisation involve new technologies, as a specialised Sodexo article reports. These include:
· Internal and private social networks, which are on the rise to network with employees and help them manage the shift to a more digital culture, as well as gamification.
· E-recruitment improves job success. These days, the challenge is how to attract the attention of active talent. To do this, it’s necessary to create defined digital strategies that show the company as an ideal working environment.
· Big data can help in decision making. Mass data analysis boosts the discovery of potential profiles and makes it possible to measure performance and individual work output.
· Employer branding or the brand image of a company towards its own employees is a reliable source for differentiation. Employee diversity and inclusion are essential factors for transformation.
Undoubtedly, innovation in HR is a strong response to the latest changes and challenges that have been experienced in the workplace. The CEO of Signaturit believes that a window of opportunity is being opened up for talent teams, which, little by little, “will strengthen the recruitment and incorporation of professionals in other countries, will also increase the standardisation of digital onboarding processes and, lastly, the empowering of Human Resources professionals. These kinds of tools are allowing us to optimise human resource management so that we are able to dedicate more time to value-generating activities such as attracting and retaining talent”. As the CEO of Loonfy reflects, “it’s a complex cultural change, and it is a challenge for today, not tomorrow”.