‘Crucial’ during COVID, HR tech is still growing in importance

The vast majority of HR and C-suite leaders say HR technology has been vital in supporting business priorities and helping organizations operate and survive during the pandemic, new research finds.

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Survey data from software firm Sage, which surveyed some 500 HR and business leaders, including CEOs and CFOs, finds that 81% of C-suite leaders say they would not have been able to operate effectively during the pandemic without HR technology. Meanwhile, 89% of the C-suite and 83% of HR leaders say HR technology enabled them to be more flexible and responsive to changing needs while helping their businesses become more resilient.

Additionally, the survey finds that 82% of HR and people leaders say they had to scale HR technology to manage and operate effectively during the pandemic as remote working became pervasive across organizations.

“The sudden transition to remote work in the past 18 months put an initial stress on many companies, but the data, guidance and analytics provided by HR technology answered the challenge, enabling organizations to swiftly transition employees to work from home,” says Jonathan Goldsmith, vice president of product management for Sage People.

Related: A $30K raise or remote work forever? Employees want remote

Not only did HR technology help organizations to allow for widespread remote work, but it also proved vital in improving engagement, performance and productivity, Goldsmith says. “Tools that provide flexibility and a high level of configurability have made it easy for HR teams to gain insight into employee motivations and make the necessary adjustments to keep worker morale high, ultimately leading to better business management and processes and allowing for a flexible and agile approach to changing business needs throughout the pandemic,” he says.

In particular, people data was vital to manage workforce availability by allowing companies to better understand business productivity, staff shortages and more during quarantines, lockdowns and employee absences. “Monitoring this and pulling insights from it proved crucial in terms of business survival,” Goldsmith says.

HR technology’s place in the spotlight should only continue through the rest of 2021 and beyond, Goldsmith says, with HR leaders staying front and center in terms of digital transformation and innovation when it comes to sustainable and successful work. But HR leaders must continue to adapt to digital transformation and use technology to grow organizational needs.

“There is more work to be done,” Goldsmith says. “HR and people teams have shown their value through the pandemic, but they must continue to be flexible and demonstrate their value by highlighting and sharing more metrics, utilizing data analysis tools and working with actionable insights from their data to continue to react to the new ways of working.”

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.