Paycor CHRO on the rise of tech and the evolution of HR roles

Over the past few years, the HR leadership role has been shaped by changing workplace dynamics and the growing need for innovative tech solutions. Meanwhile, people leaders are tasked with balancing the business goals, priorities of executive peers and evolving expectations of the workforce. It’s a challenge, but some HR pros say this is an exciting time to lead the industry.

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Paaras Parker, the chief human resources officer at HR software platform Paycor, understands the importance of being business-focused and, at the same time, human-centric. This balanced approach is prevalent among people leaders at high-performing organizations, according to i4cp; their top areas of focus this year include culture, leadership effectiveness and workforce development.

HR professionals must create an environment that enables and empowers the workforce to achieve, and even overachieve, strong business outcomes, says Parker.

The evolving role of HR teams

“I think one of the most exciting parts about being in HR is that our roles are always evolving because so are humans,” Parker says. “Humans are who we serve, so as the trends and expectations of people change, the role of HR gets to transform too.”

Parker says that the human resources industry must learn from experience to be at its best now and in the months and years ahead. “The future of work is here,” she says, and HR teams must adapt to the changing nature of work. This involves understanding business needs and strategies and assisting business leaders in developing and implementing talent strategies that align with these goals for long-term success.

Rather than design new “future of work” roles that don’t yet exist, the best HR professionals embrace current conditions and plan for what is to come. Parker says that as people roles become more specialized in this way, three key areas emerge as focal points for HR teams:

  • Centers of expertise and experience: These groups develop methodologies and processes that drive scalable outcomes across the business.
  • Strategic human resource business partners: Employee-facing roles that utilize data to influence change, manage workflow evolutions and drive critical outcomes such as engagement and retention.
  • Employee relations: This role is charged with ensuring operational efficiency and providing support to employees during both positive and challenging times.

HR and tech for the future

Paaras Parker
Paaras Parker, CHRO at Paycor

Each of these roles will rely on workforce tech, now more than ever. It’s important to discover ways tech can make HR tasks easier so HR professionals can focus on people, says Parker. The ability to have tech manage time, expenses and payroll, for instance, helps people leaders focus on the conversations, goals and outcomes critical to finding success at work.

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“Don’t be afraid of the tools,” says Parker. “Try them, read about them and leverage the tech in small ways daily.” HR teams must embrace new solutions and help diffuse time-saving practices into the employee population. According to Mercer’s freshly released Global Talent Trends 2024 report, employees say one-third of their work today is “mundane and repetitive,” creating an opportunity for HR to lift employee productivity and ease the boring parts of their day.

Parker says that human resource leaders should be at the forefront of decision-making on tech to fit the needs of their teams and the organization: “Instead of finding ways to resist, focus on figuring out what needs to be true to give it a go!”

Tech in hybrid workplaces

While some people love the flexibility of working remotely, many employees now miss the human interaction of a shared workplace. According to Mercer’s report, most employees want some degree of social contact, and nearly half want to work on-site at least some of the time, even if their job could be done remotely.

Parker says that in these hybrid arrangements, tech can help make one-on-one meetings easier, recognize team members around the world and facilitate the feedback process. “The time that tech-enabled tools can save allows HR professionals and leaders to drive the conversations that have lasting impacts on employees,” she says.

Inclusive of all generations

HR tech can provide continuity, regardless of where employees are in the lifespan of their careers. While the headlines warn that today’s youngest professionals aren’t ready to work, Parker says Gen Z;s entrance into the workforce isn’t all that different from previous generations. Her advice is to identify what is important to the new generation without losing sight of what is valuable to those already in the workforce.

Parker says this will be the “special sauce” for a future-forward vision. “Leaning into what Gen Z knows and what they will bring, married with the skills and competencies that already exist, will drive the business forward in meaningful ways.”

Learn more about the intersection of HR and tech at HRE‘s upcoming HR Technology Europe, May 2-3 in Amsterdam. Click here to register.

Jill Barth
Jill Barth is HR Tech Editor of Human Resource Executive. She is an award-winning journalist with bylines in Forbes, USA Today and other international publications. With a background in communications, media, B2B ecommerce and the workplace, she also served as a consultant with Gallagher Benefit Services for nearly a decade. Reach out at [email protected].