Changes in HR tech reflect growing importance of employee experience

The modern HR mindset has shifted in the last several years—and so has the way HR professionals view workplace technology.

In the last few years, technology deployments “often resulted in replicating what were tried and true but often tired methods of HR and IT,” Edward Miller, managing director at Accenture, said Tuesday during HRE’s HR Technology Conference & Exposition, held virtually. “Systems were built that worked for the needs of HR and IT, rather than for the employee, the manager and the business.”

Now, the role of HR has pivoted from accepting the status quo to a place of heightened responsibility where employee needs are prioritized and met, he said.

HR is increasingly focused on how to give employees a better sense of belonging to keep them engaged, making workers more employable through new skills, giving them purpose and looking after their physical and emotional wellbeing.

“As stewards of the HR systems that are deployed and supported, HR is uniquely positioned to measure, enable this value of systems data and to modify HR services for the workforce in order to drive meaningful change for the business,” Miller said.

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David Pereles, managing director at Accenture, said organizations are leveraging more investments in technology as employee expectations increase.

“Our employees are expecting more, they want things to be easier, they want things to be at their fingertips and they want to have it now,” he said. “Our clients are asking: ‘How can we leverage the investments we’ve already made, and how do we make it more impactful?’”

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Accenture panelists during the session said the majority of employers are now focusing on true digital workplace transformations rather than piecemeal tech upgrades. “[They’ve] moved from a tech upgrade to more of a digital end-to-end HR transformation,” said Jen Bowman, who leads North America talent and HR for Accenture’s Oracle business group. “What we’re seeing [from employers] is that they’re making investments and the time is now.”

“Our employees are expecting more, they want things to be easier, they want things to be at their fingertips and they want to have it now.” David Pereles

Panelists expect more investments in HCM, payroll, the cloud, AI and analytics, among other technologies—especially as the pandemic changes the nature of the workforce.

“The world as we know it has changed almost overnight, and reskilling workforces to be relevant in the new world is absolutely essential across all industries,” said Tanushree Guha, workforce analytics executive at Accenture.

Pereles noted that Accenture research finds that organizations with an engaged workforce are 21% more profitable, and organizations with a “great workplace experience” outperform S&P 500 by 122%. “These are all key stats for our clients as they think about what are the right technologies they want to use; how do they make it work and bring everything together.”

“There’s no reason we can’t be more agile and more flexible in what we do today,” Pereles said. “I think it’s exciting to see all the different technologies that are out there and how you can leverage them on your core HR system and bring everything together to deliver an employee experience that’s truly great.”

The HR Tech Conference will feature free, virtual content through Oct. 30. There is still time to register. For more information, click HERE.

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