Sometimes it can seem like the entire world is undergoing a digital transformation. With the rise of remote work during the pandemic and new advances in artificial intelligence, more and more HR departments are embracing digital technologies to streamline and standardize HR operations. By using digital tools to make data-driven decisions, HR teams can increase employee satisfaction and promote business success.
Here’s what HR professionals need to know about HR digital transformation, and how you can use software to streamline and automate HR processes without any code.
What Is HR Digital Transformation?
HR digital transformation is the process of adapting your human resources department for the digital age through the use of new tools and technologies. Historically, HR has been a paper-driven department, full of paper forms and filing cabinets. Modern HR departments might use spreadsheets or an HR information system (HRIS).
An HR digital transformation strategy goes even further, applying new technologies — such automation and artificial intelligence — to HR functions.
But first, let’s get clear on the difference between digitization vs. digitalization:
The digital transformation process starts with digitization — that is, scanning old files and converting paper forms into digital documents. Then, you can move on to digitalization, or developing workflows that make use of your newly digitized files.
For example, once you’ve digitized FMLA forms, your employees can start requesting a leave of absence online, rather than filling out paperwork by hand.
Digital transformation refers to the broader strategy or roadmap that shapes your digital transformation journey. It’s a long-term transition that takes into account your existing workflows, company culture, HR processes, and business goals.
Benefits of HR Digital Transformation
Aside from keeping up with your competitors and adhering to industry trends, what’s the rush to begin a digital transformation of your HR department? Can’t you just keep doing things the way you always have? Here are four key benefits of developing a digital HR strategy and using digital tools to store and safeguard employee data.
Fewer Data Silos
One of the key benefits of digitizing processes is that you’ll have fewer data repositories storing redundant or unnecessary information. Instead of collecting employee data over and over again — each time you begin a new process — you can store it in a central location and automatically fill out forms with the information you have on file.
Plus, eliminating data silos is good for decision-making: you can share data between departments and make decisions based on more accurate information.
Digital HR tools also allow for faster communication and more efficient problem-solving. Employees can fill out forms and sign documents online, access a self-service portal to troubleshoot common issues, and get notified when they need to take action.
Cloud-based platforms make it possible to access HR systems from multiple devices and in real-time. Instead of waiting weeks for a response to their leave of absence request, employees can log in to view the status of their request at any time.
Improved Security and Compliance
When used properly, digital HR systems are more secure than analog filing systems, and can help you keep employee data safe. According to a report on data breaches by the Ponemon Institute and IBM: “The adoption of AI, security analytics, and encryption were the top three mitigating factors shown to reduce the cost of a breach.”
Using HR technology also allows you to standardize processes in ways that align with state and federal law, improving HR compliance across the board.
Employee Satisfaction & Retention
Finally, employees themselves increasingly expect to interact with digital systems when they start a new job or engage with the HR department. After all, when employees can do their banking online, book medical appointments online, and more, why shouldn’t they expect the same level of convenience from their HR department?
An HR digital transformation can improve the employee experience, reduce turnover, and make your organization more attractive to potential new hires.
5 Examples of HR Digital Transformation in Action
The first step in your digital transformation will depend on which HR tasks you want to streamline. Here are five digital transformation initiatives to consider.
Digitizing the employee onboarding process makes it easier for new team members to fill out paperwork and enroll in payroll and employee benefits. You can use automation to create new user accounts and generate passwords so they don’t have to.
Instead of in-person training sessions, use digital training modules that allow new hires to move forward at their own pace. These training modules can also come in handy for ongoing assessments, performance management, and upskilling.
AI chatbots use artificial intelligence to engage in text-based conversations with your human employees. Although they can’t handle the most complex inquiries, they can answer simple questions or route the message to the right HR employee.
Use AI chatbots to guide new hires through the onboarding process, resolve common HR inquiries, or even automate the leave of absence request process.
A self-service portal is a user account that employees can log into to perform basic HR tasks without having to call up the HR department or visit in person. They can use it to view their employee benefits, track their remaining leave balance, and more.
Combine it with a knowledge base that contains all of the must-have information about your company, software, and digital HR tools. That way, employees are empowered to help themselves and don’t have to wait for answers to basic HR questions.
Applicant Tracking System
An applicant tracking system, or ATS, is a digital HR tool that helps to streamline and automate the recruitment process. HR leaders can use an ATS to review candidates, schedule interviews, and extend an offer of employment.
Some HR tech systems use AI to sort through resumes, screen applicants, and reject unqualified candidates. However, it’s important to avoid overreliance on AI in hiring: A new law in New York City actually requires these tools to be audited for bias.
Workforce analytics, also called people analytics, is the process of using data to inform your hiring process and determine staffing levels. One way to use workforce analytics is for succession planning, in which you anticipate the departure of high-level employees and use mentorship or upskilling to prepare internal candidates for the role.
Workforce analytics is only possible with sufficient data, which is why starting the HR digital transformation now can help with future human capital management.
Challenges of HR Digital Transformation
The digital transformation process isn’t meant to be a one-time solution or a quick fix, but a long-term shift in your HR management strategy. Here are three things for HR professionals to keep in mind as you begin the digital transformation journey.
People Still Matter
HR digital transformation isn’t about replacing people, but empowering your HR team to make better, data-driven decisions, and spend less time on tedious tasks.
Self-service portals and AI chatbots are useful for increasing employee engagement — but they shouldn’t take the place of in-person interactions and support. You want your HR systems to be streamlined and automated, not rigid and robotic.
It’s a Continuous Process
The digital transformation process doesn’t really have a finish line. It’s not a matter of making a sweeping change to your HR operations and calling it a day. You’ll want to continually revisit your digital HR strategy and make small changes over time.
After all, new HR technologies are arriving by the day, and only by staying on top of industry trends will you keep up with the competition.
It Requires Company-Wide Buy-In
Any new HR system has a learning curve, so you’ll need to get as many stakeholders on board as possible to ensure success. One survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that only 53% of employees thought that C-suite executives were “choosing tech with their people in mind.” A lack of consultation can significantly impede buy-in.
By choosing a no-code HR platform, you’ll be able to introduce new HR tools without expecting your team to acquire advanced skills or coding knowledge.
Transform Your HR Department With Digital Tools
An HR digital transformation is a multi-step process that starts with digitizing paperwork, creating new digital workflows, and developing a long-term strategy for modernizing HR functions. You can use technology to automate the onboarding process, simplify leave of absence management, perform advanced workforce analytics, and more.
Pulpstream makes it easy to transform your HR department with a cloud-based platform that you can customize to meet your needs. With an employee self-service portal and a rules engine to handle complex HR processes, you’ll be able to use low-and no-code automation to make practical improvements to your HR workflows.
Get in touch today to request a free 30-minute demo!