The role of HR leaders has never been more important, as organizations struggle to keep up with near-daily changes to the world of work ushered in by the coronavirus pandemic and other global challenges, including the recent tumultuous presidential transition. With such a tall order for HR leaders, it’s beneficial to look to industry experts for their experience and guidance. Last year, HRE and the HR Tech Conference unveiled the second edition of the Top 100 HR Tech Influencers, comprised of HR, business and technology leaders whose insights are needed now more than ever.
Influencer Steve Beauchamp, CEO of Paylocity, notes that well-positioned organizations benefitted from their technologies early in the pandemic and he predicts that will continue, whether from data that can be easily collected or from improved communication with remote or hybrid workforces. He advises that HR leaders prioritize convenience and employee engagement capabilities as they evaluate tools for the next phase of the pandemic.
Read on for more insights from Beauchamp’s recent conversation with HRE.
HRE: How can HR leaders best evaluate the rapid influx of post-pandemic tools flooding the market?
Beauchamp: The pandemic provided every company with valuable lessons on what their organizations do well and where the gaps are—and smart technology investments can help close those gaps that matter most.
When the pandemic hit, we focused on delivering transparent and timely communication in a way that allowed employees to immediately react, ask questions or provide feedback. Our employees knew from the beginning their voices mattered in how we would adjust to keep them engaged and their basic needs met. And we also had the right data at our fingertips to help us make good decisions about what our people needed.
We saw the same with our clients—many did not miss a beat because they had automated their basic HR and payroll functions, provided their employees with mobile access to a lot of what they needed day to day and used our platform to stay engaged with their people. HR leaders should seek solutions that can provide convenience, promote employee engagement and productivity, and deliver timely insights to help drive good decision-making.
HRE: How do you think the remote work switch will affect employee expectations for workplace technology?
Beauchamp: The lines are more blurred than ever between work and home life for people. Employee expectations for their personal lives are now directly adjacent to their work experiences, and that will raise their standards. Employees want easy access to important information or convenient ways to get work done.
People working remotely want to be able to connect and collaborate with one another without the benefit of physical proximity they would normally enjoy in a workplace setting. Employees may see their personal engagement go up and down over time, and leaders need to stay in tune with those ebbs and flows to support their people in the ways they need to be supported.
Related: Read more about learning & development.
Personal development and ongoing training take on new importance, and employees will want those experiences to be delivered in a variety of ways to break up their daily grind. Over half of Paylocity employees were remote before the pandemic hit, so we’ve had some good experience with what works well, and we continue to push the edges now that even more of our staff is working from home.
HRE: How will tech differentiate the companies that thrive after the pandemic from those that do not?
Beauchamp: Businesses are feeling pressure from the pandemic in a lot of different forms. Some are dealing with the inability to keep their employees working followed quickly by the need to ramp up employment. The companies that can stay connected with their employees through authentic and transparent communication, the ones that provide easy access to information and streamlined tools for getting things done—these will be the ones coming out of the pandemic with momentum.
People make the difference in how well companies survive and thrive, and technology can play a big role in creating a positive work experience and giving leaders keen insights into what is really happening with their people. Companies that get it right will stand out from the crowd, and they will have an easier time seeing issues well in advance to be able to address them. They will be the ones that attract the right talent, invest in developing their people and teams, and retain their best performers.
Related: Register here for virtual, free Spring HR Tech.