How Collaboration Tech is Changing Everything about the Business of HR

It’s no secret technology has changed the HR industry. HR tech trends for 2017, in fact, include people data collection turning more to predictive analytics, and the line between marketing and HR blurring when it comes to prioritizing the employee experience—and that’s just for starters. One key shift changing everything about the business of HR is the rise of collaboration tech. Let’s examine the benefits of collaboration tech and why these solutions are replacing outdated HR practices in modern organizations.

The Rise of Collaboration Tech

Use of collaboration tools has skyrocketed in this age of mobility and connectedness. It seems like every business and entity—from the World Economic Forum to our own remote-based team—has turned to collaboration tech to boost efficiency, solve communication gaps, and bring team members closer via technology.

Why is collaboration, as Harvard Business Review (HBR) put it, “taking over the workplace?” Just ask Google’s Director of People Analytics, Abeer Dubey who conducted interviews on satisfaction and diversity in the workplace and honed in on the value of truly collaborative work environments. Named as one of the five leaders who are disrupting diversity by the Society for Human Rights Resource Management, Dubey concluded the following:

“The individuals who make up a team matter far less than the ways they interact with, and view, their collaborators and the overall project. People do their best work when they feel they have strong goals, can rely on each other and believe their work makes a difference.”

That’s one valuable perspective on the reason behind the rise of collaboration tech in the business world. Now, let’s look at the specific benefits of such collaboration tech to HR.

Benefits of Collaboration Tech in HR

  • Increasing opportunity for mentoring and coaching.Many modern employees favor mentoring and coaching over traditional evaluation methods like performance reviews. Collaboration tech allows for easy communication among managers and employees without the bulkiness of email—a benefit any HR leader can get behind.
  • Improving recruiting and onboarding.Employee recruiting and onboarding can be time-consuming and costly processes. Collaboration software has the potential to streamline communication between HR and new hires while making resources—such as training videos, forms, etc.—easy to find.
  • Providing ongoing training.Many collaboration tech platforms allow for training videos and other types of collateral to be easily updated and highly accessible. Not only that, they also can come with “community” built in, leaving new employees feeling supported and empowered as they navigate the sometimes-overwhelming training process.
  • Satisfying remote work preferences.Forbes reports the 37 percent of U.S. employees who work remotely at least occasionally are happier, feel more valued, are more productive, and get daily detailed contact with managers. Collaboration tech is a cornerstone of catering to those who log in remotely, and HR professionals can leverage that option to find the best talent to fit a position and a culture, not just the closest.
  • Connecting employees with similar likes.Thanks to the social-esque threads included in many collaboration tech platforms, employees can forge connections on topics outside of work. Golfers, triathletes, gardeners, community enthusiasts, etc. can learn more about one another and find common ground without sacrificing productivity. This connection is especially important as the employee experience becomes increasingly prioritized in the workplace.
  • Harnessing the power of social internally. CIO reports enterprise social collaboration platforms—or other types of tech-driven internal social initiatives—can build custom experiences for team members and, in turn, enhance the culture of a workplace. Furthermore, the messaging and video capabilities of many collaboration platforms facilitate a connection among workers not geographically near one another, such as field personnel or work-at-home team members.
  • Helping employees get the most out of their work-life balance.Computer Weekly reports employees waste substantial time going to and from meetings, sorting through seas of emails, and even just trying to determine whom in their organizations would be best suited to field inquiries or comments. In short—the logistics of work prevents many people from, well, doing more of it. Collaboration tech moves to replace and enhance the functionality of email platforms, removing those logistical concerns and replacing them with highly-functional, user-friendly, uber-accessible tools that give employees better control over one priceless player in the fight for work-life balance: Their time.

What’s Next?

It’s clear the rise of collaboration tech is set to foster a shift in HR, affecting everything from the hiring process to employee experience and everything in between. Does your organization use collaboration tech for HR purposes? If so, what has been your experience? If not, are you expecting to invest in 2017? Tell me in the comments.

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Using Data to Link Talent Decisions to Business (Webinar)

The HR industry talks a lot about analytics and data. Yet are we using data to link talent decisions to business? Not as much as we could be. There are many things to measure and a whole host of ways to measure them. The connection between the people in our organizations and the success of the business are so intertwined that it’s hard to believe that we ever separated the two. But even with powerful data readily available, are the majority of organizations using applicable information to their advantage? Maybe not. Are most HR departments just skimming the top of the analytics iceberg? Unfortunately yes.

We all know that talent acquisition, training and onboarding is time consuming and expensive. The figures vary across industries and titles, but selecting employees who are knowledgeable, trainable and a good fit for the workplace culture is a fine art. But once that person is a full-fledged member of the team, how are we retaining him or her? And even more importantly, how are we aligning people to the bottom line? It can be simple or incredibly challenging, depending on how the business sets up an analytics dashboard.

Let’s take a deep dive into a few HR metrics that truly matter to the business (and these are just a handful). Let me also acknowledge that these metrics don’t just magically bubble to the surface. Workforce planning, applicable processes and savvy tools are necessary to reveal the truth.

Engagement Scores

Employee engagement. It’s almost become a buzz phrase in the HR world, but that’s because it matters. Let’s look at this in a linear fashion. Effective leaders are driven to engage their employees. Engaged employees tend to be happier. And what do happy employees do? They produce great work and they stay. Everyone wins! Engagement scores can be calculated from survey scores about the supervisor-employee relationship. In my opinion, high engagement should be taught to managers and required as a success metric. Consistently low engagement on a team should be addressed with the leader and a remediation plan should be put into place. It’s costing the business money and change needs to happen.

Absentee Rates

It’s simple to track how many days an employee missed during a certain timeframe. But if you aren’t taking a hard look at why certain teams have a higher rate of absenteeism, you are deliberately missing the boat. Is the manager working the team too hard? Is the team under-engaged? Pinpointing teams with high absenteeism and exploring the reasons why this is the case is another wise business move.

Resignation Rates

Most organizations can provide a number of resignations in the last year. They may even be able to provide some explanations for an increase. But with the right tools, patterns can be revealed that aren’t all that obvious. I could geek out talking about patterns and predictive analytics for who may resign in the future – it’s fascinating. I mean, Debbie is still a human and how we treat her is way more important than a computer’s prediction for her summertime resignation letter; but if we can see it coming and make wise business decisions to hold onto key employees, why not?

Money, Money, Money

When HR was asked to justify an expense or explain budgetary decisions, it used to be awkward and embarrassing. Compared to the finance or marketing department, HR was often seen as a black hole. Well that just isn’t the case anymore. Or at least it shouldn’t be in your organization. With the ability to align costs with output, people with profits, hires with increased productivity, pay raises with palpable potential, HR can and should show any executive or money cruncher that we know how, when, where and why money is and will be spent. There are former HR executives that would kill to have had this data at their fingertips. In fact, be sure not to flaunt it in front of a retired HR pro. He or she may have a flashback and lash out at you.

Just kidding. Well, kind of.

There are so many HR metrics out there that are dying to be used to make wise business decisions. So quit reading about themimagining how nice they would be. Find out how to weave them into your workforce planning and be amazed at how easy they are to access. I will be talking more about this topic on a webinar with our friends at Visier January 21 at 2pm ET. Join us!

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