Is HR Lagging Behind The Times? Why Technology is the Key to Maintaining a Competitive Edge

The world of HR is changing rapidly, and it’t not always for the better. The rapid flow of new technologies has left many HR departments struggling to keep up with their dynamic work environment. These changes have made it harder than ever for HR professionals to attain a balance between their responsibilities as an employee and their obligations as an employer. With so much pressure on keeping employees safe while also meeting compliance standards, along with other factors like digital transformation and machine learning, can we really say that HR is keeping up with the times? In this blog post, we will explore the role of human resources in today’s business world and why it is important that they catch up soon.

How has HR’s Role in Business changed in the current climate?

Throughout the history of business, HR has served many crucial functions. However, for the majority of that time, HR was charged with more administrative roles that didn’t call for much creativity or strategic thinking. That has changed in recent years as the needs of employees have shifted along with their expectations of what an employer’s role is.

Now, HR is expected to play a critical role in setting the tone for a company’s culture. As more and more people become remote workers, it is even more important for HR to be able to keep a company’s culture thriving. HR must be strategic so it can stay ahead of the curve and be prepared to move away from the more operational tasks.

An overview of technology in HR

There are several areas for HR professionals to focus on within their organisation:

Artificial intelligence – Artificial intelligence can be used to automate certain aspects of a workforce. For example, within HR itself, it can be programmed to read through resumes and select candidates for interviews. AI can also help with other tasks that may fall under the remit of HR, like managing employee benefits. Although this area is often shrouded in fear and harks back to a George Orwell Novel, these systems are not there to remove an individual’s job, they are tools to remove the mundane tasks that can be performed by a computer, allowing a human to focus on more ‘human’ work, whilst increasing efficiency at the same time – after all – “Mundane and repetitive tasks are one of the main reasons why workers quit their jobs, automation can help reduce or eliminate them, therefore increasing employee retention”. (SmartDataCollective, 2020)

Candidate Experience tools – HR often think about employee experience but attracting the right candidates in the first place can make the employee experience significantly better. As these individuals are outside of the organization, the use of technology allows for a seamless experience and can help reduce recruitment costs – if set up correctly.

Chatbots – HR departments have traditionally been the gatekeepers of company benefits. Now, many companies have moved away from having a live person managing those benefits to using a chatbot.

Cloud computing – Cloud computing has been a game-changer for many industries, and HR is no exception. Companies can store employee data in the cloud and access it with ease, as long as they have the right security clearance. This also ensures that data is accessible no matter which company a particular employee works for.

Digital transformation – With the advent of new technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence, many companies are experiencing a digital transformation. This is when they move away from paper and towards digital systems like those mentioned above.

Employee experience – Collecting and understanding the opinions of a large workforce and keeping this constantly flowing can be difficult. Experience tools can allow for continuous and automated data collection – these can come in the form of culture, DEI, engagement and wellbeing.

Human resources software – HR software has been slowly gaining traction in the past few years. Today, almost all HR departments use some form of software to manage their work. This software can range from simple spreadsheets to enterprise-level software platforms and is often the first step in gaining a technological edge.

The Importance of Machine Learning in HR

HR departments that use machine learning to perform tasks like hiring and managing benefits will be more efficient than those that don’t. Machine learning can be used to prioritize hiring by assessing a company’s current needs against the skills of available candidates. It can also be used to determine how much each employee should receive in benefits based on their employment history.

The most successful HR departments will be those that embrace machine learning. They will be able to incorporate technologies like AI and automation into their work while also keeping their employees safe. This is essential if the profession is to remain relevant in the future.

It is important to note that machine learning is not just for larger companies. There are plenty of machine tools which can be purchased off-the-shelf to drive forwards that technological advantage.

Human Resources Must Focus on Employee Value Proposition

An employee value proposition is now critical to hiring the right individuals – “Bad reputation forces companies to offer 10% higher salaries” (Harvard Business Review). It is the first time an individual who could potentially be hired gets a view of the company culture – which can make the difference between a business that is thriving and one that is barely scraping by. When hiring, it is important to consider the company’s culture above all else. This is where technology can really help HR professionals. An organization’s website can tell a lot about its culture. If it has a blog where employees can write about their work, it is a great way to give insights into the company’s culture. While social media is also important, having a website allows visitors to access company information 24/7. It is also easy to update the website whenever new information is needed.

How can HR create a technological edge?

To be truly competitive, organizations must be able to keep their employees safe and productive. At the same time, they must adhere to increasingly stringent government regulations. That’s a very tall order for any organization, no matter how big or small it may be. It is crucial that businesses find ways to keep up with their obligations while also maintaining a competitive edge.

When it comes to technology, HR can benefit greatly by keeping up with the latest trends and developments. HR technology can help make compliance more efficient. It can also be used to improve the employee experience. For example, many companies use apps to collect employee health data. This data can then be used to create a personalized health plan for each employee. The same can be said of payroll apps. With these apps, employees can submit timesheets to receive their salary.

Flexibility is crucial when it comes to technology in HR. An organization that can quickly adapt to change and implement new technology is more likely to succeed than one that holds out for the perfect solution. Instead of trying to create a monolithic, all-in-one system that never seems to be finished, businesses should focus on implementing smaller pieces that can be easily updated and upgraded as new technologies become available.

It’s important as well to supplement the above with the following:

Hire the right people – This may sound obvious, but it is essential that HR hire employees who understand and can work with new technology, but who also fit well with the company’s culture.

Prioritize employee engagement – To keep a company’s culture thriving, HR must keep an eye on employee engagement. There are many ways to measure employee engagement and culture, but the most important thing is to act on those numbers and create a dynamic environment.

Keep the technology up to date – This is a simple way for HR to keep up with technology and implement change throughout the organization. HR need to be working closely with change management experts to keep this consistent.


HR must keep up with technology if it wants to be successful in the future. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other technologies can be used to improve the experience of employees and keep them safe. HR can also use these technologies to keep up with compliance standards. HR departments need to keep up with the times and implement new technology wherever possible. This will help keep employees engaged and make it easier for them to do their work. It is also important that HR hires the right people who fit with the company’s culture and can drive their technology stack forwards.

Are you a purpose-led organisation?

Take our quiz to find out…