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Building the Ultimate HR Tech Stack - part 1

If it was not settled before, our work experience during lockdown certainly settled it: Tech is the way we work. There is no more debate around 'humans vs machines'. Our work is 'humans and machines'. Our productivity is intimately linked to the tech tools at our disposal (and our skills in using these tools). Our ability to connect with co-workers and collaborate as teams are augmented by technology.
Elmen Lamprecht is an executive consultant at 21st Century
Elmen Lamprecht is an executive consultant at 21st Century

One of the outcomes of this ever intensifying workplace collaboration between humans and machines is that HR tech has become a very important aspect of the human resource function. HR’s ability to lead, serve and support is dependent on the HR tech stack it has to assist its day-to-day functions.

This article is the first of a three-part series that will help CHRO’s identify the elements they need to build their own Ultimate HR Tech Stack.

Figure 1 – HR Ultimate Tech Stack created by Elmen Lamprecht
Figure 1 – HR Ultimate Tech Stack created by Elmen Lamprecht
click to enlarge

HR tech as driver of business strategy

People are, in most cases, an organisation’s most expensive asset and definitely the most valuable in terms of competitive advantage. This triggered the evolution of the HR function from focusing on compliance and administration to a very important strategic leader, assisting the organisation to prepare for the future.

HR is there to provide guidance during the development of the business strategy, but once formed HR also becomes a strategic partner in implementing the business strategy. Therefore, the business strategy informs the HR strategy. Once the HR strategy is formed, HR needs the correct tools to successfully implement both the business and HR strategy across the entire organisation.

This is where your HR tech stack comes in. Every organisation is unique and therefore every strategy and its implementation are similarly unique. In support, the tools needed to implement the strategy must be relevant and related to the distinctive organisation. Just like organisations cannot simply copy and paste the strategy and operational processes of other organisations, one cannot simply copy and paste an HR tech stack.

Building the Ultimate HR Tech Stack - part 1

Two groups working in one ecosystem

Every HR tech stack has two basic groups of tech working together. The first group is the foundation and contains all the tech you need to digitalise and automate your HR processes. This is the ‘Transactional HR’ group. The second group acts as a layer on top of the first and contains the tech you need to make work for every employee more seamless, more enjoyable and more inspirational. This is the ‘Employee Experience’ group. The two groups have very different focus areas, but they have three things in common.

Firstly, both groups serve the employee throughout the employee life cycle. The Ultimate HR Tech Stack must support every transaction between the employee and the organisation from the first day to the last. It also must make sure that the employee has an inspirational experience with the employer brand from the job search as a candidate to becoming an alumni.

Additionally, both categories of tech must achieve three main goals:

  • Goal 1: Improve social interaction between employees and teams. Organisations have learnt that having the tech in place so that people can do their work from anywhere is not enough to foster innovation and creativity. That can only come from true human connectedness. Every HR technology you employ must be able to contribute towards the formation and growth of binding and bonding relationships across the organisation.

  • Goal 2: Improve employee productivity. HR technology must improve the day-to-day work of the employee. If interacting with the tech breaks the employee’s concentration, or if complying with a tech driven admin tasks do not save time and resources, then that specific technology should be discarded.

  • Goal 3: Personalisation. Employees expect the same quality interaction with their employers as they expect from the brands they interact in. Dieter Veldsman calls this the impact of ‘Personalised Consumerism’. Every HR technology you utilise must have the ability to personalise the employee interaction via customisation and artificial intelligence.

Lastly, the two categories will influence and supplement each other. They work as two parts of the same ecosystem (as illustrated by the red arrows in the graphic). For example: Employee listening (part of the ‘Employee Experience’ group) will lead to more enriched data about every employee that can be used in advanced analytics (part of the ‘Transactional HR’ group). In the same way, advanced analytics will lead to a better understanding of each employee and in so doing help us create a better employee experience (eg. better workflows).

This article is the first of three in a series around the Ultimate HR Tech Stack. Keep your eyes open for more articles.

About Elmen Lamprecht

Elmen Lamprecht is an executive consultant at 21st Century

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