Human resources professionals needed to leverage people, processes and technology (PPT) to make the most of insights from people data, suggested a speaker at the Keka HR Conclave, Pune Chapter.
While speaking at a panel discussion on ‘HR tech stack for high-growth SMEs’, Chief Human Resource Officer – Piaggio India, Pooja Bansal, said, “As HRs we must be clear that technology is not going to do miracles. We need the right people(P) to operate it, processes (P) in place and the appropriate technology (T).”
Sometimes, too much data created confusion, Ms. Bansal went on. “So, when you’re using any product for analytics, be sure about the purpose it will serve for your company. Don’t just do it as it’s fashionable,” she advised the 150-member audience. And all the three PPTs need to be in sync, she added.
Keka HR, an SME technology leader, organized the conclave at ‘O Hotel’ in Pune. The day-long event, which is traveling to 13 Indian cities, brings together the best minds in the sector. This was the sixth edition of the conclave.
The gathering also included a knowledge hub where attendees were given access to practical HR use cases, case studies and books on HR management.
Tech to the aid
Pointing to the changing role of human resources professionals (HRs), George Cardoz, Head, HR & Talent Acquisition at Forbes Marshall, asked: “Is our mindset changing?”
There were a lot of opportunities and expectations, he said. “Yet we need to change gears to meet the expectations. Technology has come to our aid for this.”
Further, the world of analytics had changed, claimed Sumit Harwani, Head, Digital HR, Smiths Group plc. “We started with operational reporting and now we are moving towards predictive analytics. Still, operational reporting is relevant.”
In addition, he pointed out that in high growth markets, CHROs were not only asking what the company’s diversity percentage was but what it ought to be. “So, you don’t just rely on your own data but look at the market data to bring in insights and assign actions to people,” he suggested.
As for evaluating the success of a transformation program, Mr. Harwani suggested HRs must look at metrics they tried to achieve during and after the journey. “Both these come from analytics.”
Make people great
The focus of organizations had been to acquire great talent, said Keka HR Lead Process Strategist Kshitiz Sachan. “But in organizations which have shown growth, it’s also about making people great through various practices,” he highlighted.
User adoption defined an efficient people analytics system, Mr. Sachan. “Our surveys reveal that a software having more than five-to-six layers is difficult to adopt.”
But how do you quantify adoption? “It depends on the intuitiveness and the logic consistency of the technology,” he added.
An integrated human resource management system could help in optimizing people processes. “When you work on one system, you avoid duplication and reconciliation. But in the case of multiple platforms, there are chances of leakages, security breaches, and compliance and upgradation issues,” Mr. Cardoz explained.
Yet, challenges persist in the adoption of HR technologies. “Many leaders don’t know what they want the technology to achieve. Analytics tools must be agile enough to adjust to what processes demand and not what the technology dictates, ” said Mr. Harwani.
What’s more? Often, we don’t involve the right people on the ground to supply the right inputs, he said. “The ground reality may be different.”
Define the process
“Moreover, if you don’t define the process, you can’t expect a favorable outcome. All the stakeholders need to be consulted,” advised Mr. Cardoz.
As for data security and privacy on an analytics platform, Ms. Bansal said they should be of primary concern when choosing a suitable system. “You are going to share the data of individuals, so you should reflect on what needs to be shared,” she suggested.
“In Keka, the backend control is a do-it-yourself technology,” explained Mr. Sachan. “The data on the platform is also end-to-end encrypted at rest and in transit. We may be able to read only the statistics to help us design better solutions for you.”
And the confidentiality of data is controlled by organizations which opt for Keka. “You can allow selective access to certain leaders,” said Mr. Sachan.
However, is technology going to take over the job of HRs? Mr. Harwani believes it won’t. “Only 50% of the jobs that existed five years ago are there today. And the jobs that exist today didn’t exist earlier. So, there is a continuous churning of jobs,” he explained.
It depends on how we upgrade ourselves, he says. “If a robot is replacing someone, it is also creating a job for someone else who is managing it. So, are you going to pick the right technology to enhance your career?” he asked the HR professionals in the audience.
Age of cobots
Concurring with him, Mr. Cardoz felt skill upgradation was the key to staying relevant. “The future is of cobots. We need to start learning to live with robots by upskilling ourselves.”
Stressing the importance of data, Ms. Bansal said HRs won’t be heard without data. “We need to be equipped as HRs to read the data, interpret it and present it. For that, you need to know how to run analytics,” she said.
“Gone are the days when the HRs functioned on gut feeling. That’s not what CEOs or CFOs are looking for. If you want a seat at the business table, you need data,” she added.
“And when everyone else on the table is questioned on the return on investment, why shouldn’t HRs be,” she asked.
Tech is a necessity
“Technology is no longer an opportunity or choice but a necessity,” Ms. Bansal stated. “Research by Harvard Business Review suggests that by 2025 skills in HR and other fields will need a relook. Are we equipped for change so soon? Yes, we may be but with the right technology,” she added.
Responding to an audience query on what challenges SMEs might face in implementing a technology-driven HR system, Mr. Harwani said, “You need to define the business need for it, the outcomes you need from it. Ask yourself if you have the right processes in place.”
Whereas, Mr. Sachan listed data migration from excel sheets and manual registers to the systems among the major challenges. “There may be loss of data in the process and the logic defined in the data. Yet, Keka enables seamless migration.”
Get first book free!
In a bid to encourage reading, a mobile library at the conclave offers the first book free to attendees. Upon sharing a summary of the book on a QR code, the readers are eligible for a 50% discount on the retail price of the next book, deliverable at their doorstep.