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HR Myths: HR Tech Removes the Human Touch

If you ask any HR professional why they got into the field, you’ll likely get a response similar to the following: “I wanted to help people.”

Many HR professionals pursue the field because they understand the value of the human element in business. Without forward-thinking talent management, diligent compliance-keeping and sensitive responses to personnel issues, much of what an organization needs to do can’t get done. It’s no secret that people are the key differentiator for businesses, and HR is key in managing that resource.

So it’s understandable when those pros are concerned that technology may undermine the interpersonal aspect of HR. However, when used the right way, HR tech can give them the time and freedom to interact more effectively with employees on a personal level.

Even the fax machine was once cutting-edge

Humans and technology can (and already do) accomplish more together than humans alone. And we’re not talking about artificial intelligence or uploading your brain to the cloud.

The tech you already use to do your job more effectively is everywhere you look: your smartphone, laptop, email, voicemail – just to name a few. The digital calendar you access across all your devices. Notifications ensuring you leave early enough to make it to that across-town meeting. Allowing remote employees to participate in meetings and engage with their teammates in a visual way.

These features don’t do your job for you, but they sure make it easier for you to do the parts of your job that really matter.

Your employees don’t think it’s weird, we promise

Speaking of ubiquitous technology: 81% of Americans own a smartphone (and that jumps to more than 90% of those under 50 years old), according to Pew Research. Outside of work, they are using technology to book a flight, order dinner for delivery and keep up with family members online.

Employees of all generations are comfortable using apps to video chat with family, message friends around the world, play word games with their buddies and manage their fantasy sports leagues. In other words, they use tech to connect with other people in almost all other aspects of their lives. Isn’t it time your HR department did the same?

Rather than technology getting in the way of human-to-human interaction, good HR tech facilitates it.

Tech can give you more time to be human

Of course, not all tech is created equal. If employees have limited functionality in their HR app, or it’s not easy to use, or it constantly crashes, or they have to use multiple passwords to get to their own information, you have a problem. Employees will definitely see that tech as a hindrance to communication.

But an app that lets them access all their HR and payroll info, and is easy to use? They’re much more likely to use it, and use it to communicate with HR.

Similarly, if all your HR tech’s tools aren’t stored within a true single database – from an applicant tracking system to COBRA notifications – do they really make your job any easier? If you’re still entering employee information into multiple systems or keeping a list of passwords stashed in your desk drawer, that technology is falling short.

Just having HR tech, period, isn’t enough. You need to have tech that helps your HR team keep up with the onslaught of requests and tasks they manage in a day, and at the same time is intuitive enough that your employees consider it a tool to help them tackle everyday life.

That’s the kind of technology that lets HR professionals focus on the relational and strategic parts of the field – you might say, the most uniquely human parts of their role.