How Digital Technology Is Changing HR's Structure

Written by:
Kyla Stewart
October 12, 2021

The idea of HR and digital technology working in unison seems counterintuitive. Yet, with the right planning and execution, technology and human resources management work together for a happier, more productive workplace.

Digital technology is reshaping businesses from retail stores up to the C-suites. Here's how digital technology will change HR's structure.

Centralizing Systems and Processes

While human resources is typically a single department within an organization, its reach extends through all factions. As an example, hiring and onboarding involve collaboration with management in the hiring division.

Unfortunately, many of the systems used in different areas of a business were traditionally in silos. Then, cloud technology changed everything.

No more pen and paper. We've got HR software now.

Modern business systems are centralized and streamlined, especially those pertaining to HR. Rather than breeding inconsistency and a high margin of error by re-entering data in several systems, HR managers can now streamline everything from applicant tracking systems to benefits administration software for HR strategies.

Removing Repetitive and Tedious Tasks

Automation is a type of digital technology that has impacted businesses at every level. Within HR, automation is removing repetitive and tedious tasks to free up time for higher-value work. Consider employee onboarding: the first day of employment is often dedicated to reading policies, getting log-in information, and signing paperwork. HR professionals traditionally handle the coordination and administrative tasks for this process.

With automated technology and streamlined systems, that workload and timeline are greatly reduced. Access to cloud technology and onboarding protocols empower employees to take ownership of the process and complete paperwork done before their first day. This approach enhances the employee experience and increases productivity.

Using Progressive AI-Driven Hiring Processes

Businesses have been exploring ways to minimize hiring bias for years. As digital technology and machine learning evolve and become more accessible, overcoming unconscious bias during hiring is improving. 

HR can use science (AI) to increase fairness in hiring.

AI-driven hiring tools implement pre-screening based on keywords when reviewing applications. Many programs will also hide the individual's name, so the hiring manager has no insight into their race or gender. It could also hide other details that trigger an unconscious bias, like their location or where they completed school. 

The use of these tech-driven tools helps create a diverse, inclusive workplace. While it takes more than an AI-driven hiring tool to create a welcoming company culture, it's a step in the right direction.

Changing Compliance and Policy Needs

Digital technology in our daily lives also impact HR's role within an organization. Within the past 15 years, we've evolved from flip phones to carrying supercomputers in our pockets. Social media has exploded in parallel. These changes impact our lives at work.

As digital technology evolves, HR must always be vigilant in updating policies and ensuring compliance regarding cybersecurity and employee conduct online. On the other hand, it's easier to stay abreast of regulation updates and legalities to comply with recent legislation.

Managing Flexible and Remote Work Environments

Remote work: the new norm for many, inside and outside the HR profession.

Many of us have experienced significant changes to how we work over the past two years. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to a work-from-home environment, and some businesses don't plan to return to a traditional office.

For HR professionals, this means not only navigating newly remote and flexible work environments, but the stressors and challenges the pandemic brought. This dramatic change, made possible by advancements in digital technology, will alter the structure of HR within an organization.