By James Coleman, Contributing Writer
This post builds upon an earlier blog, 10 Ways to Move Towards Modern HR
One of the beauties of cloud solutions is the opportunity they offer for immediate feedback towards product improvement. Oracle understands this challenge very well, having implemented thousands of enhancements over the past year—with the vast majority of them based on customer opinion. Never let it be said that your voice doesn’t matter.
The suggestions and ideas offered by customers are among the most important building blocks of a modern HR solution. Oracle’s ongoing dialogue with customers ensures that the resulting software resolves the real-world issues that HR professionals grapple with daily. The ability to implement these enhancements on an ongoing basis allows Oracle to continuously improve its products and give people more reasons to become customers. It’s a virtuous cycle.
The idea of continuous improvement isn’t a new one, but is instead famously associated with the Japanese auto industry beginning in the 1980s. Several major automakers applied the concept of kaizen—“change for the better”—in their daily operations and were rewarded with decades of growth and legions of lifelong customers. Kaizen is often technical in nature, but it’s hardly incompatible with people, with its definition suggesting “a humanized approach to workers and to increasing productivity.” A win-win, in other words.
Of course, from the car buyer’s perspective, every incremental improvement that improves safety, helps us stop more quickly, and eke out more mileage while producing fewer greenhouse gasses is an unqualified good. Incremental improvements lead to important innovations that add up to become really big deals. Case in point: the self-driving car.
Simpler, Smarter, and More Human
Is there an equivalent of the autonomous car in HR software’s future? Well, consider that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning help make autonomous cars possible and are now increasingly integrated into the most advanced HR solutions, and it’s certainly conceivable. HR solutions are not only becoming smarter, they’re being designed to make work easier on humans as well, freeing us from tedium. Oracle EVP of Applications Product Development Steve Miranda tells us, “There’s so much repetition we can reduce or eliminate. Basic tasks that offer lots of volume and opportunities for mistakes should become candidates for automation.”
AI is capable of processing massive volumes of data much faster and more accurately than humans and is itself being continuously improved. Automating rote tasks that include application filtering, payroll and benefits queries, onboarding, compliance, and performance monitoring should lead to major productivity increases and better position HR to focus more on strategic matters that place a premium on soft skills, such as career development and workforce planning.
Digital Transformation Impacts Everyday Human Experiences
When we talk about making work more human, we’re addressing issues such as encouraging innovation, business agility, and work’s impact on everyday experiences. Employees have grown accustomed to the benefits of modern technology in their private lives, so finding many of the same intuitive tools at work delights them. Outlooks brighten when systems are easy to use, information can be found quickly, and interactions become more consistent. Software that’s a joy to use encourages users to be self-sufficient and increases the completion rate of their transactions.
A 2018 Bersin by Deloitte study revealed that high-performing organizations are 3.5 times more likely to focus on user experience when designing HR offerings than low-impact organizations. Incorporating consumer-grade UX into an enterprise software platform increases user engagement, which is among HR’s highest priorities. A modern HR solution will allow users to use any front-end digital assistant to easily manage any self-service transaction, with voice and text queries as options. User-friendly software leads to employees spending less time wrestling with new technology and more time engaged in solving business problems.
HR Is Transitioning from an “Input-In” to a “Suggest-Out” System
In the wake of so many thousands of incremental improvements and innovations, what comes next? Oracle EVP Steve Miranda says that pervasive machine logic is getting very good at detecting patterns and anomalies. In recruiting and career development, this is leading to exciting developments such as best-option and best-fit recommendations and coursework suggestions based on where employees are in their careers. HR is no longer simply an “input-in” system, but is increasingly found pointing the way forward.
In Part 2, we’ll delve into the nitty-gritty of digital transformation and HR’s building blocks and talk about “future proofing” your organization. We’ll focus on soft skills versus hard skills, and examine automation’s looming opportunities and challenges.
Enjoyed this piece? Look out for part two of our series, where we cover the building blocks of modern HR.