As companies move into a COVID-19 endemic world, Human Resources (HR) will play a strategic function to ensure a smooth transition of the workforce and workplaces.
For that reason, 83% of HR leaders say that they are open to embracing digitalisation of HR processes. However, HR leaders’ top concern when it comes to digitalisation of HR processes is the fear of “not being able to adapt to new and complex skills” (voted by 50%).
These are some of the key findings uncovered in NTUC LearningHub (NTUC LHUB)’s recent Industry Insights 2021 survey on Human Resources, conducted in August 2021 with 200 professionals who are HR leaders and managers with hiring responsibilities.
HR leaders agree (89%) that their company recognises the need to digitalise HR processes to achieve stronger business outcomes. According to them, the most important function to digitalise is “compensation and benefits” (69%), followed by “onboarding and offboarding process” (58%), and “performance measurement and rewards” (53%).
When asked about the benefits of digitalisation, HR leaders cite “improve work efficiency” (67%), “allow time for more strategic high-value tasks” (54%) and “fewer human errors” (53%), as top benefits of digitalising HR processes.
However, only 19% of HR leaders report that their company has implemented digitalisation to a large extent, that is, more than 75% of HR processes. Despite the sluggish adoption of HR digitalisation at the workplace, there are plans to do so in the next two to three years.
HR professionals reveal that their company intends to invest in “robotic process automation” (42%), “cloud-based platforms” (38%), and “artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities” (38%).
In addition, key challenges are the “lack of budget to invest in digital transformation” (48%), “lack of in-house expertise” (48%)”, and “lack of required skillsets to adapt” (38%). To enable the growth of digitalisation of HR processes, companies are likely to “mix both training and hiring” (39%), “hire HR professionals with relevant digitalisation skills” (36%), and “provide skills training for existing HR employees” (16%).
With that, most of the HR leaders (98%) also agree that there is a greater need for HR practitioners with a mix of traditional and digitalisation skills.
Theresa Soikkeli, Chief Human Resources Officer at NTUC Enterprise, comments, “Today, HR’s role in any organisation is increasingly crucial, to ensure business success, through the management of the most valuable asset, that is, human capital.
“With the unpredictable business climate, HR must be strategic and develop a workforce that is resilient and agile. This is possible through reskilling and upskilling of the existing workforce towards digitalisation, and hiring the right talent to propel the business.”
NTUC LHUB’s Director of Human Capital, Sean Lim, adds, “Taking the step to upskill HR professionals is the start of inculcating a culture of continuous learning and utilising adaptive skills to keep up with constant technological developments.
“As the HR function will be at the forefront of digital transformation, HR professionals must also possess complementary competencies in the sociological and behavioural aspects to the function in order to harness the true power of data and technology. These higher-value roles position HR as a more proactive and strategic function.
“Thus, HR professionals will need to upskill and reskill their adaptive competencies as well in order to support a digital-enabled work-environment.”
Tham Chien Ping, Master Facilitator and Representative, Southeast Asia, at Society for Human Resource Management comments, “COVID-19 has shown us that many digital tools can in fact facilitate a lot of our work. This equalises digital skills and knowledge as it was something that the entire workforce had to embrace, regardless of age or ‘digital background’.
“As companies transform, HR will have to do the same as a partner to business and working closely together to mitigate gaps through digitalisation. This allows HR practitioners to transition into higher value roles such as consulting, counselling, and coaching, which very much require people-centric skills.”