Technology is turning out to be a game-changer in the field of human resource (HR), with employers digitising systems ranging from hiring to performance management.
Besides improving efficiency and employee engagement, it opens up new sources of data to help decision-making. This is vital, experts said, as businesses adapt to industry disruptions and a more manpower-lean environment.
"SMEs (small and medium- sized enterprises) that need to be quick and lean should harness technology to manage their people processes and costs," said Spring Singapore's group director for human capital and capabilities Christophane Foo.
HR technology was highlighted by Second Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo as one of the areas under the new HR Industry Manpower Plan launched on July 10.
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At the basic level, using technology to streamline administrative work, like payroll processing, frees HR staff for more strategic work.
They can use the time saved to explore other areas of the business, said Singapore Human Resources Institute president Erman Tan. For instance, if they understand how disruptive technology will impact the business and lead to retrenchment, they can train staff ahead for the new technology.
"It saves money, it's good for the company's reputation, and it lets staff know the company cares for them and their career development," he added.
SMEs that need to be quick and lean should harness technology to manage their people processes and costs.
MS CHRISTOPHANE FOO, Spring Singapore's group director for human capital and capabilities.
Current technology broadly covers sourcing employees, compensation and benefits, and talent management, said ManpowerGroup Singapore's country manager Linda Teo. An applicant tracking system, like ManpowerGroup's Roma, can sieve through job applications and build a database of talent for the organisation's future manpower needs, she added.
Educators have noticed the shift too. Private school PSB Academy is reviewing its HR management curriculum to include wearable technology and big data analytics, which can be used to improve talent acquisition and training, said its School of Business and Management lecturer Salitha Nair Subramaniam.
Wearable tech can shed light on the health challenges of the workforce, she added.
As awareness of HR technology grows, larger solutions providers such as software company Sage and data analytics firm Tableau, as well as local HR tech start-ups, are rising to meet demand.
Another example is employee engagement platform EngageRocket, which gathers and analyses employee feedback for clients. The start-up's co-founder and chief executive Leong Chee Tung said more than 70 companies have signed up in the last nine months.
"Technology can create in real time the same level of analytics, sophistication and scientific rigour to managing people as is already applied to managing finance and customers," he said.
Cashback shopping platform ShopBack has been using EngageRocket's services to survey its 120 employees on staff engagement, said Mr Alex Teo, who oversees ShopBack's people operations.
ShopBack has saved about 25 per cent of time taken to gather feedback, he added.
Companies keen to use HR technology can apply for Spring's Capability Development Grant, or use its shared services scheme to outsource their HR operations to service providers.