5 Ways That Digital HR Is Changing People Management

Concise | Date: November 15, 2016 | 3 minute read


A range of digital HR tools are now helping managers lead happy and talented workforce's


Everywhere you look, digital technology is changing the way that people do business. Mobile devices, social media, the cloud and big data are opening up new possibilities every day.

Customers are benefiting from real-time responses, tailored product recommendations and more flexible services, while employees are boosting their productivity through remote working and intelligent insights. But one area that has yet to capitalise on the transition is digital HR.

The good news is that there are lots of ways that digital tools can make a difference. Here are some examples:

1. Making admin hassle-free

HR’s responsibilities include essential but laborious processes like helping staff book holidays and claim expenses. Digital HR software platforms, typically available as a service through the cloud, are now making these routine tasks easier and more intuitive.

A 2015 report by Accenture on digital HR cites a member of staff at a telecommunications company who was delighted with the user experience after a new cloud HR solution had gone live. “I managed to update my personal details and apply for annual leave in the blink of an eye. In my 15 years working in large corporations, I have never seen something so easy to navigate,” said the employee.

Digital HR software also makes significant efficiency savings possible, by decentralising tasks to employees and streamlining business processes. The same Accenture report found that a major financial services company achieved a 43% total cost of ownership reduction by adopting digital HR software, which allowed it to consolidate various legacy HR systems into one cloud-based solution.

2. Encouraging a culture of continuous improvement

Employee performance is traditionally reviewed at regular intervals – perhaps monthly, quarterly or annually. But digital technology is allowing businesses to move towards a culture of continuous assessment.

GE, for example, has introduced a performance development app that focuses on continuous improvement, providing employees with short-term goals, giving them the opportunity to request feedback and encouraging regular discussions with managers.

It’s important for businesses to understand that the feedback process works in both ways. Just as consumers can rate restaurants, hotels and taxis, so it's becoming increasingly common for companies to allow employees to provide anonymous feedback on their experiences.

Managers might fear that this will open a can of worms, encouraging complaints. But the reality is that we live in an increasingly open world. And if employees don’t feel that their views are being heard, they are likely to  turn to other outlets, like social networks and the Glassdoor website, to make their feelings known anyway.

But if employees feel comfortable raising issues early, it’s more likely that they can be resolved constructively. Digital tools used in-house can help businesses turn potential antagonisms into constructive conversations, by making it easy to provide and act on feedback.

3. Taking the pain out of recruitment

Job seekers are increasingly using mobile devices to find work. A Pew Research Center Study found that 28% of Americans have used a smartphone as part of a job search, including 53% of 18-29 year olds. A  year earlier, UK research by Indeed found that 63% of job seekers in the country are using mobile devices to look for jobs, and 50% would happily apply for a job via mobile if the process was made easier.

Investing in digital recruitment tools such as videos, online portals and analytics software can help provide a user-friendly experience to make sure the top talent isn't put off from applying – and the results can be striking. After developing a digital recruitment strategy, UPS saw the number of hires through its mobile and social recruitment channels increase from 19 to nearly 15,000 in three years.

4. Making work fun

Smart employers want their tools to be more than just effective - actually fun to use. NTT Data used a game called Ignite Leadership to help develop key leadership skills within the organisation. The game, enabled employees to find out more about management subject areas and roles.  Players could collaborate online with peers, get instant feedback and increase their visibility as leaders. It led to a 50% increase in employees successfully taking up leadership positions, compared to traditional training and coaching methods.

5. Empowering employees in their learning and development

Digital tools are helping to engage employees by enabling them to manage their own learning and development. A report from Bersin by Deloitte looked at experiences of a mobile learning app that lets people take online professional development courses, share tools and websites, and create videos about their programming experiences.

Within six months, it had become “the most popular learning experience in the company” and was significantly contributing to employee engagement and excitement.


  • Digital HR software makes routine tasks like booking holidays or claiming expenses easier and more intuitive for staff.
  • Smart employers want their tools not just to be effective, but also fun to use.
  • Investing in digital recruitment tools such as videos, online portals and analytics software can help provide a user-friendly experience to make sure the top talent isn't put off from applying.

Find out how digital HR can help you get the best out of your team. Download: Attract Top Talent and Drive Value from Your Employees: The Business Leader's Guide to IT Strategy

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