Covid triggers rapid rise of HR Tech

Managing people is a challenge even in normal times. In a period of extraordinary disruption that has impacted every sector, every organisation and every professional, managing teams is probably the single biggest issue after revenue losses. 

Mature companies that are looking beyond the crisis are leaning heavily on HR tech to keep their flock together while also ensuring productivity of teams. 

Work from home is easier for individuals than organisations. Managements are reorienting their processes and strengthening connectivity to simulate a virtual office environment. 

Companies are using tech tools for managing pay, tracking performance and learning modules. Much of this was being done manually though some parts were being done digitally in office premises.  Since the Covid crisis, companies have had to sharply scale up the use of HR tech at a short notice. Companies with 500-1,000 employees or more have gone through a steep learning curve to manage their teams. 

HR tech company PeopleStrong has been aggressively rolling out its solutions in recent weeks. The company opened its intelligent platform Zippi and more than 150 companies signed up within two weeks. They will get 90 days free access to the platform for managing their internal systems. A large insurance company with over 13,000 employees has been managing its teams using this platform.

Until the lockdown, the company’s payroll and performance data was kept on their intranet. This was difficult to use and access from remote locations. PeopleStrong reconfigured their systems in four days so that the HR teams could manage the employees from their home locations. The insurance company was able to complete its performance review and is ready for extended lockdown situation. 

 
The company says that most organisations are now demanding that cross-functional, cross-departmental and remote teams should be able to communicate in real-time in either one-on-one or in group settings. 

While HR tech has been gaining traction over the years, the Covid-19 crisis will accelerate the adoption of new tools. 

Even without Covid-19, the growth projected for HR was robust. The HR tech market globally is expected to be about $34 billion by 2021. Within this, about $3.6 billion will be from Asia, including India. And $20 billion will be human capital management (HCM) solutions in this market, according to a PeopleStrong study. The rest of the market will be for companies in the gig economy. 

“Covid-19 is going to push businesses for adopting cloud and mobile HR tech. While many organisations have moved to SAAS HR products, many others were delaying it. Large scale work from home has established the need for new age tech. Companies will now convert from on-premises enterprise tech to cloud solutions,” says Prakash Rao, founding member and chief experience officer of PeopleStrong. 

While businesses will revive over time, their internal processes may have changed forever in a post Covid-19 world. Crises tend to force behaviour change within organisations. Often such behaviour is absorbed in the system and the incentive to return to previous processes dissipates. 

Already, there are reports of companies deciding to reduce office space and enhance flexi hours and flexi work locations. White collar employees will not be expected to be at their desk all the time but be physically available only for important meetings. 

For companies, the per employee cost on real estate will reduce while flat organisational systems will be encouraged. Strict hierarchies may be replaced by partnership structures. All this will be fuelled by the rising adoption of HR tech and cloud-based systems. Human resource management will not be the same again. 



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