HR risks tech overload following pandemic software surge

An increase in the number of digital tools used by businesses for people-related tasks is causing discord among employees and putting HR at risk of overload.

According to a new report from HR software company Personio, 44% of HR decision-makers in the UK and Ireland have seen an increase in the number of programs they use since the outbreak of the pandemic.

On average, people teams are now using six different tools for people-related tasks and insights. In large businesses, the average rises to eight.

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Ben Kiziltug, head of Northern Europe at Personio, said the rise in digitisation could be putting HR teams at risk.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “While much of this digitisation has been incredibly helpful for HR teams, for example automating processes and giving them valuable people analytics, the fact that HR professionals now report using an average of six tools for people processes alone suggests that they too are at risk of digital overload.”

Over a third (37%) of employees in the report said they use too many different digital tools at work and a quarter (25%) of HR professionals said the number of systems is frustrating employees.

Nearly the same (24%) percentage of HR professionals said they are unnecessarily slowing down work.

The people & business service team at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) warned of the margin of error that comes from having multiple tools at work.

An ONS spokesperson told HR magazine: “The old adage of compile it once, use multiple times, holds very true of digital tools as well. The more streamlined your tools are, the more interconnected, the better reporting outcome.

“Using multiple tools means the potential for error is much higher.

“Having a single core dataset used consistently, with clear time stamps, keeps data relevant and discussions/decisions focused on progress and adaptation, without being diverted to disputing data quality," they said.

Though system consolidation can be costly, Kiziltug said HR leaders considering an improvement should not lose sight the benefits it could bring to productivity and growth. 

“While there can be initial investment required, the payoff is well worth it, and it doesn’t need to be costly,” he said.

“It’s incumbent on technology providers to think through how they integrate their services with other platforms used by customers to make processes as smooth as possible.”

Personio’s survey is based on the views of 500 HR decision-makers and 2,002 workers across the UK and Ireland.