The year-long ‘experiment’ of remote working has meant that many of us have had to rely on online tools, especially in HR, where HR professionals have been pulled every which way as they grapple with the sudden changes brought about by COVID-19.
But as the ‘new normal’ for many organisations looks set to be either socially-distanced or hybrid working*, at least in the short term, it is clear that HR needs to ensure they continue to hone their digital HR skills to cope with future demands.
Here are five easy ways HR can keep their digital skills up to date.
1. Familiarise yourself with your ‘tech stack’
One of the easiest ways to improve your tech skills is to work with what you already have. Taking the time to find out the purpose of each tool, the best way to use them, how they complement each other and how they fit around your work, can help you assess whether you’re using them to their maximum potential. Or, perhaps you’ll discover that they’re actually more of a hindrance, and it’s time to look for an alternate solution.
2. Take advantage of suppliers’ free resources
Even if you’ve used a particular digital platform for a long time, chances are there are tools that you find a bit tricky or confusing to work with or new features you’ve not had the chance to investigate. Your suppliers’ help portal will be the most likely place to find detailed and thorough explanations on how to use their product for common scenarios.
Some suppliers also offer free webinars and downloadable guides focused on how their system can help HR teams tackle their most pressing challenges, like facilitating hybrid working or keeping remote staff better engaged.
3. Digitise as much of your HR processes as possible
As an HR lead, you owe it to yourself to harness digital technologies in a way that works for you – as well as the rest of the business. How can you improve your digital HR skills if your day is taken up by manually updating multiple spreadsheets and processing hard-copy paperwork?
If you don’t have HR systems or are making do with ones that are inflexible and incomplete, now is the time to make the change. Modern HR systems, like Cezanne HR, are purposely designed to be easy to implement and cost-effective, allowing you to digitise most of the key admin tasks that take up much of HR’s time: updating employee information, processing payroll, calculating holiday leave entitlements, routing absence requests, onboarding new employees, and much more.
4. Seek out HR tech ‘gurus’
If you work in a small HR team (or maybe you are the HR team!), it can be hard growing your digital skills when you don’t have other people to learn from. You will find that there are HR tech thought leaders, like Josh Bersin and Steve Boese, that have their finger on the pulse and often share great insights into this dynamic industry.
HR networks are also a great source for advice and guidance. HR practitioners are generally happy to share experiences and tips on tackling different workplace issues. Posting questions on the CIPD forums and LinkedIn groups for HR professionals could help you find a fellow HR professional that has a similar context and dealt with very similar digital challenges as you.
5. Reach out to tech-savvy employees
Although you may be confident that introducing new online HR initiatives will make a positive contribution to the workforce, it is very easy for these initiatives to be met with a lukewarm reception.
So, why not involve employees you feel would welcome a new way of doing things or are comfortable with different digital tools? This will not only help you learn how employees interact with your current system daily, but you might discover innovative ways you can make further use of certain features. Understanding how they perceive digital HR processes can also provide great insights into what’s working and what should be improved.
Digital technologies are constantly evolving and with the right knowledge and understanding, will continue to be a useful tool in tackling HR’s most pressing challenges.