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Developing technologies have led to a sea change in how we execute HR functions. Like every other area of business HR professionals are considering how technology can help solve certain challenges and simplify processes that were tedious and time-consuming. Before we learn more about the latest HR tech trends, let’s understand the main functions that human resources are responsible for in a modern organization.

What are the main functions of HR?

Broadly speaking there are 5 main functions in HR:

  • Recruitment & Staffing
  • Training & Development
  • Employee Management
  • Payroll & Compensation
  • Health & Safety
  • Recruitment & Staffing:

    This includes all activities required to find and hire the right resources for a business. Resources may be full-time or part-time employees or contractors. This area of HR also includes all activities that are conducted during the onboarding and exit of an employee. For example: creating exit documents, terminating contracts, conducting orientation sessions, etc.

    Training & Development:

    The HR department is also responsible for ensuring new employees receive the proper training required to perform their job roles effectively. All businesses must invest in the continuous development of their human resources so that attrition remains low and they can get more value from employees through their life cycle. It is HR’s responsibility to create developmental programs and organize advanced training sessions for existing employees.

    Employee Management:

    Payroll & Compensation: One of the most important functions HR performs is processing the organization’s payroll and ensuring all employees receive their due compensation. Not getting paid on time or getting paid incorrectly can lead to strong negative reactions from employees.

    Health & Safety:

    A function of HR that has come into strong focus over the past year is employee health and safety. The HR department is responsible for ensuring that the organization is meeting all the required health and safety guidelines. When clear guidelines are not available, HR must figure out how to keep business operations going without compromising on the health and safety of employees.

    HR Tech trends and how they impact the main functions of HR

    Cloud-based software and tools, artificial intelligence, automation, etc are all developments in technology that have changed the way businesses operate. The global pandemic and increase in remote working have sped up the adoption of these new technologies by businesses. Below are some HR tech trends that have had a significant impact on HR functions:

    Increased use of cloud-based HR software

    Even though vaccinations around the world are increasing, remote working is here to stay. Both businesses and employees have recognized the significant benefits of being able to work from anywhere. Companies like Amazon, Dropbox, and Facebook have all announced plans to make remote working a permanent part of their culture. Facebook plans to let 50% of its employees work remotely forever[1].

    To manage remote employees effectively an increasing number of businesses are turning o cloud-based SaaS solutions. These tools allow businesses to manage the entire employee life cycle remotely, from onboarding to exit. SaaS solutions also help ensure proper compliance and reduce the chance of human error in key functions like payroll and compensation. Instead of manually checking time card data and referring to multiple spreadsheets, SaaS tools allow the HR department to process payroll more efficiently.

    Artificial intelligence for talent management

    An increasing number of businesses are making use of AI to find and recruit the right talent. According to a study by Sage People 24% of companies are using AI-powered software in their recruitment processes. Artificial intelligence can be used to automate resume screening and to schedule interviews with top candidates. Some companies are even making use of emotion recognition technology during video interviews to identify how passionate a candidate is and whether they will be the right fit for the organization.

    Though there are still some concerns about how and when artificial intelligence should be used, it is clear that an increasing number of businesses will be implementing the technology in their talent management and recruitment process.

    Virtual learning and development

    Remote working posed a challenge for implementing learning and development programs, particularly at organizations that relied on outdated infrastructure and did not have the tools in place to execute their programs for remote employees. As more organizations commit to long-term remote working, an employee’s location is becoming less important. This means that resources can be from and work from anywhere. Hence, HR departments need the right tools and software in order to deliver training programs to remote employees. Learning via video content, gamification, and interactive modules is an HR tech trend that will continue to grow in 2021. Hence an increasing number of businesses are subscribing to cloud-based learning and development tools.

    The developments in HR tech change the way businesses operate and can have a significant impact on your work and your business. Subscribe to the newsletter and find out about the latest HR technology news as it happens.


    1. Feb 2021, E. Courtney, 23 Companies Switching to Long-Term Remote Work, Flexjobs [available online] [accessed Apr 2021]