The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people work, prompting the need for WorkTech -- technology or a virtual workplace so employees can do their jobs efficiently.
WorkTech is a combination of collaboration, productivity and HR programs. It is meant to improve the employee experience by using technology on the job or during the recruitment process. By promoting collaboration, WorkTech connects teams to improve productivity, increase communication and lower costs.
HR is shifting to technology for recruiting, managing internal employees and offering employee self-service tools, such as applying for reimbursement, updating personal information and accessing company benefits. HR tools are just one component of WorkTech that helps employees do their jobs efficiently.
What is WorkTech?
WorkTech is a generalist term that describes everything used in a digital workplace, including collaboration, performance management, cloud storage, payroll and productivity tools. It is also a movement that describes the future of work and how, why and where people will do their jobs.
WorkTech includes HR technology -- such as applicant tracking systems, resume screening tools and recruiting chatbots -- that enables HR departments and employees to collaborate and do their jobs effectively. The goal of WorkTech is to give employees access to various HR services through their own system and not entirely through the department.
There are a variety of collaboration tools, such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Facebook Workplace. Moreover, there are HR tools, such as recruiting systems, learning systems and hiring systems. Productivity tools include code and design tools, Salesforce, and CRM and ERP systems. WorkTech brings these technologies together.
Why is WorkTech necessary?
Several trends have come together to necessitate WorkTech, including remote work, HR's more strategic role and the number of tools employees use on a day-to-day basis. Because of these shifts in HR and work arrangements, advanced technology is needed.
Here are some reasons why WorkTech is necessary for employees to do their jobs:
- HR's changing role. HR has evolved from a support function to a more strategic role in finding talent and ensuring employees can work at their full potential. To make this shift, HR needs technology to handle support roles, such as benefits enrollment, payroll, and employee training and development.
- Employee experience improvement. Employee experience is one of the biggest forces driving WorkTech. Employees can feel more connected with social collaboration tools even when they are not in-office employees. Onboarding can also be improved with WorkTech because it creates a consistent approach for all employees, no matter the position or if the employee is remote.
- Software efficiency. New technology can increase efficiency within an organization. It's easy to create and update software to meet the needs of a company. With more companies creating software programs, companies have the choice to turn to the product that works best for their goals and objectives.
- Future of the workplace. With more people moving to remote work, there has been a shift to retain employees through engagement and culture -- all of which is a part of WorkTech. Remote work has changed the way people do their jobs, and WorkTech helps them stay connected by making it easier to find the needed tools and information in a central location.
- Talent acquisition. To attract employees, HR needs a strategic role in the planning process for talent acquisition. WorkTech can assist through the hiring process with talent acquisition software to help track and find applicants. Remote work is not bound by geography, so having the tools to help find employees is vital when searching through a larger number of applicants.
Downsides of WorkTech
With all the benefits of WorkTech, there are a few considerations for companies to address. Technology can make employee jobs easier, but there are some downsides:
- Limits of tools. Tools have limits to what they can do and may not solve all a company's issues. A company needs to know the goals for HR -- whether it's to improve employee engagement or shift the role of HR to maximize the benefits of WorkTech.
- Too many options. It can be overwhelming to find the right service or software because there are so many choices. Then, implementation requires knowing which program employees use for what task and where they should be located. Depending on how many software programs a company has, it can be overwhelming to know where to go for a certain project or task.
- Lack of human contact. People want to be treated as people, and tools can make HR departments lose that human touch during interactions. The lack of human interaction can hit any aspect of the employment cycle, including job applications and veteran employees. WorkTech makes all answers cut and dry when sometimes they may not be and require a person to make a decision.
How WorkTech affects employees
WorkTech moves employees to a more centralized location instead of juggling between multiple programs. They can get help completing needed forms, updating information, receiving performance feedback, requesting reimbursement, updating timesheets and finding a training program from one location. Employees won't have to worry about what system they need or who they should contact for tasks that can be automated.
HR should not be a distraction for work, but an enabler so employees can get everything they need, no matter where they are. These tools are much easier to use and help teams work more efficiently.
In previous models, the collection of work was moved from one tool to another, such as a new-hire location and employee location. With the shift to WorkTech, the HR part can be done automatically from one program. These changes are necessary as employees become more reliant on technology for work and HR more responsible for making people productive.