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The Human Factor: Where HR Software and Personal Interaction Meet

HR software is becoming more popular, thanks to its ability to provide data and analysis on almost any HR-related topic. With the right platform, you can manage employee payroll, track employee productivity and performance, and even scout for new recruits to add to the team.

Unfortunately, HR software can’t automate everything; you still need human beings in your HR department to add a personal factor to the workplace experience. Finding that intersection between automation and personal execution is essential if you want to succeed in today’s world of technology.

What Technology Can’t Do

To figure out where this nexus point exists for your business, you need to understand the limits of technology. For the time being, no HR platform can accomplish the following:

  • Evaluating subjective factors. Machines are adept at processing large volumes of quantitative data points and coming up with an overall analysis, but they’re less effective at evaluating subjective factors. For example, they may be able to tell you that an employee is closing 15 percent fewer tasks than usual in your project management software, but it takes a human being to note that it’s due to an employee’s drop in passion—and take action on that point.
  • Having a conversation. HR chatbots may be able to answer worker inquiries 40 to 70 percent of the time, but those responses aren’t capable of navigating the nuances of a real human conversation. Machines are ideal for answering simple questions, like “are we off work on Memorial Day?” But when it comes to more complex questions, like “why is the company cutting our benefits program?”, a simplistic answer isn’t sufficient; only a human can present the empathy necessary to satisfy employees.
  • Making workers comfortable. Machines also can’t give employees the comfort they feel in a natural office setting. In a comfortable chair, sitting across from a human representative, an employee will be far more likely to speak openly and disclose sensitive information than they would striking up a conversation with a chatbot.
  • Negotiating conflicts. Humans are also more adept at navigating conflicts than machines. Thanks to empathy, facial expressions, and tone, a human HR rep can quickly reshape the mood of a given environment, and work with multiple individuals to get closer to a compromise. As long as workplace conflicts exist, human reps will be better at solving them.
  • Meeting employee preferences. Despite the growing capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, most people still prefer interacting with other people over interacting with a machine. This is important for several segments of HR responsibilities, from recruiting through retention. If you switch to favor automation too heavily, you may alienate your best workers or significantly decrease team morale.

Finding the Balance

Despite these limitations, HR automation and data analytics software are still some of the most important tools for your department; without them, you may be at a loss for calculating productivity and profitability, and you’d be forced to go through manual tasks that could otherwise be executed quickly by a machine.

The intersection point is going to depend on your business’s current makeup and needs. How many employees do you have? What is your work culture like? How do your people respond to chatbots, automation, and quantitative-based models?

In any case, having the right HR software is a promising step forward for the entire department—and your entire company. Make sure you check out SAP’s unique lineup of Human Resources software if you’re ready for an upgrade in your own department.

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