HR trends

HR & payroll innovation drives business success

by Jonan Bosschaerts

Why innovating for the future of work must never stop

It’s no secret that HR is experiencing massive disruption. This is due largely to the consumerization of technology and how this has changed us as people. The digital experience we have almost anywhere but at work is making us intolerant of clunky processes. This needs to be addressed by employers to ensure the highest levels of employee engagement and productivity can be achieved.

This same advancement in technology has pushed many organizations to expand globally. Our clients often tell us that they’ve had to change their business models to maintain the sales, skills and talents they need to be successful.

Often, this means reducing headcount in one location, moving staff to another and recruiting more in new territories and can result in a highly complex workforce and business structure. This is made only more so when the organization’s growth has evolved from merger or acquisition. 

Often the only solution is to centralize and automate processes, something we’re helping these businesses to do, not only with our existing products and services, but through ongoing innovation.

Addressing the workplace complexity

In each NGA HR Innovation Hub we’re experimenting with the latest technologies to see if and how these can improve the efficiency of HR and payroll services and solutions2019 will see many of the technologies we’ve literally plucked from the realms of science fiction transformed into smart, manageable and integrated tools designed to drive efficiency of data, analytics and artificial intelligence in the practice of HR.

So far, much of the innovation we’ve delivered has been transparent to users.  All have been designed to address specific challenges faced by clients daily. Most have ‘simply’ enabled the increased performance, efficiency and assured compliance these clients need to run tight ships. Each, however, has been a breakthrough in the use and application of technology in HR and payroll and each has been of great excitement and a huge achievement for our teams. 

In the next year we will announce several higher profile innovation breakthroughs. Currently, we’re moving these from the NGA HR labs, through sandbox to commercialization.

We’ll make a lot more noise about these because they’re game changers for international businesses. Watch this space for newsIn the meantime, here are some sneak previews.

Artificial intelligence & machine learning

As a business, we’ve started to use artificial intelligence and machine learning in our BPO payroll services. Automatic HR ticket allocation is much faster than is possible with pure manual processing and has the added benefit of operating 24-hours a day. Robots never take a break! Employees also love the fast resolution that automated HR ticket processing enables.

Multi-lingual Bots

At the moment, our HR Bots ‘speak’ five languages. More will be added in 2019. The ‘intelligence’ of the Bots will also get greater the more the algorithms learn to spot patterns and predict outcomes. From here, we will ‘teach’ the Bots to extract requests specific to an individual employee and respond as in a natural language scenario, but this is still a way off. 

So too is completely replacing agents with pure technology. Job roles will change as we move into the future of work and Bots will step into some transactional roles, but they will also become instrumental in the search for the human skills needed in the new economy. For many years to come we will be needed to build and to manage the robots

Artificial intelligence is perfect for talent acquisition and management. It can scan gigabytes of data in seconds and then match existing employees to job openings, highlighting where hiring is required. Training can be mapped against employees to ensure an organization’s talent pool remains populated and evolves to fulfill next-gen skills needed by a business as it evolves. All very clever and all in real-time.

Blockchain reality

We’re now past the initial evaluation of blockchain at NGA HR and into the first stages of business application. In January we will announce a technology partnership, one that will see the potential integration of blockchain into our services. We see huge potential for the technology in all transactional HR and payroll processes. 

My colleague, Anita Lettink has written a series of blogs on the likely applications of which is well worth reading and I am looking forward to sharing with you the outcomes of the distributed ledger technology pilot we’re currently working on when this concludes in March. 

Making sense of HR analytics

In the next year, our first HR and payroll analytics solutions will go live in client organizations. We’re currently completing an advanced HR analytics pilot and the results speak clearly for themselves. By pooling your employee and workforce data into a single store and then analyzing this, you can make better and faster workforce decisions. 

Data can be turned into insights and used to drive measurable actions, keeping every member in the boardroom happy and ensuring that business objectives can be achieved. I almost make this sound easy, but it’s not! The solutions we’re developing will remove the barriers currently preventing many businesses from drawing on this free and very accurate business intelligence. For now this data lies dormant.

Besides our own solutions, we’re working with our technology partners to enable people analytics; to simplify the integration of HR platforms with wider people processes within organizations. This way data can be put to work and efficiency gains achieved. 

This is just a very quick look into the exciting work of the NGA HR Innovation Hubs and teams around the world. 2019 promises some game changing HR and payroll solution and service launches from NGA HR.