A recent report from Gartner, Inc. found that companies are investing in technology as a way to tackle workforce issues.
Notng that persistently high inflation, intense competition for talent and global supply constraints continue, Seyda Berger-Böcker, director of Gartner's HR practice said that "instead of opting for simple cost-cutting measures, leading organizations are focusing on growth and determining which investments will drive competitive advantage in the year ahead.”
The top areas of investment this year are staffing and recruiting, total rewards and learning and development.
To optimize costs and drive growth, the advisory group suggests company leaders take action on the following investment imperatives:
One area that technology can trigger cost savings is in administration, which has seen a drastic uptick in cost due to pandemic-related tasks such as vaccine mandates, remote work arrangements and contact tracing programs.
“Our research shows yearly spend on HR administration increased from $155 per employee in 2021 to $194 per employee in 2022,” said Berger-Böcker. “This is alarming considering HR functions have been trying to reduce the burden of administrative tasks through the use of technology.”
Leaders can create efficiencies by implementing human-centric technology solutions – such as skills management or learning experience platforms –to maximize employee experience, retention, collaboration and performance outcomes.
Staffing and Recruiting
Organizations continue to face talent shortages as competition expands due to accelerated digitalization and the adoption of remote work. Leaders are now tasked with redefining hiring needs to access larger pools of talent and meet hiring demands.
Recruiting technology can help as digitalization has pushed organizations to better automate parts of the hiring process. Leaders are now expanding that investment to all areas of the candidate pipeline, including candidate attraction, sourcing and experience, as well as talent analytics to navigate today’s complex labor market.
Gartner predicts technologies with the most potential to aid recruiting operational excellence are AI-enabled sourcing and screening capabilities and candidate relationship management platforms.
As organizations struggle with cost constraints, leaders face the challenging task of providing additional financial support to employees affected by today’s cost of living increase, while avoiding a wage-price spiral. This is significant as respondents cited total rewards as the third-largest investment area for 2023 – moving up from fifth in 2022.
One way companies are boosting total rewards investments is by focusing on equitable reward and recognition programs, pay transparency, and well-being programs. This includes investments in areas such as compensation planning technologies, pay equity tools, or smart wearable technology to monitor employee stress and fitness levels.
“HR leaders must recognize that obligations, stressors, and concerns from employees’ personal lives will reverberate in their working lives, potentially affecting performance and productivity,” said Hanne Nieberg, director of the Gartner HR practice. “Total rewards strategies must holistically support employees as people – not just as workers – which includes physical and mental well-being.”
Learning and Development
Skills needs continue to change rapidly, requiring the learning and development (L&D) function to take on an expanded role in supporting employees’ expectations for a more human-centric employee experience.
However, L&D offerings are not keeping up with the pace of change. Gartner research shows less than half (45%) of employees agree the learning their organization provides is relevant to them. The research concludes that leaders must shift their L&D investments towards whole career growth; rather than focusing solely on current or future roles, thinking more broadly about growth that helps employees develop as people.
Increased digital learning solutions and changing learning preferences provide an opportunity for L&D functions to invest more heavily in technologies that enhance: skills management solutions, learning experience platforms with AI-enabled self-service learning options, coaching applications and virtual reality technologies.
“It’s about intentionally exploring where, how and when employees learn, as well as what impacts their ability to learn effectively,” said Nieberg.