06 Sep 2023

How tech can help solve the big challenges HR are facing today

Guest blog: Jessica Fuhl, Director of HR Research, Insights and Thought Leadership, Sage explores how tech can help solve for many of the challenges facing HR today.

A whopping 81% of HR leaders are feeling burnt out, and 62% are considering leaving the profession.

These are the findings from Sage’s latest research, The changing face of HR. The rate of change HR has experienced in recent years has been eye-watering, largely thanks to the pandemic and seismic shifts in the workplace and the world itself.

HR have had a lot on their plates, and this shows no sign of abating any time soon.

With the worldwide economic downturn, HR leaders are having to manage employee wellbeing and fears over job security and pay, along with supporting the c-suite through even more unpredictability. All while keeping the vital day-to-day plates spinning of managing the company’s biggest asset – its people.

However, 83% of HR leaders told us they don’t currently have the right technology; and for those that do, 85% say they lack the skills to use the available HR technology within their HR teams.

Here’s some challenges HR leaders told us they are facing today and how HR technology can help.


Too much work

92% of HR leaders say the sheer amount of work they must undertake is a big barrier to future success. HR leaders are still hampered by outdated processes and laborious manual admin tasks. Only 59% of respondents are using cloud HR technology and just 54% have some form of automation.

HR technology can help by automating many of the manual, time-consuming paperwork that HR must do on a daily basis, streamlining workflows and freeing up HR teams’ time.


Stress and burnout

84% of HR leaders regularly feel stressed, and 84% cite low morale and burnout as a key concern for the future. However, despite the challenges and additional demands HR are facing, 57% of HR leaders love what they do. Many are relishing the opportunity to make an impact, shape new ways of working and create lasting change.

The right HR platform can inject some much-needed enthusiasm and excitement into the role by supporting HR leaders to test and experiment with new ways of working and communicating more easily with employees through a central portal or pulse surveys.


Navigating economic turbulence

93% of HR and business leaders are worried about economic uncertainty. This worry translates into pressure on salary increases by employees seeking to offset the increasing cost of living; yet at the same time, company bosses may be facing pressure to halt hiring and reduce headcount costs.

With the right HR technology, having up-to-date People data and analytics allows for more forward-looking horizon planning and enables rapid, data driven decision making.


Too much time on paperwork, and not enough time on people

73% of HR leaders say their team still focusses primarily on processes, instead of their people strategy.

How can HR tech help? Smart built-in automation can ease the strain of the mountain of admin that HR teams still manually manage, while employee self-serve features can empower employees to manage their own data and holiday requests, reducing the burden on HR’s time.


Transforming the perception of HR

63% of c-suite leaders admit to still seeing HR’s role as administrative. HR leaders still have some way to go to convince organisations of their value, and the power and flexibility of the modern People function. Essentially, HR needs to get better at doing its own PR and shouting about the impact it delivers for both the business and employees.

Using analytics gives HR influence and leverage to demonstrate their value. HR tech can quickly and easily generate sophisticated visual reports that show key measurable results of core KPIs that will make the c-suite sit up and take notice.


Getting HR and the c-suite are on the same page

Business leaders don’t see HR playing a leading role in areas that would traditionally sit in HR’s wheelhouse, Sage’s research found.

HR needs to be close to the CEO and leadership team and show that they’re aligned with the overall business goals, while also championing the key focus areas that will make the biggest difference to employees.

Having real-time data about the company’s biggest asset at their fingertips helps HR align itself with the c-suite by tracking and analysing some of the key metrics that can steer and guide the c-suite to make vital organisational changes at the right time.

Boosting employee experiences and winning in the Great Resignation

83% of HR leaders and 85% of business leaders say employee experiences and satisfaction remain paramount. Attracting and retaining top talent remains a priority for all businesses in the current climate, so providing great employee experiences is essential. Tailoring those experiences is also key which is where HR can play an important role.

Employees expect the same user experience from the tech at work as the tech they use in their personal lives, so choosing tech that enables employees to have a seamless, stress-free experience when using the software will boost the employee experience your organisation provides.


Increasing the adoption of HR tech

Digital transformation has certainly accelerated in HR over the past three years, but more needs to be done to champion the benefits of tech for the HR function and how it can support the wider business challenges.

HR mustn’t shy away from investment in the right technology and upskilling their teams – or face getting left behind.


Read about Sage’s research report ‘The changing face of HR’ or find out about Sage’s automation and analytics software for progressive People companies.

Jake Wall

Jake Wall

Policy Manager, Skills and Future of Work, techUK

Nimmi Patel

Nimmi Patel

Head of Skills, Talent and Diversity, techUK


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