The State of HR: Technology Fuels HR's Strategic Role

The past three years have transformed the way people live and work, and to keep up with those changes, HR teams have found themselves a new set of challenges. Perhaps it’s to be expected, given today’s highly-competitive job market, a growing skills gap, and a largely-remote workforce.

Most of these obstacles point to the need for greater adaptability—and the need for better technology. Two in five organizations recognize technology as both a way to attract younger generations of workers and increase the agility of hiring teams.

Looking four years into the future, HR teams see an even sharper focus on attracting, developing and retaining talent. Around 70% of respondents say those talent initiatives will be more of a priority. Those goals are expected to look similar to current ones, except for one important change: Adopting new technology skyrockets to the top of the list. In fact, HR teams consider tools like human resource management systems (85%), enterprise resource planning systems (77%) and customer relationship management systems (66%), to be critical to their success over the next five years.

HR innovators are strategic and tech savvy

Not only does technology equip HR teams to overcome obstacles and reach their goals, it can also make them more strategic collaborators at their organizations, Docusign’s research revealed. In the report, “strategists” were defined as those who are viewed as a “strategic partner” at their organization and frequently look for ways to innovate through new solutions and tools. Other respondents were classified as “executors,” a less innovative cohort focused primarily on executing the tactical functions of HR, such as hiring. 

One of the key differences in how the two groups operate was that strategists tended to be more deeply entrenched in their organizations and its goals than their executor counterparts. At the core of this difference was a commitment to technology. Strategists are more likely than executors to use solutions such as applicant tracking software, training management, benefits management and electronic signature software. This finding is no surprise, since these digital solutions aim to unify, simplify and automate tasks, enabling strategists to be collaborative, cross-functional and adaptable.

This adaptability will only become more essential as teams vie for a seat at the table in the new work environment. HR teams that fully embrace digital technology now to streamline routine tasks and solve new problems will be better positioned to serve as strategic business partners within the organization.


Paired with the right strategy, technology will help HR teams adapt

A properly integrated technology system allows HR teams to become more adaptable in the face of change. It also provides a solution to the growing pressure to overcome challenges, including quickly filling vacant positions, closing skills gaps and delivering positive experiences to employees with growing expectations. 

In order for HR teams to become strategic partners within their organizations, they need the right technology. From highly automated platforms that take repetitive tasks off of HR’s plates to solutions that accelerate workflows and reduce errors, today’s tools can enable HR teams to better perform their jobs.

For a deeper look at the changes and opportunities driving the HR industry today, check out Docusign’s latest HR Trends Report.

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