Strategists vs executors: How technology helps some HR teams get ahead

Gone are the days when the role of HR was limited to payroll and employee admin. Today’s HR teams have so much more to contend with – particularly in light of last year’s upheaval. In fact, one analyst goes so far as to say, “don’t peek behind the curtain to see what HR’s been up to unless you’re strong of heart.” 

How does HR cope with all the jobs they’re juggling? How do they ensure a great employee experience from hire to retire, while still finding the time to add strategic value to the business? 

According to the 1,000+ HR professionals Docusign spoke to recently, digital transformation provides the key to success – helping to achieve day-to-day goals while empowering teams to become more strategic players. Yet manual processes still abound, with forms and paperwork the biggest bottleneck getting in the way of success; and, while technology adoption is strong, it’s not being utilised to its full potential. 

In fact, technology is proving to be a key differentiator between the ‘strategists’ and the ‘executors’ in HR. Read on to find out who these people are in this short summary of the HR Trends Report: A statistical analysis of HR technology trends, challenges and solutions

The state of HR today

When asked about current practices and policies, HR teams clearly feel like there’s room for improvement. A common thread? Manual processes slow things down and waste teams’ time. When asked which areas of employee agreements are the slowest, HR teams responded with:

  • Manual forms and paperwork (44%)
  • Reviewing and clarifying employees’ responses (33%)
  • Data entry (31%)
  • Getting signatures (31%)

Doing more with what they’ve got

Nine out of ten HR teams aren’t fully capitalising on the technology they already own. The research found that just 9% of HR teams use most of the capabilities in their existing tech toolset – the rest of them simply aren’t unlocking the full potential of their tools. The reasons they’re not fully leveraging their HR software include:

  • Lack of integration with other systems/tools (39%)
  • Insufficient training (37%)
  • Software that isn’t intuitive (37%)
  • Insufficient IT support (28%)

Using tech to become more strategic

This leads us to the ‘strategists’ and ‘executors’. According to the report:

  • Strategists are defined as those who answered that their HR department is viewed as a “strategic partner” to the organisation and frequently looks for ways to innovate through new solutions and tools
  • Executors are defined as those who execute the existing functions of HR, such as hiring

And a big difference between the two groups? Strategists use technology more than executors. From HRMS to ERP, CRM to CLM, and everything in between, strategists come out in front in terms of tech adoption. These HR teams use an array of proven tools and systems to give them more time to contribute to organisational growth.

And the laggards can no doubt see what they’re missing out on. No wonder ‘adapting new technologies’ is the #1 priority for HR teams over the next five years – with predicted benefits being time savings (57%), reduced errors (55%), and an improved employee experience (51%).

Clearly, the pace of technology adoption within HR teams is only going to accelerate. And the best solutions will allow HR to become more adaptable in the face of change, while fulfilling all of the key tasks required of HR teams today. 

Keen to know more?

Read the full report today to get all the stats comparing HR strategists and executors, and to see how your HR team compares to others.

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