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Survey: Digital HR strategy turns HR managers into partners

Having a digital HR strategy that makes use of automation, embedded analytics and familiar consumer-like interfaces has made human resources more strategic.

Two separate surveys point to major changes in human resource organizations.

The first is that HR managers are rising in strategic importance due to the increased use of a digital HR strategy. Second, HR managers are dealing with an accelerating use of external workers.

These two trends seem connected. Reliance on external workers may bring technologies, for instance, to speed onboarding of contingent labor.

Another issue concerns hiring. In this labor market, HR managers are under more pressure to find sources of talent and may need additional methods. One new possibility comes from the Oracle Applications Users Group, which just launched its own recruiting site.

Here is a rundown of the digital workplace news.

Digital HR strategy raises all boats

Top HR managers said their strategic importance rises with the adoption of a digital HR strategy due to automation, embedded analytics and familiar consumer-like interfaces.

Photo of Christine Hipp, president of the Oracle Applications Users GroupChristine Hipp

About 75% of chief human resources officers said their role has become more strategic. This observation includes responsibility for increasing employee productivity and corporate performance, according to a survey that U.K.-based Oxford Economics conducted for ServiceNow, a firm that provides service management software as a service. Oxford Economics surveyed about 500 global chief human resource officers.

HR is moving from a record-keeping, forms-processing organization to a more analytical, technology-enabled organization. This fact raises the importance of HR managers, said Deepak Bharadwaj, the general manager of the HR business unit at ServiceNow.

HR is creating consumer-like experiences for workers -- "easy, personalized, predictive" forms of services as part of a digital HR strategy, Bharadwaj said.

Indeed, 57% of the respondents, in this survey, said an "ability to create a digital, consumerized employee experience" will define their role within three years.

Overall, the vast majority in the survey report indicated that digital HR technology is being applied to anywhere from 30% to 60% of all HR tasks. High on the list were performance reviews, recruitment and benefits management.

The growing use of contingent workers

A separate study sponsored by SAP Fieldglass, a vendor management systems provider, found a broad shift to the use of external workers. Oxford Economics conducted this survey as well.

We knew there was a problem to be solved here.
Christine Hipppresident, Oracle Applications Users Group

It found that 44% of the labor spending is on the external workforce. The survey polled 800 senior executives, including chief HR officers, from multiple countries.

The survey reported that 38% of the respondents use online marketplaces to search for freelancers. In three years, that's due to rise to 74%. The same type of increase is true for the use of staffing agencies.

The SAP Fieldglass findings are in line with the "2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends" report, which noted that about 40% of workers are in alternative work arrangements. It defines this to include contingent, part-time and gig workers.

New recruiting option for Oracle skills

A nontraditional recruiting platform has emerged to challenge the online recruiting market. The Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG), which has 44,000 members, recently created its own career center job site.

OAUG's recent launch was prompted by the problem that firms have in hiring people with Oracle IT skills. Christine Hipp, an IT manager at Los Alamos National Laboratory, said she has seen for herself how difficult the market is. Hipp is also the president of OAUG.

A market research firm hired by the user group found 119,000 open jobs requiring Oracle application skills, Hipp said.

"We knew there was a problem to be solved here," Hipp said. "We were hearing that from our membership."

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Does the use of performance management tools by HR lead to increased responsibility for workforce productivity?
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