Leveraging technology to enhance the employee experience

Leveraging technology to enhance the employee experience

isolved's James Norwood explains how HR can optimise Microsoft technology with virtual assistants 

Alice Chambers |

The Human Resources (HR) department is the heart of any organisation.  

From recruiting and training individuals, to overseeing payroll and benefits, HR executives are responsible for managing the daily operations of a company and for ensuring the overall happiness of employees in their work environment. Recently, HR leaders have been prioritising the financial, mental and physical well-being of employees by investing in new tools and solutions that focus on individuality.  

“Pre-Covid-19 investments in digital technology helped many organisations stay afloat during the pandemic,” says James Norwood, chief marketing and strategy officer at isolved, which is an employee-experience-based company that helps HR managers to digitise their workload. “In our recent Transforming Employee Experience survey we found that 83 per cent of businesses are making employee experience a priority this year and digital transformation is a key path for that.”  

Cloud-based technology is a crucial part of digitising the HR sector. isolved’s human capital management suite, People Cloud, helps to monitor employee performance, scale and security. Hosted on Microsoft Azure cloud, it allows HR departments to access the system anywhere and from any device. Although some organisations are opting for a hybrid approach to combine the flexibility of cloud-based solutions with the security of on-premises systems, Norwood argues that this is not a safe way of operating. “These holdouts to fully digitising systems are using myriad cloud-based solutions but keeping a core system on-premises, which actually opens companies up to the security risks they think they are mitigating. Instead, companies are safer if they transfer all of their systems onto the cloud.”  

In its survey, isolved also found that over half of the respondents who work full-time had a physical or learning disability. “Technology such as conversational virtual assistants (CVAs) within collaboration applications can support people with low vision, social anxiety, dexterity challenges and more,” says Norwood.  

The company’s CVA solution is available through Microsoft Teams and helps users to get answers to common questions, as well as review time-off balances or benefits through voice control. 

“CVAs help with employee productivity as well as HR productivity,” says Norwood. “Some of the best cost-saving activities in employee experience centre around HR answering common questions. By empowering employees to self-serve, it frees up HR to carry out more strategic work that helps to recruit and retain the talented employees.” 

Additionally, employee experience platforms can add value to Microsoft technology by making a compelling talent management suite available. Predictive people analytics, for example, can improve the employee experience by comparing pay and job offers based on historical insights. It analyses data on Microsoft Viva and uses artificial intelligence-based solutions for HR teams to visualise workforce metrics and plan for changes in the employment landscape.

“Employers are accountable for their employee experience – whether that’s the technology they provide, the values they support or how they cater to well-being – and that’s something that they can easily invest in using the right technology,” says Norwood. “Organisations that are getting employee experience right are focusing on people, processes and platforms in the same breath.” 

isolved’s research suggests that over the next year, HR leaders will be investing in improving employee learning, development and wellness, while increasing headcount. “Employees want to learn and grow or they will go, it’s that simple,” says Norwood. “Employee feedback on what they want to learn and how they want to grow is critical, making career mapping and employee surveys a must-do initiative for every organisation.” 

Therefore, by encouraging inclusion within the workplace, organisations can enhance their employee experience. “Whether it’s by bringing corporate social responsibility from enterprise-only options to the midmarket or making employees’ work lives as accessible as possible, the best innovation is happening at the individual level but at scale,” says Norwood. “Today, people look for real purpose within an organisation in a way that transcends traditional cultural values. Organisations need to practice what they preach and back that up with a purposeful employee experience.” 

This article was originally published in the Autumn 2022 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.

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