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Transforming Hiring and HR Through Technology

Feature Article | January 25, 2018 by Amberly Dressler

The acquisition and retention of talent is perhaps one of the most critically important areas of running a business.

Like with most processes and procedures, technology can improve the hiring and engagement of employees. SAP Jam, for instance, recently announced new human resource (HR) capabilities such as collaboration capabilities for mentoring programs and self-service information for HR help desks.

Daisy Hernandez, global vice president of Product Management at SAP, discusses the needs of businesses and the updates to the SAP Jam platform.

Q: What are some issues that HR departments currently face when trying to support and/or engage employees?

A: HR departments have the opportunity to make it easier for employees to learn from their colleagues via direct mentorship and knowledge sharing. As preferences for the “digital nomad” lifestyle continue to grow, employees are increasingly interested in remote workstyles. Businesses must create work environments that foster feelings of unity and peer-understanding despite some employees being in cubes and others on-the-go – whether that means traveling, attending an event, or working at home. These types of environments are key to both organizational and individual growth and development.

For HR departments, employee engagement boils down to creating a level playing field. While employees may not necessarily be able to see one another, they must still have equal access to all information. To create this equal opportunity, HR departments must implement peer coaching and mentorship across organizations where employees can:

  • Join forces and share knowledge with peers in individual and group formats
  • Easily access organization-wide content
  • Utilize self-service information tools

In the upcoming year, HR departments should make a point to develop programs that enable colleagues to easily collaborate and share knowledge with one another from any location. These programs should be backed by modern tools that support talent development.

Do employees expect HR departments to modernize their efforts or are they mostly satisfied with the status quo?

What employee will not want continually better service? If modernizing applications and processes allow for employees to have easier and faster service, it means more time they can spend on their core work.

Modernizing the workplace begins first with communication practices. With digital’s impact being seen across business verticals such as finance, retail, healthcare and more, remaining stagnant in traditional forms of communication within the office setting is a direct disservice to organizational growth. Of course, face-to-face communication and real-life connections will never be replaced across industries. However, HR departments must now set up digital applications across work environments that support human interaction.

Once communication practices are in place, HR departments must then modernize applications and processes. Q&A forums such as SAP Jam’s “Ask HR” application streamline processes by providing employees with easier access to information that can help them resolve issues or get answers quickly. These types of applications eliminate the potential for HR to act as a bottleneck, as forums allow employees to simply go online to ask about and share ideas. This creates two-way employee engagement where employees have a chance to be heard and continually evolve.

How would SAP Jam’s new HR capabilities modernize the HR department?

SAP Jam’s new HR capabilities strengthen and streamline knowledge-sharing across organizations for all employees through mentorship and onboarding.

First, SAP Jam’s enhanced applications automate and connect mentors and mentees by providing digital workspaces to share advice, articles, assignments, and other content. With the modern-day employee being in a constant flux of in- and out-of-office work, providing an online space where they can chat with colleagues about specific projects, organizational processes and individual development creates a stronger learning experience. Providing this digitalized experience allows employees to take advantage of key information at all times, no matter their location.

SAP Jam’s new HR capabilities also streamline onboarding within the pre-hire time period to make it easier for new employees to get company information and feel like they are being welcomed before they start. Employees can easily access all information and become acclimated to the organization from day one, making their entry into the business as seamless as possible. Providing helpful content such as videos, Q&A forums and knowledge-based sharing helps demonstrate key processes and provide quick instructions and how-to’s. Providing employees with these quick, easy solutions gives HR professionals time back to focus on supporting and developing talent.

When it comes to mentorship, do you think this should happen organically or are there benefits in having the organization set up these relationships?

Mentorship should be a mixture of both organic growth and structured programs. Built-in programs often act as a catalyst to advance and engrain the concept of mentorship across the organizational culture. Within the mentor/mentee relationship, both parties will get something out of the process – whether its growing as a teacher or learning from an expert. However, in order for employees to initiate these relationships, management must often start the conversation and show their employees what they should be looking to teach and learn. Once these practices are put into place, engagement will grow on its own. Employees will naturally take the guidance they have learned and taught, and find the courage to build ongoing relationships by speaking up and reiterating the teachings.

How would SAP Jam’s new HR capabilities change how mentorship programs typically operate?

With SAP Jam’s new HR capabilities, there is more direct one-to-one contact between employees at any time throughout the day. Employees no longer have to set up a specific time and place to catch up, but can rather chat on relevant topics throughout their day in the online system. This provides increased real-time feedback and streamlines operations across organizations. SAP Jam’s mentoring capabilities also facilitate 1-to-many mentoring, making better use of mentors’ valuable time. SAP Jam’s new HR capabilities makes it so that mentors no longer have to be in the same building to collaborate, but can now build core employee relationships from diverse work environments that suite their individual needs. This then allows the business to diversify and grow organically, creating enhanced opportunity.

This article was first published in Website Magazine.

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