Human Capital and Tech Success

When workplace technology and human capital are spoken in the same sentence, it is frequently about how various new technologies must be adopted to make HR functions more effective. Two recent surveys suggest a wider role for human capital professionals (those in HR, Training, and Organizational Development); meaningful interventions focused on human behaviors and workplace culture are needed to realize the effective use of ALL workplace technologies. Consider the survey findings that follow.

The Eagle Hill Consulting Employee Experience Survey captures the feelings employees have about the workplace technologies provided by their employers:

  • 35% are frustrated with the workplace technology they must use to do their work
  • 44% believe the technology provided is not helpful or makes their job harder
  • Employee frustrations with workplace technology have a negative impact on the quality of services they provide to customers and clients.

Human capital considerations:

  • Culture is key to improve internal dialog between staff, management, and IT teams. Open, honest, and respectful communication at all levels improves the discovery phase of new technology as well as the adoption of new technology. Such communication most likely occurs in an environment of trust; human capital professionals can lead effective discussions that foster such a workplace culture.
  • Employee recruiting, hiring, and promotion processes can impact tech outcomes; HR may adopt interviewing questions and screening criteria to identify candidates that are more likely to adopt the open mindset necessary for continuous technology evolution. HR can lead efforts to celebrate successes by early adopters of new technologies; the survey finds this an effective way to encourage widespread users and enhance overall success.
  • New technologies can create more stress and anxiety among employees, a serious issue when employee mental health challenges and burnout are already serious concerns. HR must lead the discussion of workforce readiness and capability during technology planning.

The Netwrix 2020 Cyber Threats Report describes these top concerns of Chief Information Security Officers (CISO), including:

  • 58% believe employees ignore workplace cybersecurity policies and guidelines
  • 66% believe data theft by employees poses a serious threat
  • 79% believe that remote working employees won’t follow IT security

Human capital considerations:

  • New employee onboarding must include focused, meaningful, and contextualized conversations about the importance of cybersecurity. Refresher training and re-onboarding remind employees of their personal accountability for keeping the organization safe, especially for employees who are new to remote working. HR must lead this effort.
  • Handbooks often contain an information security policy; consider a separate, stand-alone policy with detailed procedures updated to address emergent issues and risks faced by remote workers. HR must review with employees before they sign to underscore the importance of cybersecurity and proprietary information confidentiality; fundamental cybersecurity training practices are described here.
  • Disgruntled employees pose a serious cybersecurity threat before, during, and after termination. HR must work closely with IT to minimize exposure to data systems damage and data theft when terminating an employee. Such issues can be tricky; consult legal advice to understand lawful actions and avoid undesirable claims of illegal treatment.

Organizations are increasingly reliant on new workplace technology to succeed and are investing heavily in those technologies. Beyond a narrow focus on technology specific to the HR function, human capital professionals must assert themselves as an informed and viable partner to IT and Leadership. They can maximize the ROI of all workplace tech investments by addressing the human behaviors that make or break workplace technology initiatives. Employers Council staff has human capital expertise that can help members with workplace initiatives of all types. Contact us to discuss your goals.