Survey Data Shows How HR Can Navigate the Future Workplace

2021 continues to be a year of constant change for businesses and their HR departments. Companies are still navigating hybrid workspaces and adapting to new technologies, as well as working to improve hiring and employee retention programs in response to the “Great Resignation” and “Great Reshuffle.” With these dynamically shifting environments, HR departments are scrambling to keep up with the changes.

A recent Ripcord survey of more than 800 senior-level executives and HR professionals sought to uncover the major pain points affecting HR professionals and teams going through workspace transitions while focusing on the current state of HR practices and documentation. The results revealed the surprising sectors struggling the most in terms of digitization and what plans for digital transformation are looking like for companies at this stage in the pandemic.

Major Findings Included:

  1. HR Has a Backlog Problem

One in four respondents indicated their current method for managing HR documents is not working in a post-pandemic workflow, and 72% of respondents said they’ve experienced significant backlog issues for HR paperwork since the onset of the pandemic.

A heavy reliance on paper documentation could point to why, with 40% saying that paper still holds strong value. Using paper-only management solutions can harm companies’ effectiveness in managing operations as the business world shifts toward digital tools and new technologies. Backlog issues for HR paperwork can inevitably lead to other business management issues, so it’s important for companies to address this issue now. The best advice: Ramp up digital transformation early on to avoid significant backlogs and delays later.

  1. The Tech Sector Requires Fluid HR Practices

Surprisingly, a whopping 98% of the respondents in the technology sector are struggling to catch up on their documentation. This is a reflection of tech’s current job market, which has been dynamically evolving in the past 18+ months with the creation of new remote and hybrid working arrangements and new spending priorities for businesses around IT infrastructure, automation, and the huge shift toward e-commerce. With 7 in 10 tech workers saying they’re considering leaving their current jobs within the next year, it will create more significant documentation issues in HR departments if companies aren’t prepared.

To build a fluid documentation practice that can keep up, documents should be scanned, read, cataloged, and organized in real time. All of that filing, sorting, and scanning is labor-intensive, but automation and data-led processes can reduce the time spent and improve accuracy. The tech sector, with bigger budgets and better technical expertise, is primed to take advantage of document management systems that are capable of “learning” via artificial intelligence the different content types and varying information structures, which will help them catch up on a backlog of paperwork.

  1. Workplaces Want to Be Fully Digital, But Lack the Resources

Sixty-two percent of respondents stated they’ve shifted toward digital-only documentation, and almost half of respondents said they’re aiming to be fully digital within the next 2 to 5 years. However, a lack of resources was the primary barrier for more than half of the respondents in digitization, followed by technology readiness.

With constant changes in the workforce, it’s still to be seen when HR will be able to dedicate enough resources to digitization. Starting the conversation and planning now will set the stage for success once resources become available.

Key Takeaways

Booming sectors like technology will only continue to take off in the coming years, so it’s more important than ever for workplaces to ensure a successful path to digital. Educational training for new technologies in the workplace cannot be emphasized enough, as it allows employees to stay up to date in hybrid and remote settings and eases ongoing moves toward digital transformation.

HR’s role is shifting to become the change agents of the organization and the driving force behind new initiatives that move the company forward. It’s now up to HR to bring digitization to the forefront so organizations, and their employees, don’t get left behind.

Survey Methodology: The survey was sent to approximately 800 HR professionals from September 28 to October 18, 2021. The respondents, 50% of whom were at the VP level or higher, represented technology (23.60%), followed by the retail (14.91%), healthcare (16.65%), manufacturing (13.04%), energy (7.45%), education (11.55%), and financial (8.57%) sectors. Business sizes ranged from 1–50 and 5,000 and greater located across the United States. For additional survey findings, visit Ripcord’s website here.

Brooke Bento is the Chief People Officer & Chief of Staff at Ripcord.

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