By  Bala V. Sathyanarayanan

When your company has been in operation for more than 100 years, it is not unusual to find processes that have not been updated for a while. A subset of my team did a review of  and discovered our onboarding system was one of such process.

Bala Sathyanarayanan

“Consider a broader tool kit with mobile, social and analytical functionality.“ – Bala V Sathyanarayanan, chief HR officer for Xerox Technology

The review soon led to a full-blown project that involved revamping and updating the onboarding process to align with the company’s current strategy, present employee base and modern technology. We had discussions with our internal technology team to see if we could create a user-friendly system for our new hires.

I share this story to highlight how technology has changed and continues to change the way we do Human Resources. From hiring to onboarding, from enabling virtual work to providing numerous opportunities for better collaboration with colleagues globally, technology is definitely a major determinant of successful HR departments.

Two examples: mobility and recognition
Mobile technology is especially interesting to me, mostly because one of our goals in HR is making the Xerox Technology Business an attractive place for millennials. It is no longer news that millennials are taking over the workplace or that they are addicted to their mobile phones and tablets. As an employer of top talent, it is important that I am reaching potential great employees across every platform they can be found.  It is also critical that our brand is easy to engage with for this subset of the global working population, without alienating other generations. A good example was when our learning program was made available on a mobile platform, we saw an increase of approximately 40 percent in in engagement across the entire organization.

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Another major area where HR technology has enabled our business success is in the area of global growth. As multinational firms like mine expand their presence and footprints globally, it is easy for the original culture, business values and strategy to get “lost in translation” as they cross borders.

For example, a company headquartered in the United States might recognize its U.S. employees through a simple reward system that allows them build points that can be cashed out at a certain level for gift cards, cash and more. How can this company ensure that:

  • Its system of reward is not perceived wrongly in a country with a different culture of compensation?
  • The differences in currency value does not lead to unfairness in the recognition system?

With recent HR Technology, these questions have been easily and efficiently answered with little or no added cost. Numerous organizations offer companies like mine simple technology solutions that ensure fair and consistent reward and recognition across borders

As businesses try to understand, comprehend and deliver growth outcomes in today’s global, digital, mobile, context centric environment, HR must step up and evolve. Firms need to think “outside the box” and consider a broader tool kit with mobile, social and analytical functionality that attracts, engages and grows individual talent if they are keen to succeed.

That is what we are doing at Xerox.

From the editor: This article was first published in the July 25, 2016 edition of HR Tech Outlook magazine.