HR technology is proving to be a key advantage for success in a number of areas, according to a recent survey.

It’s very easy to understand why talent weighs heavily on the minds of HR leaders. With unemployment at all-time lows and other talent-related issues to overcome, it’s a demand-driven world right now.

It may be a bit more surprising to learn, however, that closely trailing talent on the radar is HR’s other “t” word, technology, at least when it comes to what directly impacts HR’s efforts in the small-to-midsize employer range, according to a recent survey from Paychex. The provider of integrated human capital management solutions polled 300 randomly selected HR decision-makers online at U.S. companies with between 50 and 500 employees.

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The 2019 Paychex Pulse of HR Survey, the firm’s third annual effort, found talent and technology ranked at the top as the leading factors impacting HR leaders this year.  And while meeting talent needs continues to be a struggle, technology is having a positive impact on HR’s goals and outcomes.

For example, the survey found that 87% of respondents agree HR technology has strengthened their contribution to corporate success, up from 75% just a year ago. Survey respondents said part of making strategic contributions is relying on data to make the right recommendations. For the first time since the survey’s inaugural year, a full 100 percent of respondents said that they rely on HR analytics in some capacity, with the most prevalent being to:

  • Make more informed decisions (90%);
  • Defend their decisions to corporate employees (89%); and
  • Understand how to communicate with employees (89%).

According to the research, leveraging technology tools also lends a hiring edge, as 81% of respondents reported that their company’s tech investment “will allow them to maintain or grow their headcount and increase employee productivity.” Technology also tops the list of HR spending priorities. Among the two-thirds of HR professionals surveyed whose department budgets are increasing, tech investment topped the list of ways they would like to spend the additional funds.

“My single biggest strategic contribution to my company was helping it automate its HR processes,” one survey respondent said. “Before, everything was manual. Now, we have all our work online.”

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Leah Machado, Paychex senior director of HR services, says the strategic contributions HR leaders make are bolstered by innovative technology solutions that not only dramatically reduce time spent on administrative tasks, but can also provide valuable insights on their workforce and the business overall.

“With more time, information and resources,” she says, “HR professionals are better positioned to successfully address the evolving, complex HR needs of both employees and the organization.”

Tom Starner is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia who has been covering the human resource space and all of its component processes for over two decades. He can be reached at [email protected]

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