What is your role at Phase 3?

I am the Head of Customer Success at Phase 3 and have been with the business for 7 years in various roles; managing the Consultancy Service, Business Development team and now heading up Customer Success.

What have been the biggest challenges faced by HR professionals in recent years?

A recent survey conducted by Applaud suggested nearly 50% of organisations cannot update their HR portals without support from IT or developers.  With more employees working in different regions, on various devices and in various environments, HR must be able to act with agility and reactiveness when communicating with their employees.  The reliance on IT or developers is limiting HR’s ability to service employees appropriately and to the level that is expected in this day and age. 

Making the most of an increasingly decentralised and highly mobile workforce will continue to challenge HR in this way too. Beyond providing the technological tools for productivity and seamless communication between HQ and satellite offices, company leaders must also cater to the rising demand for flexible working arrangements. With the prevalence of remote work, global mobility has expanded from its traditional role of shifting between locations to being an integral element of talent acquisition policies. 

An effective global mobility policy is all-encompassing: It not only covers remote work arrangements, but it also acts as a differentiator and major perk to attract sought-after talent. It should delineate what the company’s possibilities are in terms of flexible working arrangements — including visas, work permits, and taxes. Employers need to provide their potential and existing employees with answers surrounding these issues.

The great resignation has resulted in a fifth of workers planning to quit their roles, so job satisfaction and flexibility have become key. Salaries and bonuses aren’t enough to retain workers anymore.  Employee Wellbeing is crucial to retention, so HR need to be creative and open to allowing staff time for themselves when working flexibly.  Trust is key but the basic phrase “look after your staff and they will look after your business” has never been more apparent. 

How has HR technology evolved to address some of these challenges?

HR Tech has come a long way and we now have more access to people data than ever.  Hyper personalised employee experiences are on the rise and have moved beyond branded templates or first names being used in mass emails.  Technology is now available that mirrors the seamless content that we find on our favourite mobile apps, where personalised content feeds are available for employees based on their roles, geography and behaviour.

AI is advancing in a way that streamlines processes and improves efficiency; accomplishing most of the basic HR functions so the larger focus can be more strategic.  This enables teams to extract insights from data and give recommendations in real time, and removes many of the common human biases and inconsistencies in the function. 

Employee Self Service Portals are getting easier and easier to use and help remove technology reluctance; if people can order products from Amazon then they surely can book annual leave and view e-payslips without the need for a paper form. 

Another hot topic is that companies are seeking “Employer of Record” Solutions to simplify global remote team building, by making it fast and easy for companies to hire anyone, anywhere, within minutes, without having to set up international subsidiaries and worry about the countless changing regulations affecting employers. 

 The projected growth of the EOR industry is expected to reach $1.1 bn USD by 2024, as it becomes an increasingly ideal option for growing businesses to compliantly employ talent internationally in support of global expansion activities. Our partner, Globalisation Partners’ industry-leading platform eases the burden of onboarding and managing team members around the globe

Have any sectors in particular benefited from implementing new HR systems?

I have seen several Public Sector organisations on the lookout for new HR Technology which of course comes with it a large procurement exercise.  I have enjoyed working with these organisations to help their HR Teams get to grips with their technology requirements.  

It’s not unusual to see Local Government organisations having requirements lists in their hundreds, but the importance is that each requirement is meaningful. For example, “reporting capability” is not a meaningful requirement!  We have helped teams understand what reports they need and why, how the data will be used, what they are measuring and why.  I have seen many lightbulb moments during demos where HR Teams really get to understand how the tech is used rather than being blinded by niceties. 

How do you see HR technology changing in the future?

HR Departments will become more data driven functions, focussed around their HR technology stack. The role of HR Technology will gather, compile and ensure quality data is available form the whole business, creating detailed insights. To enable this data, time and attendance tracking, employee surveys, learning management, benefits portals, compensation and succession planning data will help businesses understand and use people data for good.

There is an increasing prominence in artificial intelligence in businesses. Today it can be found in the form of chat-bots, recruitment processes and contract reviews. These algorithms are only going to grow and are at the heart of AI. There will be a growing importance, and even professions in maintaining these algorithms to ensure they are fair, legal and represent the values of an organisation. 

Due to growth of technology, but also the inevitable “push” towards home-based hybrid working as an outcome of COVID-19, we will see further developments of hybrid working. Technology stacks will have to adapt and support this new method of working. HR technology will move towards a consumer-grade technology, with the employee user experience at the heart of enhancements and developments. 

What role will automation play in the changing world of HR?

Ultimately automation means we have more time to plan and deliver strategy, so better use of our time first and foremost.  I have seen and continue to see reluctance toward Technology but we need to be more agile.  We are living in a mobile world and Generation Z are Digital Natives born into this way of working so they expect their Tech to exist in an app and provide automation to enable less administrative activities. 

Automation of course brings more consistency, and with hybrid, remote and anywhere working we need consistency and better compliance for all staff no matter where they are based.

How are Phase 3 helping organisations future proof their HR systems?

One of our most popular products is the HR/Payroll/Finance Health Check.  The Health Check answers questions such as “what could my system do well that we do not yet know about”?  As well as “what improvements could be made to our current set up”?  Following which a comprehensive write up is delivered with prioritised recommendations. 

Our System Selection service is also fully flexible and based on the needs/requirements/budget for all customers, and helps you to decide whether to stay with your current provider or if it is indeed time to implement a new HR software