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HR and Payroll Organizations: 4 Imperatives to Improve Your Digital Fitness

As a human resources leader, your reality has undoubtedly changed since the onset of the pandemic. Acting strategically, with foresight and an eye toward sustainable business improvements, has been and will continue to be one of the biggest differentiators for organizations now and throughout the path to recovery.

A 2020 Hackett Group poll of top HR executives paints a clear picture that conserving HR costs while improving service delivery is a trend that will continue. In fact, 80% of organizations have implemented or planned to implement HR expense reductions while 71% expect to operationalize new practices aligned with cost savings over the long-term.

The bottom line? The steps that HR leaders take right now, and in the weeks and months ahead, have the power to impact both business outcomes and the productivity of your employees for many years to come.


Get your organization in “digital shape”

From recruitment to onboarding to payroll administration and beyond, “opportunities to digitize” have quickly turned into “necessities to digitize” — in every area of HR operations during the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 shined a spotlight on health everywhere. In turn, the digital health of organizations has turned out to be a big factor in how well they are able to navigate these times — where “work from anywhere” has become a necessity, not just a nice to have.

The pandemic has underscored things like the need for all-virtual onboarding to replace paper-form enrollment and a re-examination of interactive channels with employees. It has brought to the forefront the vital need to turn digital goals into well-functioning digital realities. It’s also been a chance for organizations to realize how quickly digital transformation initiatives can start saving them time, money and other resources. 

In the midst of myriad challenges, these times have brought real opportunities to evolve and implement digital strategies that may have previously stalled in the planning stages.

Here are 4 imperatives to improve your digital fitness:

  1. Do a basic “HR health check” – assess your digital maturity
    Just like with personal fitness goals, you need to know where you are in order to set a plan for improvement or strategy for the future. Take an honest inventory of your digital technology landscape — what you’ve already implemented, whether it’s easily accessible, whether users are satisfied and can accomplish HR-related activities easily with a closed loop, where you can drive further efficiencies and cost savings, and more. 
    Take our 2-minute Digital HR Maturity Assessment to get a quick email report showing where your organization stands on the digital maturity curve.
  2. Define achievable goals
    Once you’ve identified your high-level opportunities for change, you need to define your goals and set realistic priorities for how you can drive incremental, hard-dollar improvements. Select some inefficient administrative processes that can use an automation tune-up, and use one or two of those as pilot programs for digitization. Consider areas such as:
  • Onboarding
  • New hire processing
  • Benefits enrollment or changes
  • Payroll auditing and exception reporting
  1. Apply smart automation to drive key improvements

Once you’ve defined a clear set of achievable goals, it’s time to take intelligent steps to drive improvement. That’s where smart automation comes in. Smart automation uses blended technologies to automate complex business processes — and, according to The Hackett Group, it can help HR organizations execute work with 26% fewer full-time employees at a 17% lower cost.

  • Use human-centered design principles
    Efficient processes begin with the user in mind. Inform your process designs with real live experiences and “interesting moments” of your end users to better understand flow, interactivity and those aspects that can be fully automated.
  • Leverage robotic process automation (RPA) technology to improve efficiency and quality
    Pure RPA is a good first step toward efficiency, as it emulates human execution of routine tasks, while requiring significantly less integration and cost than an ERP or workflow tool. The net result: reduced FTEs for administrative tasks, improved quality and accuracy, and accelerated responsiveness and process completion.
  • Integrate artificial intelligence (AI) for digitally-enabled conversations
    Once you have automated repeatable tasks, look for ways to integrate more robust AI-based tools, chat, machine learning and other workforce experience technologies to digitally enable real-time user support. This will help not only create operational efficiencies for the long term but shape more personalized, relevant employee experiences along the way.
  1. Create a centralized hub for employee interaction and collaboration
    Once you’ve defined and tested some “back-office” improvements, it’s time to fully integrate the employee into your digitization plan and accelerate the journey toward organization-wide change. One of the ways to do this is through a centralized employee hub.
    For organizations that have multiple portals or tools used by employees to access policies, benefits and other employment information, the current environment has compelled many to consider the advantages of centralization. With a centralized, employees can:
  • Access an array of information and resources all in one place
  • Be logically guided across a series of steps or actions
  • Access helpful tools such as chat, email, live voice or other custom interfaces
  • Gather information in a readily available and easy-to-understand format

Though things that are top of mind for HR leaders right now are similar to those that mattered most before the pandemic — they’re being greatly magnified by changing human, regulatory, financial and environmental conditions. 

The current environment is ripe for operational transformation — and getting proactive about pursuing and implementing digital capabilities will improve your organization’s resilience and strengthen your business success going forward.

To learn more about the ways that HR leaders and organizations can confront new ways of working, operating and interacting with employees, visit our website or download our eBook, The Path to Business Recovery: 10 Tips to Drive Immediate HR Outcomes.


Conduent HR and Learning Solutions provides the most comprehensive suite of digitally enabled HR offerings in the industry. Through our digital platforms, employees can adeptly manage the complex landscape of employment, health, wealth, career, and retirement choices with an engaging, personalized experience.

Conduent’s human-centric solutions improve the employee experience, streamline HR practices, reduce costs, increase productivity, provide employees with information needed to make important decisions and provide HR teams with the information and insights they need to succeed.