HR needs to refresh tech knowledge

Published on 23 October 2018

HR technology can help the organisation stay flexible and improve the employee experience. But HR generally lags behind in competencies and knowledge of digitisation in their own field. This became apparent from research conducted this year for the second consecutive year by Berenschot in collaboration with CHRO Community.

Respondents gave themselves a mark of 6.8 with respect to knowledge of HR technology. The tech skills of their own HR department hardly scored a six. Learning from HR colleagues on this topic thus doesn’t happen very often. Hans van der Spek, Senior Managing Consultant at Berenschot observed: “It is the HR department’s role to ensure that the organisation has the right competencies in house. It’s remarkable then that it’s actually HR that is lagging behind with respect to HR technology knowledge.”

Question of priorities

Although investments in digitisation of HR processes increase year on year, confidence in the accompanying knowledge apparently doesn’t increase in line with this. On the contrary, the satisfaction at HR seems to be falling slightly on this point. Last year respondents gave themselves a mark of 7.0 and their department as a whole a poor 6.4. According to Van der Spek, the key problem is setting the right priorities. “The more strategic the topic and the longer the time axis, the longer it takes for HR to take action. The operational side takes the upper hand because all the attention goes to that one vacancy that needs to be filled today.”

Taking the lead

Many older members of staff have also not received any training on new topics such as HR data and data analytics in their education; themes that are covered in today’s HR professional education curricula. “If people refresh their knowledge, HR can take the lead in digitisation. For instance, by following relevant educational programmes or training in this area. If this enables an organisation to reap the benefits of digitisation, the euros invested will be quickly recouped”, according to Van der Spek.

Would you like to read more about the study? You can download the article (Dutch) from CHRO Magazine, the journal for Chief Human Resources Officers (Dutch).

Hans van der Spek

Hans van der Spek

Senior managing consultant