Australia’s HR industry is amongst the world’s most advanced and reflects much of what is considered global best practice. With leading policies, procedures and a strong talent pool, our sector is primed to grow and flourish, especially with many new technologies at our disposal.
The democratisation of business technology such as HR platforms means more businesses are refining processes, streamlining administration and making information more accessible. This gives modern day HR professionals more capacity to offer clients and employers the best HR services to date, regardless of the size of the organisation.
Moving HR data from manila folders and spreadsheets into the cloud opens a world of opportunities for HR professionals, employers and employees. Just consider the data available in each employee file and how this can be leveraged to benefit employees. For example, if we track progress against goals and KPIs in real time, companies can align resources, training, recognition and even compensation in real time to keep employees engaged, happy and more productive.
These extra capabilities, thanks to technology, allow HR professionals to grow in their roles as strategic advisors to businesses and add more value to the bottom line via improved processes and higher outputs. By combining streamlined HR management with initiatives to build employee wellbeing, HR professionals can significantly reduce wasted admin hours, boost productivity and help drive profits for businesses of all sizes.
A prime example of this is the ability to predict important trends and scenarios. The ability to aggregate, analyse and leverage employee data from business platforms enables HR professionals to anticipate and prepare for events such as resignations and requests for pay rises, changes in culture, or concerns around employee wellbeing – all of which can have significant impacts upon a business’ operation and success.
To continue growing our industry and building credibility as vital advisors, HR professionals must continue to demonstrate the huge return on investment that comes with human resources, particularly to small-medium businesses who may think that HR is only for big business.
According to The Government’s The Small Business Data Card report , Australia’s 2 million small and medium businesses make up 97% of all businesses in Australia – a huge market segment – and employ the vast majority of Australia’s 12 million workers. As an industry, a significant opportunity exists to put HR on the radar of these businesses to help drive our economy. Providing SMEs with a modern HR platform provides a fantastic opportunity to improve workplaces for millions of employees and deliver tangible benefits to Australia’s economy.
However to achieve this, collaboration is key. As an industry, we need to branch out, network and engage in strategic partnerships which will allow us to connect with new market segments.
Our tech platforms are already integrating with third parties online to broaden our capabilities. From connections with platforms like Xero, MYOB, Dropbox, Slack and more, the online world of HR is more interconnected than ever.
By expanding our reach, we can put HR on the agenda of more businesses, demonstrate the importance of the profession and make the case for further investment in ensuring HR professionals sit at the core of Australian businesses.
That’s what we’re doing at Employment Hero, the company of which I am the CEO. We recently partnered with ANZ to offer business customers free access to our HR platform so they can improve business efficiency and reduce the risk of breaching Australian employment law. By partnering with large scale organisations, we’re not only able to broaden the user base of our platform, but we can also break down the access barriers, provide small businesses with tech they would not have otherwise thought to introduce and improve their approach to HR practices.
Cross-pollination among a variety of businesses across different verticals is essential to the growth of our industry. We need to collaborate and work with more organisations across various sectors to engage with businesses of all walks and position HR higher on their list of priorities.
It’s also clear that the opportunity exists and the industry players support the idea of collaboration. Recent findings from Startupbootcamp’s report Collaborate to Innovate indicates that 70 per cent of startups believe it’s very relevant to partner with corporates.
If more organisations explore the possibility of engaging in strategic partnerships, we have the potential to drive significant growth within the HR industry and create new opportunities for the hundreds of thousands of professionals that it comprises.
Ben Thompson is an HR lawyer and CEO of HR, payroll and employee benefits platform Employment Hero.