Half of all workers report their company is understaffed. Whether that sentiment is true or not, it’s remarkable — largely because understaffing has been closely tied to high turnover and longer hiring processes.
Understaffing creates a vicious cycle and higher turnover means increased pressure on HR professionals and hiring managers to recruit quality employees to fill the plethora of openings, in addition to their many other responsibilities. A wide variety of technology is available to help with the increased workloads by automating much of the work that tends to fall on field managers and HR professionals, but most franchise owners and operators may not know it even exists.
The good news? That seems to be changing, as more and more focus is placed on hiring challenges facing franchise owners in every industry — restaurant, hospitality, home healthcare, services, etc.
A recent survey revealed 81 per cent of HR leaders reported that technology was their company’s top priority. But this presents a new challenge. While many employers have indeed invested in HR tech, some fail to see a return on investment because employees are reluctant to embrace the change.
So, how can HR leaders inspire a shift in their managers’ mindset?
Reluctance to embrace change
Technology enables a wide range of HR tasks in a franchise environment — from payroll to benefits to talent acquisition. But new technology — despite its many benefits — can also disrupt the traditional way of doing things. Simply introducing the technology will not yield results. Leaders need buy-in from their entire organization.
There are several reasons HR professionals and hiring managers may be reluctant to embrace new solutions, including organizational culture, worries about their own job security, and coming up against resistance from field managers who may not see a reason to change. A lack of familiarity with technology or tech skills is another hurdle, especially when software is complicated and difficult to teach and deploy.
Companies need to invest in educating employees to maximize the potential of the technology.
Company leaders sometimes believe that the latest technology will immediately revolutionize the workflow of their HR departments or field managers, often forgetting that change takes time and employees need support throughout the implementation process.
Leading a digital transformation requires a multipronged approach.
- Start with the “why”
Why are you implementing new technology? What problems is it designed to solve for your franchise system? How will it change — for the better — the day-to-day for your managers? What impact do you expect it to have on the business? Frontline managers and employees want to know that new technology will either make their jobs easier or save them time — and those two things are often related. Start there, and the rest will be a lot easier.
- Address technical aspects
When choosing a tool, managers need to ensure the user experience is easy. No one will want to use software that is slow and unreliable, or complicated to operate. Selecting the right product involves extensive research, technical preparation, and an understanding of the department’s capabilities. But don’t just say it’s easy. Show that it’s easy. If you pick a product that truly simplifies someone’s job, show them how it works. Sell them on the simplicity — and adoption will follow.
- Reassure and support employees throughout the process
Many employees report feeling threatened by technology. They may not understand how the tools fit into the organization’s workflow, which could translate into concern over job security. Acceptance involves clear communication from management about the technology’s role and its benefits to employees and the organization. Taking time to hear employees’ stories and concerns helps build confidence and a team atmosphere during the change.
- Provide training
Employees need training on the new systems. Managers can’t just introduce the software and expect everyone to know how to use it. Making staff comfortable with the technology helps them to fully understand its capabilities and eliminates hesitancy and resistance. Once employees are trained on the software, managers should guide them on how to utilize it to increase efficiency and lighten the workload. Demonstration works much better than explanation.
Benefits for staff
Technological innovations provide countless benefits to HR departments and franchise operators, especially as hiring and staff management grow more complex. The technology-enabled work paradigm eliminates outdated practices and creates new opportunities for efficiency and success.
For example, take recruitment and hiring. Recruitment and candidate selection takes time and effort, and with so many openings to fill, hiring managers can quickly become bogged down. Technology can automate the process, from application to onboarding.
Conversational AI is a powerful hiring tool. AI is capable of doing 95 per cent of the work, but hiring managers have the option to automate the process as little or as much as they want. The conversational AI receives applications via text, conducts qualification screening, schedules interviews, sends job offers, guides the onboarding process and answers questions from job applicants.
The AI assistant provides a hands-on recruiting experience for candidates without requiring time from hiring managers. McDonald’s uses conversational AI, and the company reduced the time-to-hire by 60 per cent – allowing them to hire more employees faster than ever before.
“We’re ensuring candidates are constantly engaged rather than having to wait for a hiring manager to respond or wait for an interview to get scheduled. For hiring managers, it gives them hours back in the week to be able to focus on restaurant operations, employees, and customers,” reports Alexa Morse, McDonald’s director of workforce planning and talent acquisition.
In another example, conversational AI helped the Meritage Hospitality Group shorten the hiring process from multiple weeks to four days and saved general managers more than two hours of work a week.
Save time and improve experience
Technology also streamlines the payroll workflow for HR professionals and employees. Benefits administration solutions can automate paying and tracking employees’ wages and taxes. Online portals allow employees to engage with benefits more easily. These tools can also execute a landscape analysis to set competitive salaries and benefits to recruit and retain employees.
Tools exist to make performance evaluation a continuous process rather than a yearly task. Through the technology, HR departments can evaluate salary, promotions and training opportunities and identify when restructuring or hiring is needed.
Employee engagement applications help keep workers involved with the company culture and cultivate enthusiasm. Other software provides educational opportunities.
Although change is challenging, guidance and support from company leaders help make the digital transformation easier. With the many benefits HR tools provide, franchise managers and HR departments alike will see the benefits to workload and performance, and the effort to change mindsets will be well worth it.
HR systems explored in statistics
- The global human resource technology market size was valued at $24.02 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach a value of $35.68 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 5.8 per cent over the forecast period 2022-20-28.
- In a recent survey by SkyQuest, 81 per cent of respondents said they were already using some form of HR software and 78 per cent said that their company uses or plans to use HR tech to improve performance reviews, communications, and tracking of employee development.
- 86 per cent feel it has improved communication between management and employees and 86 per cent feel that HR software has helped them track employee development.
- 54 per cent use it to manage employee records. Additionally, 53 per cent of respondents said that HR tech helps them identify and prevent fraud and abuse.
Why invest in HR tech?
Here are some of the most common areas HR technology is used, identified in recent research undertaken by the global market research company, SkyQuest:
• Communication and teamwork: by sending updates and notifications to employees about their rights and responsibilities, the software can improve communication between franchisors and franchisees, or franchisees and their staff. In turn, this can lead to improved teamwork and greater productivity.
• Reduction in employee turnover: by providing employees with clear information about their rights and responsibilities, HR tech can help reduce employee turnover, increasing levels of comfort felt by employees and making them less likely to leave because they feel undervalued, mistreated or unhappy.
• Improved health and safety: by monitoring employee behavior and tracking any incidents or complaints, HR tech can help ensure all employees are treated safely and healthily, protecting both staff and the company from potential liability damages.
• Accurate records: by storing all relevant data related to attendance, pay rates, etc, businesses can effectively plan strategies for employee retention, safety, satisfaction and work-life balance, among others.
Eleanor Vajzovic is VP of strategic solutions at Paradox, where she collaborates with Fortune 500 companies to help define their talent roadmaps and drive greater transformation through the implementation of Paradox’s AI recruiting assistant, Olivia.