31 (126) 2017
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How modern technology affects the job market

by Cezary Karolczyk, Sage business expert
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The rate of technological change has profoundly altered the way work and business is done.

The development of intelligent tools and IT systems has resulted in dramatically increased company productivity, but has also accelerated market fluctuations. Of the Fortune 500 companies of 1995 only 12% remain in the ranking today. In 2016 alone over a quarter dropped off the list. In the digital economy, the basis of company valuation has become intellectual property and services not investment goods or tangible assets. This is why inefficient colossuses unable to quickly adapt to change will not be able to survive. They will be replaced by companies which can cope in a digital world and offer a non-traditional work environment which encourages creativity and growth. Smart companies attract smart, creative workers.     

Companies that want to win over new talent must be ready for the technological revolution. That requires a huge organisational effort, a redefinition of the concept of leadership, and career development. Experts at Deloitte believe that organisations of the future will need to be flexible and agile, replacing fossilised organisational structures with individualised leadership to create teams authorised to take autonomous decisions.

Companies will compete for workers’ attention

Businesses are already adapting to the new trends and changing demands in the job market. They are increasingly vying for the attention of potential employees. In the digital economy, brand is essential not only in communicating with clients or business partners – businesses must also take care to ensure that they are seen as a good brand of employer. Creating an appealing employer brand is not a purely externally-focused endeavour, but also involves creating a positive employee experience, which requires considerably greater effort and the involvement of multiple agents in the organisation.

In order to keep up with the digital revolution, one of the key challenges for HR departments is to create working conditions which support employee innovativeness and creativity while also providing autonomy and the freedom to act. Worker expectations in terms of flexible working hours and the potential for remote working are increasingly being met by employers.

Working away from the office is a growing trend around the world. Eurostat data shows that the percentage of EU citizens working from home in 2014 was 13.5%. At that time, 13.4% of workers in Poland were using the home office model, more commonly men (13.7%) than women (13.2%). Of the European countries leading in this regard, the most people working from home were to be found in Denmark (29.2%) and Sweden (28.7%). The analytics firm IDC predicts that, by 2018, three-quarters of workers in developed nations will be performing their duties according to a mobile model.

Sage, as a global tech firm, has introduced many remote-working options for its employees. The company applies an accounting system that rewards results, and not just hours worked. This approach has made it possible to introduce such innovations as virtual teams and home offices. Virtual teams connect employees dispersed throughout the country into groups which can work remotely, without the sometimes very cumbersome and time consuming need to commute to an office. Studies show that over 70% of employees in such companies value opportunities to work outside the office, or would like their employer to introduce them. The home office, as one means to maintain a good work¬–life balance, increases motivation to work. In companies which have introduced similar innovations the percentage of satisfied and motivated employees is about 20% higher than in firms lacking such privileges.

Technology in the service of HR

The digital economy is creating a paradigm shift for companies in areas related to HR. Now that the majority of companies has adapted organisationally to using IT systems to handle areas such as finance, accounting, sales, marketing, management, production processes and logistics, the time has come to focus on handling human resource processes. Only a few years ago, this area was perceived as being limited to functions to support and service employees. Today, HR is joining the other areas of the company jointly responsible for business success. Increasingly, modern companies are using the term 'digital workplace' to refer to creating conditions conducive to productivity and creativity. In its research, Deloitte estimates that 56% of companies surveyed are already transforming their HR programmes and giving their employees more and more remote-working tools. In addition, many of them are creating mobile applications to supporting aspects of HR. The digitisation of human resource operations is entering an entirely new phase, culminating in the implementation of IT solutions which comprehensively cover all business areas (including HR) with a single system.

One such comprehensive solution which weaves HR into the entire IT ecosystem is Sage X3 with the Sage People cloud module. Its users have access to essential data from anywhere in the globe and can work together, regardless of location. Meanwhile, HR department employees can better manage personnel data, periodic reviews, and the creation of various organisational models based on real business needs. The system makes it possible to give employees access to personalised information relating to their working conditions. It also facilitates the generation of personnel reports compliant with different countries’ legislations, and the management of salaries, bonuses and commissions, as well as many other options. It also enables the effective management of working time and employee activity by tracking and forecasting working hours and related costs, monitoring absences or managing work hours. The system also has facilities to more actively create career paths for employees through training management, and the creation of budgets and training programmes. In turn, employees can manage information relating to themselves and update it independently on a dedicated portal.

The Sage X3 system is now used by around 5,000 businesses worldwide. It has 228,000 satisfied users in 100 countries. Soon this global solution will be rolled out in a R&D centre in Warsaw.

Experts agree that the near future will bring ever greater focus on the digitisation of human resources. The dynamically changing world of HR needs bold changes in terms of IT services. In order to meet the new demands of employees and the competitive market, organisations will need comprehensive solutions for managing HR in conjunction with all the other areas of their businesses.

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