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New technologies in HR – what do employers need to be ready for?

By Michał Bodziony, prawnik, and Kinga Ciosk, asystent prawny, PCS Paruch Chruściel Schiffter Stępień | Littler Global
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The impact of new technologies on employment is increasingly widespread and visible. It is expressed in the automation and algorithmisation of work, as well as in the streamlining of its administrative and organisational levels. Below we discuss some of the increasingly popular applications of innovative solutions in HR.

Artificial intelligence in HR  

Employers are increasingly choosing to implement solutions based on artificial intelligence (AI) into their processes. Such solutions are implemented in recruitment processes, employee monitoring and evaluation processes, as well as in the selection of employees for dismissal. For example, artificial intelligence systems can be used in recruitment to screen candidates' CVs, or to conduct interviews, as well as to assess candidates on the basis of video interviews conducted in asynchronous form. They can also play the role of conversation bots, which will be responsible for the organisational side of the recruitment process, improving the candidate experience (e.g. they will inform candidates about the current status of the recruitment process, transfer offers to other positions, or arrange meetings with HR staff).

Implementing such innovative instruments allows for the optimisation of many processes carried out in organisations, which is expressed in particular in the savings of time and resources allocated to selection. However, when using solutions based on artificial intelligence, employers must take into account the need to comply with regulations on personal data protection and anti-discrimination. They must also be aware of the risks that may arise from a lack of sufficient ‘explainability’ in how these systems operate. Nevertheless, it is also important to pay attention to expert opinions which indicate that decisions made by AI systems can often be more objective, and dictated by factors more tangible than decisions made by humans.

Automation of work

Use of AI systems and other innovative solutions result in the automation of many workplaces. The scale of the changes taking place is so significant that discussions about how the labour market will look in the future are becoming increasingly frequent. Even the taxation of work carried out by robots is being considered.

Automation of work is a challenge not only for employers who, wishing to remain competitive, will have to make the difficult decision of mass redundancy in order to automate their processes, but also for state authorities who will have to fight rising unemployment. Employers who decide to automate their work and want to take care of their image in the labour market, may consider implementing outplacement programmes, thanks to which employees affected by redundancy will gain competences and qualifications which will allow them to retrain and remain in employment. Engaging in projects of this kind is also an expression of corporate social responsibility.

Documents digitalisation

Innovative solutions are also implemented in order to optimise the tasks performed by HR departments on a daily basis. An example of this can be seen in the increasingly common decision of employers to digitise employee documentation and transfer it to the cloud. This can significantly reduce costs and time spent on paper-based processes.

Importantly, according to Polish labour law, employers can choose to digitise documents only from a specific date. They do not have to decide to digitise all documents existing in the company. Such a solution allows for a smooth process and quick implementation of a new type of employee records management system in the organisation.

Can an employment contract be concluded and terminated remotely?

Due to the growing popularity of remote or hybrid working, many employers wonder whether it is permissible to enter into and terminate employment contracts remotely. In principle, it is permissible to conclude an employment contract remotely, as long as the employer and the employee have a qualified electronic signature. However, even if the employee does not have such a signature, employers may consider concluding an employment contract –  theoretically, the lack of a written form may be questioned as a formal defect, but no further serious risks are associated with this situation.

When terminating an employment contract remotely, as a general rule, a notice of termination signed with a qualified electronic signature must be provided to the employee in such a way that they can acquaint themselves with.

Communication with employees in the age of new technologies

As technology advances, the ways in which employers communicate with their employees are also changing. Effective communication should not be limited to providing employees with information in simple, understandable language, but also to providing this information in an audience-friendly form and ensuring easy and constant access to it.

One of the ways that may be helpful to achieve the above objectives is the use of QR codes to communicate with employees. Employers can use QR codes to send employees newsletters, employee newsletters or other announcements. They can also use them to inform employees about vacancies in the company and matters related to employee records.

There is no doubt that classic paper communication is becoming less and less important in the age of remote working. Communication via QR codes should be appreciated not only because of the accessibility of the information provided, but also because of its positive impact on the environment – the use of QR codes saves a large amount of paper, which is excessively used in processes related to human resources management.

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