Technology’s outsized role in almost every aspect of modern-day life and business is evident everywhere you look, and its fundamental role has shifted. As Tom Hammond, Paychex vice president of corporate strategy and product management observes, “We’ve quickly moved from being a tech-enabled to a tech-dependent society. This monumental shift has accelerated over the last few years, and HR technology has followed suit.”
Technology’s penetration of the HR space has been a boon for small and midsize businesses (SMBs), and it holds even more promise going forward. “The rapid evolution of the HR tech space has made—and will continue to make—access to technology more affordable and less complex to deal with,” says Kim Billeter, EY Americas people advisory services leader. “Multiple platforms in the marketplace supporting the full lifecycle of employees are now available and accessible for small and midsize companies.”
HR tech capabilities in areas like talent acquisition, employee engagement, and performance management that not too long ago were the exclusive province of large organizations due to cost and scale constraints are now widely available to smaller organizations, she says.
“Now is really an exciting time,” says Paul Sarvadi, chairman and CEO of Insperity. “The improvements that HR technology makes possible on the people side of the business can have a direct effect on a company’s success. I think we’re at the point where these new breakthroughs have started working their way down towards the SMB community. The ability to use these tools to improve productivity is probably the biggest change that’s already here and continuing to develop.”
HR tech meets important needs
Billeter believes that SMBs’ primary HR tech needs will continue to be in the payroll and benefits space, ensuring people get paid correctly and in a timely manner, handling deductions and taxes accurately, etc. “The regulatory landscape is becoming more and more complex, and organizations can’t keep up by having their traditional payroll departments or accountants managing payrolls,” she says. “There are now multiple vendors that offer services that take that burden and compliance risk out of the hands of small and midsize organizations.”
These types of HR tech capabilities are “must-haves” for SMBs because of the efficiency and effectiveness they bring to administrative tasks, Sarvadi says. “You have to do these things, and you have to do them right, because the consequences can be severe if you don’t.”
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