The new digital technologies are a real opportunity for improving HR

HR is learning to become proactive

Today, HR departments should not look at technology as a threat, but should see how algorithms and artificial intelligence can help them improve their daily tasks. Digital technology has allowed HR to go from production to services and today it has the opportunity to play a strategic role in enhancing skills and encouraging people to work together in a time of uncertainty. We use the term “enhanced HR” to describe the efficiency derived from the complementarity between man and machine.  With technology taking over time-consuming mundane tasks, HR teams can focus on more important tasks and spend more time improving relations between people within the company by handling special cases in great detail.

Compensation management, the first step towards an optimized services offering

I took this job a year ago with the goal of improving HR by digitizing management processes. We began by automating questions inherent in the payroll process. With the withholding tax project, we needed to set up specific type of communication process. We decided to answer a certain number of questions using chatbots to inform employees how certain events would affect Withholding tax. For example, for sick leave or the hiring and termination of people with fixed-term contracts and how the tax authorities would proceed in these cases. An automated, interactive FAQ is reassuring because it provides accurate information and renders it accessible. We hope to provide answers to 80% of questions via chatbots. Chatbots provide a first level of information, allowing more time for quality, personalized telephone conversations on more complex issues.

Digitization and better communication

Providing access to information for all the people in a company generally improves communication and has a positive effect on relations between people in that company. In the specialized retailing sector, employees working in different areas throughout the country can have a tendency to feel isolated. To avoid this and to prevent our services from being submerged by calls, automated workflows and processes allows us to answer basic questions. Semantic analysis is now capable of automating all HR processes and provide answers thanks to the use of chatbots. Employees can easily access their data without having to wait for information provided by other departments or ask their managers.

Collective intelligence to improve performance

This direct access to information on line ensures that employees are directly involved and that information is interpreted correctly. This interactive approach, which has been gradually implemented in companies recently, improves collective intelligence and performance. Employees thus become more independent and responsible and more directly involved in their career development. Our goal is to extend HR online services to other activities such as T&A and skills management.  But we must first create a true HR portal, where each employee can access their documents.

HR is the glue keeping together the various parts of the company

HR strives to promote innovation to increase ‘social cohesion’ and employee engagement. By developing our services to employees via high-performance platforms, we give employees the feeling they belong to an innovative company that cares about their well-being. We believe that if you look after your employees, they’ll look after your customers and this is something we implement. The Picard brand is one of France’s preferred brands and we want this to be the same for the employer brand.

In conclusion, the digitization of HR encourages our 6000 employees (in 1000 stores and often in teams of 3 or 4) to feel they belong to the group. We need to offer them modern digital tools to process information at all levels because we promote strong values such as team work, proximity, loyalty and drive.