The Future of HR Tech

As human resources management sits on the cusp of a tech overhaul, a slew of startups are cashing in on the opportunity

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Human Resources (HR) professionals have to wear many hats. From recruitment, to handling employee performance, relations, training and benefits, to planning and maintaining administrative functions, HR management is not just limited to hiring anymore. 


With the role of HR becoming critical in supporting business, companies are increasingly looking to integrate technology into their HR operations to streamline their tasks. Seeing an opportunity, a slew of HR technology startups are building products using artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), data analytics and blockchain to help enterprises enhance their business outcomes. 

AI Overhauling Hiring Process

Nitin Kumar signed up on several job portals in early 2020 while looking to switch jobs. What worked well for him was an AI-based platform Instahyre that threw up relevant listings which matched his credentials. “The platform listed tech roles suited to my skill set and from known companies, which was not the case with other portals,” said the Delhi-based software developer.  

Instahyre has developed a matchmaking algorithm that analyses millions of data points to find the job best suited for candidates using the platform. 

The Delhi-based advanced hiring platform is streamlining recruitment--from discovery, to communication to engagement--of not just job seekers but also companies. Sarbojit Mallick, co-founder and CBO, said “Our platform is solving three key problems in the recruitment industry: high cost of hiring talent that often turns out to be unreliable, long hiring process and difficulty job seekers face in discovering the right job.”

Another startup changing the dynamics of recruitment is ReferHire. As per founder Rohit Tewari, an estimated 70 per cent jobs aren’t advertised and over 65 per cent vacancies get filled through referrals. For this reason, making the right connections has become an important criteria in advancing one’s career, which puts the majority of candidates who haven’t graduated from top schools at a disadvantage. 

“We’re enabling professionals to build multiple peer level connections in specific companies they want to target next,” said Tewari. ReferHire is a P2P social hiring network where users can check vacancies their peers may have put or tap them on behalf of their company to earn their referral bonus.

The next step after candidate discovery and engagement is closing the offer. Bengaluru-based HireSure is solving inefficiencies in this domain. “In the recruitment process, job offer rollout and acceptance experience is marred with inefficiencies and trust deficit between the employer and workforce,” said Vineet Dwivedi, founder and CEO, HireSure. 

“This results in extremely low and unpredictable returns of recruitment drives. The problem that we are solving is that of a poor joining ratio after offer acceptance, which is the step that alone consumes 50 per cent of the total sunk cost of hiring.” 

HireSure uses blockchain technology to cryptographically store employment-related records. The company’s predictive tools use AI to offer insights related to employee compensation and offer acceptance behavior that helps companies increase their offer to join ratio significantly, which brings down their hiring costs by up to 50 per cent.

Managing The Workforce Through Tech

Apart from hiring, managing the workforce is another humongous task HR professionals have to undertake. Companies like ZingHR and Leena AI are helping organizations transform the employee experience with the use of tech. “We aim to solve issues that arise at every touch point across the employee lifecycle,” said Adit Jain, co-Founder and CEO, Leena AI.

Leena AI’s product offerings include employee onboarding and engagement, document management system, intelligent case management system, knowledge management system, offboarding module and virtual assistant.

The company’s virtual assistant, equipped with Natural Language Processing (NLP) and ML, streamlines the storage and dissemination of information to employees in an organisation. Leena AI claims that 60 per cent of the employee queries are accurately resolved automatically without any human interference.  

Clients corroborate the numbers. AirAsia claims that by using an AI-driven conversational platform it has automated 30 per cent of employee queries and the turnaround time for resolving employee tickets has reduced by 41 per cent. “We derived multiple ROI and advantages from the AskPac (in-house name given to Leena AI platform),” said Mo Khurram Zia, head- people operations, AirAsia. “The stronger the FAQs, the less tickets are raised.”

Deploying HR tech tools also helps companies address policy gaps. Through data analytics, companies assess the number and types of queries asked, which in turn gives insights on any information that is seeked most by employees and needs to be included in policy documents.  

Beyond automation, tech solutions also directly impact business outcomes of organisations by empowering business goals, delivering business strategy, enhancing employee performance and maximizing EBITDA margins, said Prasad Rajappan, founder and CEO, ZingHR. “Our HR software products are employee-centric that can help enterprises to enhance the productivity of employees, stay connected and have effective collaboration.” With global presence across SouthEast Asia, Middle-East and Australia, ZingHR counts the likes of HDFC Bank, Kotak Bank, Jubilant Foodworks, Burger King India and Muthoot Fincorp among its clients.

Covid-19 Has Made HR Tech a Priority

Covid-19 has upended the concept of workspaces and employee engagement, making adoption of HR tech a necessity rather than a choice. 

“In a workplace that no longer functions on human interaction, the only way HR personnel can ensure employees have a smooth experience is through the adoption of virtual assistants and other tech tools,” said Jain.

To solve the challenges of business continuity, ensuring productivity and compliance, adoption of HR tech has become a priority for businesses across sectors amidst the pandemic. “One thing that is often neglected is the importance of continuous engagement with the employees. Having a strong communication model in place will ensure that the productivity does not drop. This is where HR software solutions like ZingHR come into picture which can help companies to manage remote working challenges,” said Rajappan. 

“All HR processes, be it onboarding, training, employee query resolution, or any other core process, is now completely dependent on HR tech,” said Jain, adding that the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation of HR processes globally. 

Spurt in business growth of HR tech startups is a testament to rapid adoption of tech tools by enterprises. For instance, Instahyre has registered a 12x growth in the number of signups and 480 per cent increase in platform usage since March last year, with its revenue growing seven times in the last six months.

“This is because companies had to adopt technology in the “new normal” and the recruitment underwent a sea change in just a couple of weeks,” said Mallick. “As companies gave up their physical offices and all interviews and onboarding became virtual, adoption of technology grew by leaps and bounds.”