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Digitising the HR function: the crucial role of the operations manager

Of all the roles that make up the HR function, it is the operations manager’s role that has changed the most over time. Operations managers play an important part in the overall management of an organisation; they coordinate between the employees and the traditional HR personnel based elsewhere (this new trend requires more scrutiny). They are also in charge of making the organisation’s strategic decisions. Operations managers are in charge of appraising their team and sending out salary review proposals during salary review campaigns. They handle employee leaves and working hours approval. They are the cornerstones of responsible managerial systems. It comes as no surprise that companies aspire to better guide them in their daily activities. Companies go as far as stationing local HR representatives or managers, who offer advice and pass on the company’s best practices and HR policies to employees.

Provide managers with the right tools

Several digital tools are deployed with major investments and overhauls to help managers achieve their daily tasks. What’s surprising is that even though digital tools have been transforming the HR function for 40 years now, this trend has only caught on over the last ten years. All job aspects can now be digitised.

Digital tools provide managers with incredible leverage (data sharing, securing and scheduling HR processes, sharing relevant information, and more). Even though companies and HRDs mean well, they must make sure managers aren’t stuck in a digital hell. Managers’ requirements and limits must thus be taken into account when designing the tool. We’ve all seen managers using several solutions for their daily tasks: an administration and payroll management portal to approve their teams’ leaves, an HR portal to fix their employees’ objectives, and a business intelligence software to obtain a dashboard by analysing different features.

Get the manager involved in the design phase

Managers constantly reconcile their operational objectives (helping a department add value to the company) and HR requirements set by the company. This results in simplifying the application rationalisation, making them easy-to-use. Nowadays, managers are drawn towards the many intuitive solutions available on the market. These tools, inspired by social networks, are capable of analysing data. They are especially designed to make the manager’s life easy.

But we need much more.

A project’s pilot experiments must systematically consist of a representative panel of managers, and implement a true project approach (surveys, workshops, and mock-ups). These managers are most likely to lay the foundation of the digitisation project. Managers need to be encouraged, not neglected!

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