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More than half of European companies are increasing their focus on digitalising HR processes

Yet human contact is still needed, particularly during onboarding, recruitment, or when a member of staff leaves the company
Woman Looking at a Graph on a Digital Tablet

According to a study by SD Worx, the leading European HR and payroll provider, more than half of European companies have increased their focus on the digitalisation of all HR processes. The non-profit sector, in particular healthcare, is gaining ground in this area, coming in at 57%. Among younger employees under the age of 35, 54% feel that digitalisation on the workfloor needs improvement. Although digitalisation and hybrid working are on the rise, the human aspect remains important within certain HR domains such as onboarding, recruitment or departure interviews. SD Worx ran a survey across 4,371 employers and 10,119 employees.

More than half of European companies (53%) have noticed increased efforts to streamline the digitalisation of HR processes within their company. In particular, companies in Italy (61%), the United Kingdom and Belgium (both 59%) and the Netherlands (57%) have seen greater attention paid to the field of HR digitalisation. The study emphasises that the focus on digitalising HR processes is increasing, but also confirms the importance of companies finding an optimal balance between a digital approach and a personal approach. Even in times of hybrid working, it is important to consider employees' needs, the organisation's situation, and the expectations in a specific HR domain.

    Healthcare and public sector gaining ground

    The survey of 4,371 European employers showed that the digitalisation of HR processes is more established in sectors such as finance and insurance (60%) and the manufacturing industry (60%). The non-profit (58%) and healthcare sectors (57%) are also gaining ground. Smaller organisations (<100 employees) and medium-sized companies have also seen a higher focus on such digitalisation, with 61% and 60% respectively. However, the increasing attention is particularly visible in larger organisations with 500 to 999 employees (68%) and over 1,000 employees (71%).

    Responses from more than 10,000 European employees showed that progress in digitalising HR is necessary, with almost half (48%) indicating that digitalisation on the workfloor needs improvement. In particular, Italian (54%), Spanish (53%) and French (50%) employees feel there is much work still to be done, while employees (54%) under the age of 35 strongly believe that digitalisation can be improved.

    In addition, digitalisation of HR processes is also higher on employees' lists of priorities, with the focus on automation processes, analysis and interpretation amongst highly-educated (53%), knowledge workers (51%), routine workers (50%), employees who do team work (52%) and managers (54%).

      Need for a digital approach greatest among young people

      However, finding the right balance between right degree of digitalisation and a more personal approach is key in HR. Despite the growing focus on (improving) digitalisation on the workfloor, it is also clear that employees strongly prefer a personal approach in a number of areas.

        Employees under the age of 25 are more likely to be won over by a digital approach, particularly in the HR domains of the recruitment process (23.1%), monitoring health and well-being (21%), communication on remuneration (23%), the provision of HR services (interaction with the HR department) (27%) and HR administration (32%), performance appraisals (16%) and departure interviews (16%). This is likely due to the fact that they have grown up in a digital world.

        Bruce Fecheyr-Lippens, Chief People Officer at SD Worx explains: "Digitalising HR processes and a personal approach do not have to be mutually exclusive. The figures confirm that making significant investments in both approaches is worthwhile for employees. During a performance appraisal, employees not only want to see a score on a screen, but also expect a personal explanation. This also applies to more complex issues regarding administration or HR services. Digitalisation naturally has a positive impact in many areas. By automating certain processes and supporting digital tools, you give your employees the opportunity to make the most of their time, their talents and their skills. A good example is Mysdworx, where employees and employers can organise their HR administration online. This also has the effect of freeing up more space for personal contact where it's most needed for employees. Digitalisation and a personal approach complement each other nicely within HR.  

          About the survey

          In the context of the war for talent, iVox conducted a survey on behalf of SD Worx on how European employees and employers are dealing with the digitalisation of their HR processes. The survey focused on attractive employment practices in the war for talent, what employees look for in an employer, and what employers are doing to be or become attractive as an employer. The survey covered seven areas that employers may choose to focus on: well-being and people-focused HR, a flexible work organisation, a motivating reward policy, an inspiring and encouraging culture, the digital workplace, talent management for sustainable careers, and recruitment.