It seems like everyone is talking about the “ideal HR tech suite,” what it would contain, and how it would make the lives of HR professionals easier.

The ideal combination is often said to include a mix of software for recruiting, hiring, onboarding, tax forms, document management, PTO tracking, benefits management, and payroll management. Indeed, all of these are mission-critical aspects of an HR professional’s job that can benefit enormously from new software and technology designed to automate time-consuming processes. However, in our zeal to make these functions more efficient, we often forget that the greatest asset of any organization is its people.

When we’re so focused on diligently measuring and monitoring the efficiency and productivity of our workforces, we often ended up failing to cultivate the deeper organizational values required for long-term success. After all, people are human. They require a more personal touch.

What, if anything, can technology do to help boost engagement, cultivate transparency, promote inclusion, and foster environments of mutual trust and respect? Is it possible for an ideal HR tech suite to create cultures that will attract and retain top talent? Can that suite also make people feel more valued, thus leading to higher productivity?

The answer is “yes.” The ideal HR tech suite could and will do all of those things, provided it includes a real-time crowdsourced communications platform.

Many solutions approach such communication strictly from the standpoint of surfacing more data. When so many organizations are measuring the ROI on every step they take and every penny they spend, it would be crazy to suggest that metrics aren’t valuable. In fact, data can be enormously important in creating alignment within an organization and in helping people make more informed decisions.

However, data can’t serve as a substitute for real, two-way communication between teams, departments, geographic locations, and various levels of management. What HR tech must do instead is enable a human-focused approach to building connected cultures.

As explained by Josh Bersin, principal at Bersin by Deloitte, “Today, companies are far less focused on automating and integrating their talent practices. Instead, they are worried about employee engagement, teamwork, innovation, and collaboration. They want HR tech solutions that are engaging, useful, and productivity-oriented. … The real focus is on reinventing how people work; creating team-based tools for goal alignment and coaching; putting in place systems to provide feedback and measure engagement; and rethinking the way we measure performance, manage careers, and enable individual learning.”

With the addition of a crowdsourced communication platform, an HR tech suite becomes more than just a way to automate functions and generate data – it becomes a way to create connections and surface actionable insight.

A version of this article originally appeared on the Waggl blog.

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