HR technology is not only helping professionals manage benefits and make their jobs easier, it’s also helping them gain C-suite influence.

According to the inaugural Paychex Pulse of HR Survey, more than two-thirds of HR leaders at small and mid-sized companies say they have grown beyond serving a traditional administrative function to taking on a more strategic role within their respective organizations.

And technology is helping to drive that shift because it gives HR leaders the time and information they need to strategically evaluate ways to better manage people and save money, bringing those valuable contributions to the C-suite, Paychex says.

Not only can investment in a technology solution drive efficiency and free up time HR leaders spend on administrative tasks or data entry, but technology can also give HR leaders an objective and comprehensive view of the workforce, allowing them to see and suggest more informed strategic actions.

A growing number of HR leaders (41%) are meeting with their CEO or CFO — or both — on a weekly basis, according to the survey, while close to one-third have access to top management when they need it.

Three-quarters of respondents said that HR technology has enabled them to become more strategic and efficient on the job. In addition, 60% of respondents considered their HR technology to be very effective for payroll, retirement and benefits administration, and time and attendance tracking, indicating they feel that technology is allowing them to maximize their effectiveness when it comes to the administration of critical business functions.

Further, a vast majority of respondents (95%) find their technologies to be either somewhat or very effective for the full range of HR tasks, including onboarding, recruitment, performance management, and other administrative functions.

“Technology is a powerful tool in our everyday lives and especially for HR leaders, with the right solution offering countless opportunities for increased accuracy and efficiency,” says Martin Mucci, president and CEO of Paychex, a payroll, HR, retirement and insurance services provider.

But despite the high levels of satisfaction, the survey suggests that leaders recognize that digital transformation in HR is not quite complete.

As HR technology exponentially evolves, HR leaders are working to keep pace: 48% said they’ve changed their technology solutions in the past one to three years, according to Paychex. And, as in other areas where state-of-the-art technology is a moving target, adopting point solutions versus a single platform may be creating new challenges.

Further enhancing the influence of HR leaders is their ability to make data-driven recommendations and decisions, the study notes.

A large majority of respondents (86%) said analytics help them to be more informed and objective, but nearly half are unsure if they’re leveraging the correct data to meet business goals.

With the vast array of data now available, new analytics tools are becoming a key tool for HR leaders. These range from straightforward reports of current data to AI-driven predictive modeling and recommendation engines.

Eighty-six percent of HR leaders said analytics help them be more informed and objective — but nearly half aren’t sure if they’re leveraging the correct data. Further, those who are using analytics are doing so mainly to target HR communications more effectively.

“Technology, combined with knowledgeable service professionals, can empower today’s HR professionals to make objective, data-driven workforce recommendations to the C-suite that will ultimately help achieve the organization’s overall business goals,” Mucci says.

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