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New research may just have punctured the illusion that more digital tools can only improve workflow and productivity. Adam McCulloch reports
It's a common sensation. IT has come up with a workflow fix involving a new digital tool. “Well done” we all chime while loudly agreeing that our lives are about to be made easier.
Internally though there's another feeling. A weariness that we will have to master another piece of software, another password and username format to forget, and a bit more time waiting for the computer to fire up; perhaps we'll even have to explain to a temp – or at least an absent colleague – how to use it.
And who hasn't missed an important message because they were monitoring their email, had forgotten to look at Teams, hadn't fired up Google Chat, misheard the Zoom call, and didn't have their Slack notifications switched on, having been distracted by a WhatsApp thread?
Now new research from HR tech firm Personio adds weight to these previously shameful feelings and finds that HR itself has been at the epicentre of an eruption of new tools designed to “help” practitioners during the pandemic.
It has found that over a third of employees (37%) report that there are too many different digital tools to use leading to what it calls “fragmentation frustration”.
[pullquote]We’ve all experienced at some point how fragmented data and processes across a multitude of tools can make even the simplest of tasks more time-consuming and distracting for employees” – Hanno Renner, CEO, Personio[/pullquote]
But in HR, the situation is worse. Since the onset of the pandemic, 44% of HR decision-makers have seen an increase in the number of digital tools they use for people related tasks leading to a situation where, on average, organisations report using six different tools for people-related tasks and insights alone – rising to eight different tools in large businesses.
Furthermore, among HR decision makers who use multiple tools for people-related tasks and insights, a quarter (25%) recognise that this causes frustration amongst employees, and a further 24% observe that multiple tools slow down processes and cause unnecessary delays.
Personio concedes that “an overload of digital tools designed to boost efficiency could be hindering workers’ productivity” and says it's time to streamline them, before productivity is hit.
Hanno Renner, CEO at Personio, says, in a curious twist on