Technology Empowering Human Resources
Ignition CX
Ignition CX

How technology empowers the humans in Human Resources

Chalk Treatment
Tiaan van Zyl, HR Director of Ignition CX, discusses how technology is actually making HR more people oriented.

Technology has become used more extensively in business to streamline processes and functions, and obviously this has also happened in the human resources field. People have questioned this, worried that using technology will make HR impersonal, but we’re finding the opposite – it has given HR professionals more time to focus on the ‘human’ in ‘human resources.’

As part of Ignition Group, a technology company, Ignition CX is able to lean on the group’s significant software and platform expertise, including but not limited to data analytics and machine learning. Our experience shows that technology, when used wisely, actually improves the human aspect of HR. By automating mundane, time-consuming tasks, it frees up time for HR professionals to engage more meaningfully with employees, actually increasing the human touch in HR and ensuring that it remains focused on creating a supportive and high-performing work environment.

This shift has transformed the HR landscape, moving it away from an admin-centric role to a true people-focused culture. It is especially effective in our high-volume, high-intensity industry – you really need that function to empower the people who are behind the business.

With my background in technology and experience in HR, I’ve seen firsthand this transformative shift. With machine learning, we have better, instant access to data metrics and analytics that enables us to make better decisions and focus our time where it is needed.

For example, when we run eNPS (Employee Net Promoter Score) surveys, we are now able to truly understand the data and feedback, allowing us to see where the issues are and have a more dedicated focus on that.

As we use machine learning more widely and as it becomes progressively more intelligent, we’ll get even better at understanding what we’re doing well and what we could potentially work on. The end goal is to create a situation where people want to come to work and enjoy the experience when they are here.

As a global company, we have learnt that personal interaction and localised expertise is crucial for the people approach. In our US business, we have an entire people team based there to look after our US Ignitioners, to give them the same personal attention that we give in South Africa, to support the teams, collaborate and stay connected, and to establish and build the Ignition CX culture. We will never replace the dedicated people team there who understand the area, get to know employees and allow us as Ignition CX to multiply the culture that we have here at our Head Office in those regions. Our Cape Town office is very similar, even though it’s a closer geographic location – we still have a dedicated team there to create the People touch, which is what we’re all about.

Empathy and human connection are still the most important aspect of HR, regardless of how much technology you’ve implemented. At Ignition CX we know that employee satisfaction has a direct effect on productivity and engagement, which is why we prioritise the individual in all aspects of our operations. A story that resonated with me was about a particularly successful man. When asked the secret to his success, he attributed it to being able to remember 50 000 people by their names. When you call someone by their name, it triggers a dopamine response because your name sounds amazing to you when you hear it – that’s what that ‘people’ touch brings – it’s something as simple as remembering and calling someone by their name, which gives their day a boost.

One particular area within the HR space that has also been positively affected is the recruitment sector. We know that it’s important not to steer away from the human touch in the interview process – machines can’t replace the engagement with individuals from a recruitment perspective, as human intuition provides a unique feeling when hiring a new employee.

But machine learning does play an important role – within the Ignition CX People department, we have two dedicated data analysts that look at our people metrics and help our leadership within the department make data-driven decisions. We’re also building a much more skilled team of technologists who are more people focused. This speeds up the recruitment process, reduces the number of bad hires and increases the percentage of good hires who perform well, stay at Ignition CX and build successful careers with us.

For example, psychometric tests and other assessments at an interview stage shouldn’t be used to make a decision of whether to hire a potential employee into the business but rather used to gain an understanding of how that individual will work with the rest of the team, understanding their personality and character traits. This gives your company the ability to make more robust decisions. They can be used to understand whether the individual can bring the diversity you need into the team – diversity in terms of ideas, skills, personality traits and character. After all, if everyone was the same, we’d all just make the same decision. You have people that have different backgrounds, processes and personalities, and when you’re trying to solve a problem, each one of these individuals will bring a different perspective for a more robust solution.

So many people are worried about technology coming for their jobs, but with HR we don’t see technology replacing the human element. Rather, we see it’s use as a tool, where it will help us make better decisions. The human touch is too important and powerful in the HR space, which is why we use technology not to replace people, but to empower them.


Tiaan Van Zyl

HR Director of Ignition CX