With millennials and Gen-Z comprising the biggest cohort in the workforce, employers across the world are looking at tech-powered ways to recruit, manage, and engage their employees. Here are some of the most important HR technology trends in the coming year:
Adoption of virtual reality to augment processes like onboarding, management, and recruitment as the workforce becomes increasingly distributed and virtual.
In the last few years, HR technology has dramatically changed the landscape of how people management works. There are a couple of reasons that have powered such a big shift. The first is that millennials are now the biggest cohort in the workforce. This is a generation that has grown up with access to the internet and mobile devices — and as such HR technology is no longer a preference, but a necessity.
The second reason is the advancement in the technology itself. Emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and RPA (Robotic Process Automation) have caused actual disruption in HR practices, rather than incremental improvements
To a large extent, the 2010s were about using HR technology to automate existing HR processes for better people management and to make them faster and more efficient. The upcoming decade will be about going beyond functionality and improving productivity.
In today’s world of knowledge workers, the biggest factor for success is the productivity of your workforce. And 71% of business executives across the world agree that retaining and engaging employees is critical to the success of their companies. In other words, emerging technologies are now going beyond existing HR functions to actually re-imagine areas like people management, talent management, employee engagement, and performance management.
Here are some of the top emerging technologies and their impact on the existing functions of HR teams:
Artificial Intelligence is becoming an integral part of most new-age HR technologies, which is dramatically changing how these mechanics operate. Here are some of the ways in which AI is going to be impacting HR practices:
Using AI algorithms to understand and automate repetitive tasks will free up more time for HR teams, who can instead focus their energy on strategic and high-impact tasks. What’s more, AI-powered HR tools will enable easier access to curated data and visualization, which will make insight-driven, strategic thinking a lot easier.
Augmented analytics automates insights using machine learning and natural language processing. This becomes a more self-service and user-friendly way to analyze employee data and generate actionable insights.
Improving employee engagement
The use of AI-driven algorithms in areas like employee engagement and performance will modernize the process. The software will now be able to focus on improving the lives of employees in a very real and substantial way. Through tools like continuous performance management and customized learning paths, the focus will be on ensuring employees’ psychological safety while creating an environment where they can perform at their peak.
AI-based algorithms, combined with an increase in cloud-computing, will see a rapid shift in the way employers find talent. AI for talent management helps understand people’s profiles to an unprecedented degree — drawing from a variety of sources, including their social media activity. This helps in creating the right kind of matchmaking.
Remote working is fast becoming the new normal. While this trend has been catching up for the past few years, the COVID-19 situation has really brought it to the forefront. Increasingly, many companies will move to a remote-first model while others will bring remote working options for their employees.
While collaboration and productivity tools like Slack and Trello are critical to this transition, HR software has to become cloud-based too. People management processes which meet the needs of globally distributed teams in a quick and scalable manner is only possible through cloud-based HR tools.
Cloud-based HR has two complementary benefits. While it allows HR to access employee data in real-time and make decisions accordingly, the cloud-based self-service tools also give employees much better control over their data. This, in turn, makes it a lot easier for companies to evaluate productivity and engagement.
There’s no denying that rapid advancements in AI will change the nature of work. According to AI guru Kai-Fu Lee, 50% of all jobs will be automated by AI within 15 years. This does not mean that there will be no jobs — it simply means that the nature of work will change.
Loyalty can be earned by preparing the employees for this change. That’s where HR software that personalizes learning and development comes in. While up-skilling is necessary when it comes to the current job role, building more transferable skills and competencies is equally important. In a world where automation will take over repetitive tasks, having software that invests in soft skills training like communication, being a good team player, employee management, etc., has become important.
Performance management is going to become a real-time, continuous, and integrated process. HR Technology will be gradually used to develop a cycle of expectation-setting and feedback, which in turn will ensure much better monitoring and improvement of employee performance. The era of Annual Appraisal is nearing its end and organizations are upgrading themselves to more frequent reviews (quarterly/monthly) with the ability to even have more granular check-ins (weekly). Organizations are increasingly adopting feedback interventions like Feedback 360 to make their performance management truly holistic.
Also, employee well-being is now considered a crucial part of productivity and performance. The best companies are looking at a much more integrated approach to that factor — in terms of physical, mental, and emotional health.
There are HR tech tools around employees’ physical health — this includes gamification and wearable. At the same time, mental wellness and health tools are increasingly being incorporated into HR software to focus on employee wellness and productivity.
The gig economy has been around for a while, but it is likely to witness a sharp spike as people are increasingly looking to work on their own terms and conditions. Employers are fast realizing that using a mix of contractors, freelancers, and full-time employees is the best way to reach results faster.
For many employers, gig economy workers comprise as much as 30% of the workforce. In such a situation, the role of HR is to bring these diverse workers on one platform and manage the people, their recruitment, performance, compensation, and so on. This is where customized tools will come in handy.
Virtual reality is rapidly transforming a number of sectors, and HR is no exception. Things like interviews, job previews, and even onboarding, all are aided by virtual reality. As the world becomes increasingly remote, and social distancing continues to be the norm, this technology will definitely help bridge the gap. Increasingly, virtual reality is also being used in the learning and development space
The world has changed rapidly over the last few months. While this change may seem temporary, it is likely to spark behaviors that will transform the future of work in permanent ways. In such a scenario, HR tech is also likely to adapt accordingly to meet these changes. A definite commonality across all the HR tech trends — whether that’s AI or gig economy or virtual reality — is that they will help to power this transformation.