In 2016, investors spent more than $2 billion into HR tech systems and platforms, according to CB Insights. Huge technology developments are reshaping HR, and business leaders would be wise to understand the following nine trends that will be the themes for 2017 HR technology.
The Performance Management Revolution
Performance management underwent a transformation towards a less subjective and more data-driven stage, like abandoning ratings and adding check-ins. The latest trend is to make all these automated. These include managing performance by team instead of hierarchy, responding to dynamic team management, making transparent goals that are easily altered and tracked, and various check-in mechanisms.
An Explosion in Real-Time Engagement Evaluation
Feedback-based tools and systems are appearing as a major theme in HR platforms. Companies are conducting regular surveys to their employees to ensure their needs are known and satisfied. New technologies have joined this trend to provide employers with event-based feedback that can be gathered whenever there is a major organisational change. They are also being integrated with performance management systems, succession planning initiatives, and other people practice.
The Rise of People Analytics
Three functions have been highlighted in recent years. Firstly, analytics models have been created to predict how to improve employee’s performance. For example, Products from Oracle and SuccessFactors can recommend which training employees should have based on their roles and activities at work. Secondly, there are new ways to collect feedback and performance data. These include Starling Trust’s system that analyses patterns of e-mail and predict where a security leak or fraud is likely to occur, and include smart badges that monitor employees’ locations and voice tenor to gauge when and where they experience the most stress. Thirdly, there are tools to record employees’ communications and time management practices, which can be used to help low-performing employees to learn from high-performing peers and change their behaviour.
Maturation of the Learning Market
When companies want to provide training to their employees, they have new tools to choose. Recent learning platforms are providing various video courses and giving employees more freedom to browse and choose instead of to register and start learning. Workday Learning, Fuse Universal, SAP Jam and other tools are bringing YouTube-like video experiences to employees, featuring in curation, recommended learning and data-driven recommendations.
A New Landscape for Talent Acquisition
A new style of talent acquisition platforms is aiming at integrating and increase the efficiency of the hiring process. SmartRecruiters, Lever, Greenhouse, Gild and others have started building end-to-end recruitment management systems that handle everything from distributing job postings, conducting pre-hire skills assessments to interviewing candidates and background screening. A trend of the design of these tools is to directly connect to LinkedIn and other job boards where candidates’ information can be stored, paired and reviewed. These platforms are particularly helpful for fast-growing technology companies, retailers and seasonal manufacturers to quickly get the right number of employees with the right skills.
The Growth of Contingent Workforce Management
Two emerging markets are supporting the new fashion of contingent work. The first is contingent workforce management systems that are include software for vendor management and time-tracking and scheduling system. These include Fieldglass from SAP, Kronos, Beeline, PeopleFluent, and Workday. The second is the gig-work networks that match workers to projects. These include Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr, and Workpop.
The Adoption of Team Management Tools
New tools are designed to facilitate collaboration by making it easier for teams to track their work via real-time messaging, archiving and search. These include Slack, Workboard, Trello, Asana, Wrike, BetterWorks, 15Five, Basecamp, Rallyteam. They are not all HR technology tools, but are entering the HR space. The biggest trend in this sector is the shift away from solutions used exclusively by HR to those that are closer to employees and managers, such as integrating similar functionality with Outlook or other workflow management tools that employees use every day.
A Wealth of Wellness Apps
An increasing emphasis has been put on employee’s personal performance, and this is reflected in the accelerated growth of tools that manage employees’ wellness, work/life balance and activities. Core platform providers (such as Oracle, SAP SuccessFactors, Workday, Ultimate Software or others) have built-in analytics engines that could inform the company about what employees are doing, how happy they are and how well they are taking care of themselves.
Accelerated Automated HR
Artificial intelligence tools, robotic process automation and self-service transaction integration can facilitate a total redesign of the employee experience, dramatically reducing costs and improving the value of HR. The areas that are being automated include the entire employee joining process, processes for employee career and job transitions, exploration of retirement options, and assessment of an employee’s potential. IBM, for example, now has an artificial intelligence application that helps employees do their own onboarding, finds nearby employees as mentors and addresses the top 200 questions employees ask in any new position.
Author: Selina Gao, Plusser Marketeer based in Manchester