“It was a good year.” That’s what most of the HR Tech startups we spoke to opined when they looked back at 2018. From the degree of adoption to the amount of funds flowing in, the startup space generally saw an increased awareness around technology in HR. With the talks of AI, automation, technology dominating the whole year around, HR Tech saw a definite uptake both in India and globally.
On this note, what does the year 2019 bode for HR Tech? What are some of the trends that will shape this space in the coming year? We talked to a number of startups in the HR Tech space such as game-based learning platform Quodeck, employee engagement startup Hush, sustainable credit provider SalaryFits, HRMS provider Zimyo, talent discovery platform Vyre, on-demand video platform Monjin, and Zeta which digitizes employee benefits, HR talent marketplace Noble House, among others to understand which way the wind will blow.
Here’s what they had to say.
HR tech to move up the value chain
Continuing from the momentum of 2018, in 2019, HR tech is predicted to move up the value chain to help improve Productivity, Team and Work management from the current state of Integration and Engagement.
Quodeck’s co-founder Kamalika Bhattacharya says that the major thrust among businesses will be towards driving adoption of corporate learning through technology among their employees and partners.
“Early adopters of HR Tech now have large data sets about their employees and will leverage on analytics to drive productivity and improve employee engagement,” she says.
There will be an increase in the use of AI and Technology enabled methods of screening, assessing and hiring talent and emphasis on developing personalized career paths for their employees using tech to reduce attrition while improving employee wellness and output.
Employee engagement and productivity still the focus area for employers
Further 2019 will continue to see employers everywhere focusing on employee engagement and productivity.
Guilherme Mota, Head of Operations, India, SalaryFits says, “With the innovative HRTech solutions available across borders, HR Heads have a big portfolio of different tools to keep their talent happy and engaged. In this sense, employee's wellbeing, ranging from focus on health and wellness to focus on productivity, purpose, and financial health, will play a big part as an engagement and retention tool. HRs cannot afford to neglect the effects that financial worries can cause on their employees and their productivity.”
From employer first to employee first
Right now all HR Tech is built employer first. However Ashutosh Dabral, Co-founder & CEO, Hush believes that eventually, the trend will move to employee first as the millennial employee doesn’t stay in a company for a very long time.
Employee first Tech platforms that can provide value to employees even when they switch companies will have more value.
He adds that when you add the new gig economy workforce then employers will have to engage workers who are not really “employees”. So new kind of platforms will come up that cater to these users also.
More experiments, more AI, more Blockchain
That 2019 will be an interesting year and will present a greater opportunity for HR Tech Startups as organizations grow and more investments come in startups and growth companies, is also reiterated by Sudev Das, co-founder, Vyre. He adds that organizations will be open to experimenting and experiencing new HR Tech products, to enable quick and efficient growth.
AI & Analytics enriched products would be very attractive to cut on processing time. But it will also lead to expectation mismatches as there are no quick fixes with AI till it matures.
The year will also see growth in the adoption of video for hiring, learning, and engagement. Similarly, the use of Blockchain in assessments, skill certification, and educational qualifications will start appearing in some HR Tech products, which will be very useful in verification and validation of candidate details. Also, predictive analytics with respect to culture, engagement, skills will see significant uptake.
The same is seconded by Kumar Mayank, co-founder of Zimyo who believes that 2019 will see the adoption of cloud/ SaaS not only by corporates but SMEs, along with increased adoption of AI-based HR Applications.
Kunal Kapoor CTO, Monjin adds that intelligent process automation is coming into play, which includes AI and related new technology advances, which can help deliver consistent people processes – something that has eluded many HR ops teams given the dynamic nature of the requests they receive. Cost savings also materialize through deploying such technologies as robotic process automation, machine learning, deep learning, and cognitive agents.
“The year 2019 will also witness the development of quality-based talent pipelines which will further improve hiring accuracy,” he adds.
The use of AI and predictive analysis can further simplify the hiring process, by picking candidates with skillsets and achievements that match the given requirement.
HR Tech will need to continuously create value
While it is a given that most of the transactional interactions involving HR will slowly and gradually move to technology and companies have already started working on moving some of the regular queries on to chatbots, HR tech companies will continuously need to work on creating value for the user through their platforms, says Sanjay Lakhotia, Co-Founder, Noble House Consulting Pte.
The next year will also see some consolidation in the HR tech market due to a sudden spurt in the number of tools out in the market, he adds. The tools will either get merged or there would be models of collaboration that will emerge between different tools.
From generalization to specialization
2019 may also see a spurt in more specialized HR Tech as per Bhavin Turakhia, co-founder of Zeta. He says, “Right now a large number of HR Tech companies in India are core HR Tech. But very soon we will start seeing specialized companies-some will focus just on planning, some will focus only on performance review and appraisals. If you think about it, talent acquisition is already segregated out. There will a plethora of segregated tools which will fulfill a specific function.”
However, he still feels that the real growth spurt in HR Tech is still a few years away. Larger enterprises are paying more attention to people but smaller companies in non-tech industries will take longer, he opines. Bhavin aptly sums up succinctly the state of HR Tech in 2019 when he says,
“There is a certain level of maturity that organizations have to go through in India before you get to a point where HR Tech becomes a priority.”
We could not agree more!