With HR investing more time on strategic processes like learning and development, retention and employ ee engagement, investment in outsourcing and technology will ncrease
Integrated data and data analytics will be a must have for HR to supp ly business leaders with reliable talent intelligence and HR metrics
Technology in the HR space is evolving at a speed not known to hitherto. HR leaders are increasingly taking the onus to transform the HR function in their organizations by embracing outsourcing and technology to strengthen their power and reach. In this volatile business environment, the demand to incorporate talent management tools designed to keep the organization agile and drive business success has increased tremendously. Choosing the right HR technology solution and deriving its full value needs a well thought-out strategy to ensure an optimum return on investment.
Companies across the board are leveraging technology; SMEs are looking at efficient delivery of transactional processes and at reducing costs. As for larger organizations, the decision to invest in technology and automation of administrative HR activities will facilitate the shift towards an increased focus on talent strategy and talent development. With HR investing more time on strategic processes like learning and development, retention and employee engagement, investment in outsourcing and technology will increase overall to give the required breathing space to HR departments.
Looking at the evolution in the last few years, the adoption of technology has gradually drifted from basic HRIS modules, which were primarily an employee data depository to integrated HR dashboards and in-depth employee data analysis. While the industry requirements are heterogeneous, with diverse business needs and a surfeit of vendors, there are several common trends that will define the future of talent management systems. Analysts concur that the ongoing trend is towards a stronger focus on integrated talent management as a key technology, switching from upgrades to replacement and increased focus of platforms that are social and mobile.
Integrated talent management as a new product category
The rapid development in technology has led to the emergence of integrated talent management as a new product category. HR departments are now looking for integrated talent management systems that closely bring together the diverse elements of managing talent. A single integrated platform ensures ease of execution for employers as well as employees. The driver for this evolution has been the requirement from organizations to achieve real-time talent management - thereby breaking down the barrier between internal and external talent. Organizations must have the ability to find and hire the skills they need as and when required, and not be constrained by rigid processes and systems. Businesses will rely on system functionality that provides integrated processes and enables agility and better decision support.
SaaS continues but on cloud…
HRMS is being re-invented with the introduction of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). As an ‘on-demand-software’, it is becoming a common delivery model for many business applications like MIS, CRM, CM, ERP and accounting. Companies reluctant to invest in their own servers are moving to SaaS on cloud as the most preferred option. The application of enhancements to any product is easily manageable since one upgrade by the vendor on cloud ensures the same is carried out for all clients.
Core HR Systems have been replaced in response to the developments in-depth and breadth of functionalities. Many organizations have begun to understand that HR is a unified human capital department, whereas Human Capital Management (HCM) is a strategy that is beyond the HR department. This is a monumental shift in the thinking of HR. This implies that in the next round of system replacement, the focus will be on unified HCM, global deployment, and delivery models to enable real-time talent management as the “core” business requirement and hence, functionality.
HR technology is migrating to cloud computing and SaaS delivery model. SaaS and cloud take agility to the next level, providing direct access to employers and employees, transforming forever the HR service delivery model.
Data, data and more data
Companies are looking at unification and analysis of the core HR data to arrive at strategic decisions regarding recruitment, performance and training. In recruitment, for example, companies facing high attrition can study the channels and sources of talent to identify the source of the successful profiles within the company. Business analytics in this case, helps to identify a new talent pool of employees with a higher degree of guarantee to stay and perform well for an organization.
HR has more access to data, both inside and outside of the organization, than ever before. The challenge for organizations is how to take these data into account for future HR plans and how to utilize it across HR processes and systems. HR is beginning to make this transition by laying focus on metrics, analytics, and dashboards. This is what business leaders care about, because it presents integrated data in a useful way and helps in business decision making. HR must shift its thinking here and look at technology as a way to gather metrics and analytics and not look at technology for process automation alone and think that the metrics will come at a later stage. Experience shows that when process automation is the primary driver, meaningful access to metrics, more often than not, never gets materialized because they were not the key focus of the exercise.
The social enterprise
People Matters’ March cover story1, deep-dived into how social media platforms have become intrinsic to the new workforce and how talent management too can benefit from this new wave. The question for HR is whether they will prevent this movement, or they will embrace it. Progressive organizations are doing the latter; they have started using social media effectively to redefine the way they interact, engage and influence existing as well as potential employees. The contagion of social media has spread across different stages of an employee’s lifecycle, right from selection, recruitment, on-boarding, retention, development, analytics, learning, to alumni engagement.
SMAC, the acronym for social, mobility, analytics and cloud, defines the expectations of the new generation technology tools.
Emergence of local players
With many organizations increasing their presence in tier II and tier III cities, adopting technology to ensure connectivity to business and collaboration, has become business critical. The aim of many of the new technologies is to connect these cities to the employment ecosystem in the country and this also continues after employment to ease working through virtual teams. While internet-based technology has opened new windows to these areas, on-ground infrastructure capability needs to be built further to support the trend. Given the dearth of service providers catering to small organizations and more so, the ones that have footing in tier II and III cities, local players are emerging to tap into this untapped potential with customized technology platforms that are more suited for the local requirements.
HR leaders are driving transformation of the HR function in their organization. Going forward, in most of the cases, this will imply that the HR departments will replace the core HR systems and processes with new models of partnership, outsourcing and delivery models of the HR function. With more Gen Z entering the workforce over the next 10 years, social and mobile technologies will emerge as dominant trends in this landscape. Finally, integrated data and data analytics will be a must-have for HR to supply business leaders with reliable talent intelligence and HR metrics. This will enable them to continue to add value as a function. The HR function and profession is at a crossroads; whether to deliver functionalities (as in the past) or to drive business strategy (wherein the future lies). By shedding off transactional and operational HR activities, HR can join the driving seat of business and contribute to leveraging the talent advantage.