World is changing rapidly, having a vortex of technology, people, innovation, data and AI- all wrapped together to bring a huge shift. Technology is holding a centre stage and making its way in almost everything we do. It has become nearly impossible to run HR without technology and that’s how we are buying technology to match the pace of change. Automation is on the rise and people are anxious about jobs, skills and machines, putting enormous pressure on the HR to manage its resources. The need is to give back people simpler, better and more productive work experience. Josh Bersin, in his address shared some key insights around the changing nature of HR technology.
Three seismic shifts in HR
World of HR has witnessed three seismic shifts- first, during the year 2000, in the form of automating all the paper forms and bringing processes in a single integrated platform. Second shift, is all about moving towards ‘cloud platform’ where things got little better and faster. Though, HR got rid of some legacy systems, it still didn’t improve the employee experience. The third shift is mostly about elevating employee experience and it asks if we can buy technology that actually improves employee experience and engages them? Today, people are more concerned if the systems are easier to use, or the technology making them more productive and connecting them with others. These requirements have resulted in the emergence of employee experience products, strongly backed by technology- be it chatbots, portals, case management tools , talent products etc. this is like the new layering of tools that are being built.
The entire architecture is changing- lot of money is being spent on developing HR tools and on an average, large companies are having 10-13 HR tools related to talent application and employee experience. Recognizing its importance, many big companies like Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, Microsoft, Google, IBM, LinkedIn have entered the HR market and coming up with better learning platforms, network based models and more productive applications. These giants are giving tough competition to the core HR vendors, compelling them to raise the bar. The data based technology is changing, the way we work and manage people is changing and thus organizations will need better tools to manage the same. Organizations will need to decide which HR tools and technology to buy and use.
Emergence of new technology and experience tools
New age companies are digital savvy, innovative, creative and practise continuous learning. This has created a market for different tools for them like, people analytics tools that can do organization-level network analysis, well being tool that can give you direct coaching and feedback, social recognition tools, goal sharing and KRs tools, agile ongoing learning tools.. These are much more than mere applications and should be seen as an important way to understand more about the employee experience. By using principles of design thinking and segmenting workforce to determine what are the important experiences that matter to them in their role. Let’s have a look at some tools and technologies which are being used to enhance employee experience.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is everywhere! Vendors are building interesting applications - it is now possible for employees to assess themselves on coaching skills and get an instant feedback. HR practitioners can facilitate talent mobility and create jobs inside the organization so that employees can shop for the same.
Solutions for Wellbeing
Wellbeing industry is becoming a performance oriented part of the company. Wellbeing tools, algorithms, recommendations are providing good insights and have been hugely successful.
Employee Engagement and Feedback
Employee engagement has always been an area of interest for the HR practitioners from past long. The interest began somewhere in the 1900s when industrial engineers floated surveys to understand how to make the manufacturing plants work better. There’s no looking back since then and now action platform are making rounds- a system that takes the data and gives out the results and intelligent recommendations based on the surveys. The data collected can directly be fed to the managers so that both managers and employees can take action. Josh also highlighted the importance of keeping employees happy because happy employees will make customers happy.
There is disruption all over the place in learning- Learning Management Systems (LMS) is being gradually replaced by more intuitive experience tools. Josh talked about the three layers, which are– 1) core HR tools, 2) LMS and 3) Learning experience tools (LXP). Some of the LXP tools are collaborative, while some are portals and discovery, while some are having an intelligent search mechanism. Josh also mentioned about ‘Learning and the flow of work’ where employees want learning to come to them. It will influence the nature of learning going forward.
People Analytics have moved from a science experiment to a series of actionable programs that people can use. Decisions can be made by analyzing data around retention and engagement. Now it is also possible to analyze data about your network to make better decisions about how to manage people.
Josh concluded the session by reiterating the importance of trust. He said that after having all the data, organizations must build the data privacy standards and reassure employees about how their data is protected.