Article: Tech Talk: Predicting the future


Tech Talk: Predicting the future

The top five HR technology radical shifts – Ignore them at your own risk
Tech Talk: Predicting the future

The challenge for HR teams will be the need to embed new technologies at the speed both their business and employees are demanding


The HR Technology market has hit $15 billion and is still growing. This industry is exploding with startups in social and referral recruiting, talent analytics, assessments etc. The top 50 HR technology investment deals this year were over $560 million and the top 50 learning and educational tech deals were over $800 million, according to Josh Bersin, Founder and Principal at Bersin by Deloitte, leading provider of research-based membership programs in human resources (HR), talent and learning. Economic growth, changes in demographics, a growing skills shortage, and millennials entering the workforce, are the main forces driving the tremendous growth in this segment. Technology can be a potential headache for HR teams and boardrooms in 2015 as organizations grapple with the need to embed them in the new processes and systems at the speed business and employees are demanding.

All of these factors have been creating big disruption for HR departments over the last few years. It is not new. What is new is the urgency in the need to recognize these changes is higher than ever before.

Last year when we wrote ‘HR Cyborgs’ for our August Cover Story, we saw the possibility that HR managers will have wearable devices at their disposal and these devices will help them make talent decisions. This year, we track 5 radical shifts in this space to watch out for

Technology for engagement not for administration. There is a clear shift - HR systems will go beyond administrative systems of record. They will be the foundation for building the organization – from talent intelligence, to collaboration and culture, communication and engagement to employer branding. The changes in technology are going to have a far wider impact than just improving the HR processes. HR professionals need to leverage this opportunity by looking at HR technology through the wider lens of workplace transformation. This also implies the integration of messaging and communication. Internal and external communication is integrated in HR platforms. They create an opportunity for two-way interaction thereby reinforcing the talent brand. Employees also co-create the messaging by being ambassadors of the brand internally and externally.

New workforce, new ways. By 2020, the median individual in India will be 29 years, making it the youngest country in the world. The workplace demographics are radically changing and HR will need to shift gears to support a very different segment of employee. This year, millennials will become the largest segment of the workforce for the first time. That will mean a shift on the mediums that HR uses to interact and engage with talent bringing social and mobile to the forefront. While there are apps for consumers, it is time for HR to leverage the power of 5.2 billion mobile devices and 1.6 billion smart phones. There is another trend that spins off from the demographic changes and business dynamics: The increase of contingent workforce and the need for alternative employment relationships. That will require organizations equipping themselves with systems and technology that support these new contractual relationships. Empowering all parties to maximize value: More self service for the user, more insights for the employer to manage work, projects and shifts the most optimal way.

Using data for prediction not for explanation. Data analytics will be key for HR to make a real difference to the overall business strategy. While many organizations have been collecting data for many years, they are yet to realize the predictive power of the data. In most organizations, finance and marketing departments are good at drawing out analytical data for their functions, HR is far behind with just 4 per cent of organizations effectively using predictive models for their workforce.  There is where HR really takes on a strategic role and gets business recognition as they are presenting management data to support the HR requirements. Google uses predictive analytics to drive its people decisions. For example, Google’s PiLab is a unique subgroup that no other firm has. It conducts applied experiments within Google to determine the most effective approaches for managing people and maintaining a productive environment (including the type of reward that makes employees the happiest). This shift will inevitably require many change in thinking about the business of HR. This year, we will see many more organizations adding data analytics capabilities to its HR teams, creating models and driving insights that optimize methods across HR processes.

Recruit like a marketer. Last year IT major HCL Technologies launched a global talent acquisition campaign called #coolestinterviewever on Twitter. The campaign used the powerful social platform of Twitter to create a complete recruitment engagement while amplifying “Employer Value Proposition” reach. Hiring became a two-way conversation on a social platform. Total engagement from prospective job seekers was 250,000.

Ultimately, five candidates were shortlisted via twitter interviews conducted over 15 days with candidates from over 60 countries. A strong talent brand can significantly reduce the cost per hire, increase engagement and strengthen employer loyalty. Technology is today an integral part of the recruitment process and it is time to integrate social media across the board to video interviewing and virtual meeting tools and applicant tracking systems. Candidates expect a lot more from organizations – are your jobs on social? Are they easy to find on a mobile device? Can I interact and connect with people playing those roles today? Recruiters need to keep pace with the segment they are trying to hire from. Is your recruitment team mirroring your critical talent segments? This year we will see recruitment teams bringing onboard more tech-natives in order to be able to engage with Millennials and Generation Z.

Performance, succession planning & e-governance. Organizations need sharper focus on their current reality and the ability to create hypothesis for different business scenarios and predict its talent implications. Focus on productivity and innovation is driving a radical shift in the way we look at Performance Management. Bersin By Deloitte predicts 67 per cent of companies are planning to purchase new talent management software either for the first time or as a replacement for existing solutions. Traditional approaches and its systems are as not adequately supporting business requirements and talent expectations. Similarly, for succession planning, organizations will need to imbibe predictive modeling to continually improve their forecasts of marrying people capabilities, readiness and costs to business opportunities. Finally, an increasing focus on compliance, e-governance and the increasing risks related to people liabilities will drive even higher focus on building systems with scalable technology.

This year HR will need more investments. CEOs are aware that investment in people is the key to future success. We will see more and more of those words translating into action. As the HR function becomes more aware, more business-focused and empowered to take technology decisions, it will be able to deliver the business outcome that it promises.

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Topics: Technology, #HRIndustry, #TechHR2015

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