As the world moves further into 2021, technological transformation of businesses is picking up pace rapidly. HR leaders must be the spearheads of such transformation if it is to be purposeful and meaningful. HR is by definition about people, but that does not mean it can or should stay away from technology.
HR technology is already being used in recruitment for attracting and retaining the right people. Here are some key themes for technology in HR:
- Remote teams: From being an exception, remote work is fast becoming a rule, fully or at least partially in most organizations. This could be in the form of hiring more remote workers or relying by design on distributed teams. HR professionals face administrative challenges in connecting employees and giving them equal learning and development opportunities, which is where messaging and project management suites, virtual coworking spaces, and VR conferencing come into play. On the other hand, they also have access to more talent, leveraging sites and tools connecting them with prospective hires.
- Cloud-based HR: This is becoming commonplace not only with globally distributed teams but also for small but fast-growing businesses, giving them real-time data access. Employee self-service models offer better benefits, tasks, and data access to employees, while their engagement and productivity can be better evaluated with HR technology.
- Recruitment experience: HR professionals leverage several tools to create a seamless candidate experience, from resumes to interviews. Candidate experience platforms allow conversations with outside talent, chatbots facilitate faster candidate screening and response to applications, and there are also platforms connecting employers with registered specialists to give them the best offers.
- Learning and development: There is a definitive move toward self-paced, personalized courses matched to individual learning styles and needs. Technology also allows individualized career pathing, skill gap identification, and job competency reviews.
- Wellness and mental health: Given its impact on job performance, team productivity, and the company as a whole, numerous projects look to improve employee wellness and mental health and avoid burnout, ultimately improving employee retention rates. Employee data will fuel personalized health and wellness systems while digital cognitive-behavioral therapy tools help fight anxiety and depression. As part of workplace strategies toward meaningful spaces, programs will help people manage their anxiety and stress.
- Employer branding: Brand and reputation affect the recruitment process and the bottom line, bringing in more qualified applicants and reducing the cost per hire. HR leaders can use employee stories and job offers in hyper-targeted social ads to help reach the right people by significantly narrowing the target audience.
- AI-driven analytics: With data management in HR becoming extremely important, augmented analytics uses machine learning (ML) and natural language generation to automate insights and deliver the findings in a conversational form that is easy to digest.
- Data security: Sensitive employee data must be secured, a growing concern for HR professionals. This data must be kept intact and secure, while being processed and managed correctly.
- Cybersecurity: With remote work becoming common, HR technology must incorporate disaster management and continuity plans given the ever-present risk of cyberattacks. Employees must receive frequent training that helps them stay alert to the risk.
- Automation: With AI and ML, not just repetitive or low-value tasks but also higher-level tasks such as advanced problem-solving and preventive maintenance are being automated. Companies are looking toward factories where very complex activities are highly automated, digital warehouses, and continuous-line factories using the Internet of Things (IoT).
- Hyper-personalization: HR leaders are looking at how they can personalize all employee interactions with technology. Data and analytics will be important in customizing engagement, L&D, and wellbeing to the needs of each employee. The candidate experience for a fresher should, for instance, differ from that for an experienced professional, and even niche skills will be hired for at a large scale. Even compensation, recognition, and rewards could be customized as per the needs of multiple generations in the present-day workforce.
- Learning with virtual reality (VR): L&D programs are evolving to bring in augmented reality (AR) and VR for learners to get better experiences and exposure. For instance, leaders must defend proposals or conduct team activities in virtual environments, or technical skills in engineering and product design are taught and evaluated with new-age simulation tools and virtual labs for hands-on experience.
- Organizational network analysis (ONA): Companies are increasingly using ONA to drive organizational change and achieve their strategic goals. ONA helps to identify key change catalysts, influencers, mobilizers, and thought leaders in the organization, along with mapping the corresponding information flows and how better communication could be more advantageous.
- Data science skills: The aim here is to provide real-time meaningful insights to HR leaders, allowing them to take data-driven decisions based on helpful analytics and visualization. Mounds of data are present, but making sense of these is what will help organizations to stand out from competitors.