The last 12 months have been particularly exciting for HR tech. Over the holidays, it was great to stop and reflect on the pace of changing HR technology and consider what 2019 has to offer.
More or less every element of HR is currently being reinvented in one way or another, as technology continues to streamline HR activities in increasingly empowering ways.
HR analytics is not only exposing gaps in employee productivity, it is giving HR Directors the chance to reinvent the overall employee experience at their organisation. Sophisticated machine learning algorithms are delivering ground-breaking insights to afford HR professionals a true real-time reflection on the contentment, productivity and engagement of their employees.
So, what does 2019 have to hold and how is HR tech changing?
Going beyond intelligent automation
The biggest game changer and the one HR Directors really need to look out for in 2019 is Robotics Process Automation (RPA). The promise of RPA has been in the waiting for many years, but now the race is on for tech-savvy HR teams adopt RPA rather than looking to shared services and outsourcing.
It doesn’t mean the robots are coming, more that software robots will start to automate processes across multiple different systems.
2018 saw RPA-based companies such as Blue Prism grow at an astonishing rate. What we’re now witnessing is an exciting new layer to the HR tech revolution, where employees can deliver higher-value work whilst software robots effortlessly perform error-free rules based admin tasks. The resulting increase in productivity will be astonishing.
A sharper focus on people analytics
2018 put the spotlight firmly on the importance of people analytics, a fairly niche practice that up until recently hasn’t gained the attention is so rightly deserves in the Board Room.
But with research form the CIPD and Workday concluding that the UK has fallen behind other global regions in its use of people data, there’s a greater professional-wide push for HR teams to have a better understanding of advanced analytics.
Issues with data integrity have held HR teams back from fully exploring the value of people analytics. But 2019 will bring more understanding and with it, the willingness of HR Directors to explore new ways if bringing data mastery into their fold.
2018 witnessed a strong movement towards empowering employees through HR tech, with the emergence of numerous self-service applications and software upgrades.
HR Directors are already beginning to rethink how they harness this renewed sense of empowerment to drive collaboration and productivity.
The balance of power is leaning further towards the employee. Take the access and validation of CVs for instance. Unless you have a sophisticated and extensive talent pool, the chances are you’ll use job boards to access CVs housed in third-party databases. But there’s a distant rumbling of change. With the advent of blockchain, we’re likely to see candidates taking more control over their professional identity.
Blockchain is already been used within the tech recruitment space. Zinc, for example, ‘open sources’ the entire interview process by collating and securely storing a candidate’s work history, right to work documentation and personal details. For those employees who register their details, there’s a renewed sense of empowerment and control over their professional identity so that they can be matched more accurately to their ideal role. From 2019 onwards, we’re likely to see this replicated across other industry sectors.
Blue sky thinking being applied to HR
Ironically, HR has the least standardised back-office function within organisations. I realise this is a generalisation, but traditionalism still has its hold.
But there has been a shift in the last 12 months. We are gradually seeing traditional HR structures and employee hierarchies being phased out as employees become more empowered and expect more from technology in the workplace.
2019 will see further adoption of the blue-sky project management approach to HR where linear structures are replaced by more dynamic project-managed consolidated workforce management solutions in the cloud.
Virtual talent management
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality have been busy nestling their way into talent acquisition as tech-savvy employers aim to capture top talent.
2018 saw a number of new software launches. It’s not unusual to be taken on a virtual tour of the workplace or to complete a VR assessment as part of the recruitment process. It’s becoming easier than ever to put new employees to the test in real-life scenarios so that they can run through everyday tasks they’ll be responsible for ahead of starting work.
Micro-learning takes centre-stage
Now more than ever, employees are having to constantly up-skill and they are acutely aware of this. As a result, businesses are moving away from rigid traditional training structures to self-directed learning supported by HR tech.
2019 is likely to see the adoption of more platforms that facilitate mobile-optimised, collaborative micro-learning. The market for talent management suites will continue to mature and user-generated content and idea sharing will dominate.