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HR Technology Trends 2015 (Part 2)

Posted by Mathew French

18 December 2014

Earlier this week we explored the first 5 hot trends from Bersin's research about to top 10 disruptions to watch in HR technology for 2015. Now let's look at the final 5 so that you can get your head around the HR software of the future. Discover how technology can and will enable better engagement, more intuitive assessment and understanding of employees, and more synchronised alignment between an organisation and its employees. 

6.  Radical changes to recruiting as social and referral based recruitment becomes the norm

The recruiting market has dramatically changed in the last few years. Thanks to tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, Indeed, Glassdoor, and many others, HR Professionals can now source, attract, and recruit candidates through social and referral recruiting. Recruiters look for candidates based on their social profiles and new referral systems enable HR Professionals to find candidates through the networks of their employees.

It is common to market to this network of individuals through candidate relationship management systems, which can then track their activity and interest in your brand.

Sophisticated e-Recruitment platforms now connect to the new world of social recruiting applications, facilitating the transition from traditional ‘post and pray’ applicant tracking systems to highly interconnected recruiting applications. The modern world of recruiting is now all about ‘managing your people network,’ not just capturing and tracking resumes. 

7. Dramatic changes to performance management, career management, and talent mobility; agile, transparent practices are a new area of focus

The old fashioned performance appraisal has well and truly had its day.

While most organisations still have annual reviews, Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends 2014 Report indicates that more than 80% of organisations tell us they are not worth the time people spend on them. Today companies want solutions that focus on real-time feedback, coaching, development, and agile approaches to goal management. This means redesigning performance management to be more agile, developmental, and transparent.

A new breed of performance management tools now includes features for regular check-ins, transparent sharing of goals, and agile team management. While end of year reviews are still important, new tools facilitate the regular process of coaching and checking – and if they are hard to use, they won’t measure up. Social recognition, a market which today exists as a separate set of vendors, is now becoming integrated.

The talent review itself is also changing. We used to sit in a locked room and place people on a 9 box grid to decide who is a HIPO and who should get the next developmental assignment. Our new research shows that this information should be shared with people, and that individuals should get direct feedback on their performance.

Dynamic talent pool management and tools that let managers and HR teams find people based on experience, role, skills, and job history are now becoming common. HR systems must not only measure performance, but they must help manage employee skills and mobility as well.

Due to the significant increase in talent mobility in the 21st century, onboarding is now becoming a critical part of the talent process. When an employee joins your organisation, changes roles, or is promoted to a new assignment at a more senior level, they need a whole set of things to prepare them for the change. Vendors are beginning to understand that ‘onboarding’ and ‘mobility management’ are similar problems, and you should look for this kind of functionality in your new systems.

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8. Learning Management Systems systems change and market expands

One of the oldest HR technologies is the learning management system. Originally designed as classroom scheduling systems, this market has evolved significantly. In the early 2000s these systems turned into “e-learning platforms” and in the last four years many of the successful LMS vendors were acquired.

The LMS market grew by over 21% this year, so it is the fastest growing major segment in HR software. Why the growth? Corporate learning, content, and collaboration have become fundamentally strategic to nearly every organisation. Today every business needs the ability to reskill technical staff, onboard and train new employees, build deeper leadership pipelines, and help people learn how to do their job better.

There is a rapid shift away from LMS as a ‘training administration system' to the LMS as more of a ‘learning engagement platform.’ New LMS technologies now integrate learning with talent and performance management. They include integrated content and expertise management, and they often have integrated collaboration, recommendation engines, and tools. The new technology called ‘Tin-Can’ will let you track any and all learning activity, including just clicking on a website.

One of the other disruptive changes in the LMS market is the emergence of ‘embedded learning’ and ‘intelligent learning’ as keys to success. Intuitive interfaces will enable real-time training linked to current activities and work schedules.

9. HRMS and Talent Management merge: ERP vendors catching up

What about the big issue of buying all your HR applications from a single ERP vendor? The big question has become, is it time to consolidate to a single vendor solution?

Despite the consolidation in the industry, it is likely you will still end up with multiple vendor solutions, unless you can find one who has an integrated suite of 'best-of-breed' solutions. Innovation in the areas of networked recruiting, analytics, crowdsourcing, real time engagement management, social recognition, and collaborative learning still continues. The ERP vendors now offer credible, trusted solutions for most core applications of HR and talent, but most of the innovation continues to come from small providers.

While ERP providers have an impressive and broad array of solutions, the pace of innovation in HR is accelerating. So while buyers must obviously select one or only a few ERP providers, we believe that the HR market will likely always have smaller, or new disruptive innovators.

As a buyer you should always be open to taking your existing ERP vendor standards and opening them up to new small vendor solutions that offer innovative features and benefits, as well as open API and easily integrated solution functionality. In today’s cloud-based technology environment, companies can easily integrate multiple solutions to create an IT ecosystem, so it is fair to assume that there will be new disruptive and innovative products for you to buy in the future. The key is to make sure your foundational HR software solutions are ready to integrate with your future investments.

10. Technology savvy vendors will likely outpace their peers

The final disruption is the rapid change in technology itself. Vendors with legacy products and architectures will find life more difficult in the coming years. Cloud-based systems, flat user interfaces, mobile apps, video, and advanced analytics are all now standard technologies for startups. Vendors with expertise in these new engineering and design paradigms will likely outpace their peers.

Leading vendors will likely release new features and interfaces every few months and they will be able to rapidly adapt their products as technology, user experience, and client demands change.

The rules for HR software are changing. Organisations no longer buy HR software solely based on features: they look for the total employee and user experience. Vendors have to build deep skills in design, mobile, analytics, cloud, integration, and modern programming technologies to give their customers the best.

Tomorrow’s HR software solutions will be radically different

The days of selecting an HR vendor based purely on features and checklists are coming to an end. Many vendors have similar HR process features. Winning vendors will embrace these ten disruptions and deliver products that feel like consumer apps yet have the data analysis, network integration, and compelling user experiences of Apple, as an example. Buyers will start looking at HR technology as a total “employee experience.”

Implementation of HR technology will always be a challenge, but other than the inherent change management and communications issues, the systems really are becoming easier and easier to use. Eventually HR technology will ‘disappear’ into the corporate infrastructure and become just another part of doing business and coming to work. However, those organisations which do not adopt HR technology that facilitates this kind of seamless experience for its employees, will likely fall further and further behind their competitors in The Human Era.

Bersin believes that the HR technology market is filled with talented and committed vendors, and the value of HR technology is increasing rapidly. Perhaps for the first time since the original personnel database was developed on a mainframe, Bersin is adamant that HR technology can become one of your organisation’s most important tools for talent management, strategic decision-making, and overall company success.

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  • Self-service
  • Mobile time and attendance
  • e-Recruitment integrated so that applicants can apply with their LinkedIn profile
  • Integrated and customisable engagement and feedback surveys

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