The HR Technology marketplace has been a fluid conversation as the pandemic has forced almost every organization to either go to a remote workforce environment to leverage new technologies or come up with new strategies overnight. The key trend right now is that employers are still leveraging their existing technologies for maximum optimization, however there are clients who want to look forward and evaluate new strategies and new technologies, if applicable.
The majority of the engagements we’re seeing still fall under the optimization category in that there is an existing vendor in place and there’s perhaps a module or two that were never fully implemented, or needed to be repurposed in order to get employee communications out quickly. We’re still seeing many contract and partnership reviews, especially for some of the smaller organizations, such as those with under 500 employees who have maybe invested in an HCM or HR technology solution or talent solution, but really have never had the time or the resources to fully implement it. We would encourage any of you who may have similar situations, to continue to optimize as best you can.
It would be impossible to give you a full overview of what’s going on in the HR tech space, so we’ll zoom in on three key areas that we’re seeing or will be revived going into 2021. Although many companies had to decrease their HR tech expenditures in the past year, there are many organizations that are growing despite the pandemic or whose revenue and capital were not impacted by the pandemic. So if you’re in a position to invest further in your human capital and in your HCM technology, this is the best time to begin because these vendors have been hit, but are also still trying to sell. There could be a great opportunity for you to optimize or even expand your utilization of the technology with a better deal.
The most prominent rising HR technology trend is talent management. Technology has changed how it has deployed talent, and many people have different interpretations of talent. From an HR technology perspective, talent management is more than just applicants, finding candidates, and Boolean search. There’s been a big shift in the talent management technology space, simply as a recourse to the changing dynamic within the workforce. People are working longer than ever before and tenure has decreased especially in the 25-34 year old demographic, causing talent strategy to specifically address these changing dynamics. With this issue being top of mind, there’s no question why talent vendors and talent management technologies have seen such a huge influx of capital. We have seen so many acquisitions and mergers take place in the space, specifically its definition has expanded because of the changing dynamics and because the vendors have recognized that and have for quite some time.
One of the most important trends that we’re seeing in the face of talent management is career planning. It’s going to fall into a lot of different buckets because there are so many moving pieces. There are vendors who have insights and abilities to zoom in on a more passive career planning approach where you’re able to pinpoint some of the softer skills that may or may not exist in your employee base.
Internal mobility is a byproduct of that because it’s more feasible to look for talent within a group that already understands the organization, its culture, and its business processes.
HR tech vendors focus on helping clients spotlight employees within their organization who are a good fit for a position, thus avoiding any formal requisition. Internal mobility has been huge due to cost and the ability to upskill who you have and provide direction on how to best fill the role effectively.
What’s now available and live today are technologies that enable more of a pre-merger environment or a pre-candidate campaign where, in a real talent acquisition, they don’t have to be about people who are actively looking for jobs. They could be sourcing passive candidates and engaging and allowing recruiters to have more established relationships with potential candidates, based on their skill based on their connectivity to your culture, even before they decide to apply or maybe even before you even have a position to offer them. The way that the vendors have been able to respond to this need has been in the way of talent pools and nurture campaigns with video interviewing and text. HR tech experts predict that this will address many of the inequities that existed for so long.
There is such a broad spectrum of talent vendors that are emerging, all with different functionalities, goals, and methodologies and philosophies for how they specifically define talent. It’s really going to depend on your organization, HR strategy, and what objectives you’re trying to achieve through the technology infrastructure. There has certainly been a big push from the industry to get more inclusive in how the data is being used and how they are being leveraged by recruiters and hiring managers, and on the other side of the talent spectrum, how they’re actually engaging employees throughout their careers and throughout their tenures.
AI, Machine Learning, & Data Analytics
AI is just a computer aggregating large sums of data, and being able to leverage that data, so it’s artificially analyzing that data, which ties into data analytics. Data Analytics is how you use that data, so you get all this aggregated information. With the surge of the internet, there’s much easier access to data and analytics that give you actionable data for strategic insights. This specific HR technology trend is vast and on the rise as the complexities that exist within it are able to be streamlined.
Machine learning is taking AI to another level, where the machine, the computer, learns through different processes, so that it gets smarter. It is able to automate so many different tasks that take a lot of manual work off different functions or, in our case, HR administrators. A newer technology within this space is blockchain. Not many organizations are talking about blockchain in this space, but if you’re not familiar with it, this is the technology that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are based on. Although it’s very complex, the general concept of it is a public ledger so transactions can be validated. HR technology experts predict a lot of movement and a lot of value with blockchain in the HR space, starting with education and employment verification. It’s factual data that’s not going to change and can easily be validated through each individual blockchain.
It’s really important for HR professionals to realize that data analytics is a goldmine of getting real insights about your business and then taking actionable steps to either remedy or enhance the process. HR is no longer a transactional business- there are essential business functions within HR. It’s much more than just turnover percentage. It’s much more than just how long it took to process your last payroll. We look at treating analytics as not only looking at HR or people data, but also actual business data for strategic opportunity and development.