These days, the HR technology market is transforming faster than ever, and 2018 is set to bring even more fresh changes. Ten of the biggest disruptions to watch for in the year ahead include the following:
A shift from automation to productivity
The early years of HR technology were strongly focused on process automation: developing and integrating practices like online payroll and record keeping, and software-supported learning management and performance appraisals. But now that automation has become the new standard—it’s no longer innovative to automate HR functions, it’s expected—focus has shifted to the question of productivity. Today’s agile, team-centric organizations face overwhelming workloads, and issues like employee burnout and engagement have become pressing concerns. The situation has left HR technology consumers and creators alike asking the following: Can we develop HR software that really boosts productivity and helps teams work more effectively together?
Ongoing cloud migration
Cloud-based HR services have become very popular over the past five years, but many companies are still pondering the question of when and how to make the transition to the cloud. Typically, given the range of customized HR software and the broad choice of vendors, a large company can take as long as two to three years to complete a cloud migration. And given that only about 40% of today’s companies are using cloud-based, human capital management solutions, we won’t be seeing the end of cloud migration any time soon.
Continuous performance management
There’s no longer any denying that continuous performance management, also known as real-time feedback, is not only here to stay, it’s transforming companies for the better. Supported by a variety of software and online systems, more and more companies are weaving a new, ongoing process for goal setting, coaching, performance assessment, and feedback into their operations. The results are tighter teams, more engaged workers, and stronger connections between management and employees.
Feedback, engagement, and analytics tools
Evaluation isn’t a one-way street any more. Today, it’s just as important for employees to be able to evaluate and give feedback to their employers. As such, a whole dynamic world of real-time survey systems, organizational network analysis tools, and sentiment analysis software has sprung up to support this growing practice.
New corporate learning tools
The next generation of corporate learning tools has exploded onto the HR scene, and companies can’t seem to get enough. From micro-learning platforms to modernized learning management systems to new AI-based technology that helps recommend, find, and deliver educational materials, today’s corporate learning tools are getting smarter all the time.
Ongoing innovation in recruitment
Recruitment is the biggest marketplace in the HR sphere. With companies spending billions annually on strategic sourcing, candidate experience, and employment branding, it’s logical that recruitment has been a prime target for disruption in recent years, and that trend is showing no signs of slowing down. Chatbots and other new tools are automating high-volume recruitment in industries like hospitality and health care; open-source tools are transforming skilled job recruitment; and automated applicant-tracking systems are facilitating connections between candidates and employers.
An exploding well-being market
Employee well-being is virtually inseparable from the question of productivity, so it’s hardly surprising that HR technology, content, and tools focused on well-being are set to become the next major business trend. As corporate well-being initiatives move from emphasizing “health” to emphasizing “reducing burnout” to emphasizing “human performance,” all kinds of tools and data are emerging to help measure employee energy levels, determine why they might be low, and provide personalized recommendations on how to improve energy levels. So far, the rapid adoption of these tools is driving tremendous value for companies.
More mature people analytics
When it comes to people analytics, companies have been experimenting with models for years, but recently there has been an increasing shift towards more serious infrastructure investments that bring all personnel data together to drive measurable improvements. With embedded analytics tools now the standard offering from human capital management vendors, it’s easier than ever for companies to build a manager-level dashboard that provides thorough and accurate insight into how to make the work experience better.
Better self-service tools
An emerging market that is poised for major disruption is the rapidly growing need for self-service employee experience platforms. With employee service centers becoming more automated every day, effective and intelligent self-service systems that integrate case management, document management, employee communications, and help-desk functions are desperately needed. So far, vendors are answering the call with AI-supported tools, including smart chatbots and cognitive coaches.
HR leading the innovation charge
One of the most exciting disruptions to watch for in the year ahead is the level of innovation coming from within the HR field itself. Previously, HR approached innovation in a purely reactive way: waiting for tech companies to invent things and then figuring out how to use these new products. But increasingly, HR professionals are becoming disruptors themselves—experimenting with new systems and models for performance management, learning strategies, or recruitment—and then seeing which vendors offer or can create tools that support those innovations.