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How technology is going to affect HR processes in 2016

Imagine software that runs on a phone, delivers on-the-job skills training via video, and integrates with a learning management system that shows a manager how well employees have mastered new skills.

This is just one example of the innovations emerging to help improve productivity at work, according to Josh Bersin, principal at Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

It also is among the technology-related trends that appear in “HR Technology for 2016: 10 Big Disruptions on the Horizon,” a report written by Bersin and unveiled at the recent HR Technology Conference and Expo in Las Vegas.

Human resources software applications are becoming tools designed for employees first, enabling them to learn and collaborate, share feedback, set goals, steer their own careers, and even manage other people more effectively, according to Bersin.

By contrast, only a decade ago HR systems were designed primarily to help HR professionals do their jobs.

In the report, Bersin underscores other key new trends, including the emergence of enterprise resource planning (ERP) providers as end-to-end HR technology providers. He also points to the development of the new HR software categories of feedback, engagement, and culture management.

“The HR technology market is bursting with new applications that shift the focus toward more consumer-like experience and away from tools created to streamline the work of HR administration,” says Bersin. “Imagine an employee application suite that runs on your phone, knows your location, and recommends people with whom to network. It also evaluates time-management aptitude to help improve productivity, automatically assesses work behaviors, and offers feedback on improving work-life balance. It even shares exercise and healthy eating tips at the point of need. This is where HR technology is going, and we’re getting there a lot faster than you might think.”

Bersin adds that new technologies are transforming nearly every part of HR—from sourcing to recruiting to talent and performance management to learning. In addition to a focus on technology tools built primarily for engaging employees, disruptive trends include the following:

  • Mobile apps are a new HR platform. Breakthrough areas of mobile applications in the coming year will likely include engagement and feedback systems.
  • ERP providers emerge in the expanding talent management segment. ERP vendors are now catching up as credible, effective providers of comprehensive talent management technologies to support recruiting, learning, and a range of people management tools including those for work-life balance, engagement, and culture assessment.
  • Built-for-the-cloud providers redefine HR functions. A new and disruptive “third wave” of talent solution providers is emerging with products that are consumer-like in ease of use, very inexpensive to buy, and built for mobile and the cloud. These providers are having a profound effect on several areas including payroll, learning technology, and employee engagement.
  • Feedback and culture management emerge as new software categories. Several providers are bringing together the world of performance management with feedback, employee check-ins, and development planning. One vendor is expected to release a feedback app that could make meetings and conference calls more useful and productive.
  • Reinventing performance and goal management with feedback and check-ins. As many organizations do away with ratings and simplify their approaches to performance management, many startups are emerging to fill the gap left by performance management software that generally is behind user needs.
  • Learning experience middleware strives to integrate content from everywhere. Fed by the growing need for skills development, the training marketplace continues to grow, with the evolution of expert-led and new content providers and platforms. Look for new middleware companies to bring all this content together into an integrated learning experience.
  • Emergence of new predictive analytics vendors and solutions. A range of new vendors are emerging that offer everything from identifying employee flight risks to startups that can attach sensors on employees to help determine whether a new office layout is working or not.
  • Demand for technology services continues, despite the growth of cloud computing. Despite the common fallacy that cloud computing will make customization, consulting, and management services obsolete, experience shows that organizations that buy new cloud-based HR systems experience challenges during the transition. These organizations should select vendors that deliver high levels of service, have open-programming interfaces, experience in the buyer’s particular industry, and fit the business culture.
  • As pace of innovation accelerates, employee engagement is critical. As the market moves from licensed software to cloud-based systems to mobile technologies, this new wave is all about engaging employees in a simple, compelling way. Companies, including medical practices, should evaluate the success of their HR technologies by their employees’ engagement with these systems.

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