2016’s been a massive year for the HR tech market. In fact, corporate analyst and founder of leading research and advisory firm Bersin by Deloitte Josh Bersin suggests we’re in one of the most disruptive years of this decade. He explains why in his report ‘HR Technology Disruptions for 2017: Nine Trends Reinventing the HR Software Market’.
It’s a fascinating read but if you don’t have time to read through it all, here are some of the headlines that grabbed our attention and that we think will grab yours too.
1. People analytics has arrived
HR departments’ futures now depend on their ability to harness people data. They need to be able to build predictive analytics models. And it’s happening right now – companies are spending millions to consolidate HR platforms.
Do it successfully and it means big benefits – Bersin talks about things like reduced absences, greater innovation, better retention and increased and improved collaboration and performance. Businesses who fail to use people analytics are increasingly putting themselves at a serious disadvantage.
2. The use of mobile platforms has exploded
Could the HR software of the future be built entirely on mobile architectures? Bersin thinks so. Mobile apps are now a personal and intimate part of our lives. And while the marketplace has taken its time adopting mobile HR tech, it’s now embracing it. After all, as Bersin points out, it’s where employees spend their time – in aggregate, American workers check their mobile phones approximately 8 billion times a day.
3. Old school performance management doesn’t work
Companies are now reinventing performance management. The old school approach based on the hierarchical organisation just doesn’t work – 82% of companies believed the process they had in place was ‘not worth the time put into it’.
Leading companies are now looking at the way they manage and measure performance, emphasising the need to create a more agile approach. What does that mean? Periodic check-ins. Shared goals that are transparent and developed from the bottom up. Regular developmental conversations. Feedback that goes from employee to employee, employee to manager and manager to employee.
Businesses are rethinking the whole way they coach, evaluate and measure employees and they’re demanding tools that let them scale up these new approaches to performance management.
4. Feedback and ‘always-on’ engagement measurements are essential
Marketing teams have been finding ways to measure customer feedback for decades. And finally, companies have woken up and realised not only should they be doing it with their employees too, it needs to be real-time and local level.
Feedback might be operational: it might be about people. But as employees become more comfortable sharing their feelings and observations, and companies improve at using that feedback, it’s revealing some hugely valuable information. Not only the challenges – management problems, leadership gaps, safety issues – but also the opportunities for business improvements too.
5. The HR tech market is no longer just about HR
Perhaps the biggest trend Bersin is highlighting is this; technology’s shifting away from providing tools that just help HR, towards tools that help employees and managers do their jobs. And it’s a trend that’s accelerating.
Software tools are being designed to help people collaborate, share and set goals, and work together as teams. And applications are converging too. Whether it’s wellness, recognition or performance management, there’s a shared aim to enhance performance, increase engagement and bring people together to create a stronger culture and improve the performance of the entire organisation.
Bersin’s report highlights the radical changes HR platforms are undergoing. The HR tech used and the experiences they deliver are new. But as the report also explains, so is the way companies are managing people. The entire marketplace has moved away from tools that automate traditional HR practices. It’s now all about platforms and apps that make life at work better for everyone.