Technology touches everything in our lives today, changing both how we consume and how we work. Our team, for example, recently began to experiment with Cisco Spark, a cloud-based collaboration platform that incorporates file sharing, phone calls, team messaging, video chats, and more. That’s just one example of stakeholders leveraging tech tools to become more efficient—there are plenty more. As the market for enterprise tech continues to boom, one area in particular stands out as having an exceptionally robust year: HR technology. In fact, if 2016 is any indication, the HR technology market is about to undergo one of the most disruptive years in a decade. Let’s explore some of the top HR tech trends to watch in 2017.

Top HR Tech Trends for 2017

Josh Bersin of Deloitte has been following the HR tech market for almost two decades, and he recently produced a perspective-packed report on the state of the market. As you can see from Figure 1 below, Bersin found the evolution of HR systems has been drastic over the years as software has become more sophisticated and cloud tools and apps have become mainstream. I like this graphic because not only does it highlight the change in HR tech tools over the past ten years, but it also offers perspective on how the roles of HR personnel have collectively shifted as technology has become increasingly embedded in our lives.

HR tech
Figure 1. Source: Deloitte

Enough looking back. Now, let’s dive into what you can expect in HR tech in 2017:

  • People data collection turns to predictive analytics. Applying people analytics in HR isn’t a new strategy, but look for HR leaders to take it to a new level this year by incorporating predictive analytics into the equation. As tech gets more sophisticated, so do prediction models that can help HR teams see better hiring outcomes, less employee turnover, and a more efficient distribution of human capital.
  • Employee experience becomes paramount. Employees are expected to use a variety of tools required by HR, including scheduling software, benefits portals, digital feedback platforms, and more. In the past, these tools often lacked integration and had clunky, cluttered user interfaces that made for a poor employee experience. When functionality reigned supreme over experience, though, these challenges often fell to the backburner. Not anymore. Today’s employees want to be treated at work like they’re treated as consumers, expecting their experience with digital tools in the workplace to be seamless in terms of layout, ease of use, time to value, and more. HR tech in 2017 will lean in when it comes to user experience, functionality, and integration.
  • Marketing and HR collaborate to produce better hires. Marketers are known to be a pretty tech-savvy bunch, adept at targeting messaging across multiple platforms to best reach an audience. HR has been tapping into this capability for a few years now, using marketing principles during the recruiting and hiring processes with tools like Candidate Relationship Management systems. Look for this usage to jump in 2017, especially as hiring companies begin to market the employee experience (see above), not just the salary.
  • Performance management takes a backseat to coaching. Performance management has long been a hallmark of many existing HR processes. That, however, may be coming to an end. Of course, it’s still necessary for employees to be evaluated and for that data to be recorded for future use—the approach, though, is what’s about to change. Especially with the continued influx of engagement-driven Millennials in the workforce, look for more organizations to phase-in frequent coaching—a tactic emboldened by collaboration software and the accessibility of mobile apps—instead of traditional, anxiety-inducing reviews delivered from across a boardroom table.

What’s Next?

It’s undeniable that tech shapes your workplace. Today, it’s easy to get caught up talking about things like tools and bottom lines, benefits and timelines. At the end of the day, though, companies are run by teams of real people with real goals and challenges. Culture is an important part of disruption, and HR inherently plays a substantial role in developing and fostering that culture within your organization. Enabling them with the right technology to meet actual human needs is the basis for all the tech trends I mentioned above, and all the ones we’ll see in the future.

Does your HR team have any digital go-tos? Do any of the trends I addressed here sound like something you’d want to explore further? Tell me in the comments.

photo credit: Crestfelt Photography Matrix anyone? via photopin (license)

This article was first published on FOW Media. 

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