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HR Technology Trends to Watch

Published by Giles Slinger

A new era for people management

As a people function, it’s arguable that HR’s aim would always focus on getting the best from an organisation’s talent. The tools, however, would evolve fast. In five years’ time, HR analytics would flaunt Cognitive Capabilities, from social sentiment analysis to fitbit-style tracking of workforce data, and Open HR – presenting data from multiple sources on one platform for managers, transforming the employee experience.

At the IBM HR summit, Diane Gherson, IBM Senior VP HR, shared some insights into the current trends affecting the end-to-end employee experience. IBM sees multiple applications coming onstream that will soon revolutionise HR in three key areas:

1.Changing the Employee Experience

2. Supplying better tools for management:

hr advisory support

Figure 2. Data from multiple sources will be pulled together to create the most updated employee profile

HR advisory support will be more data-driven. HR will be able to pull together data from multiple sources to prompt managers to do a better job for their people. Think of it like a fitbit for managers. ‘Suzy who works for you hasn’t taken a holiday since November – why not have a chat’ or ‘Joe joined at the same time as a cohort of 10 others, but he is 6  months behind in career progression…’

Manager decision support  such as to hire, to promote, to train, to relocate a person will be decentralised and more transparent

3. Supporting strategic insights:

What’s next?

All these analytics advancement are all well and good. But the focus needs to move beyond optimising the existing organisation to also preparing what they need to be in the future. Watson, for example, works brilliantly as an analyser of the past – when looking into existing roles in the existing organisation: “Until now, people have left for the following reasons.” In stable industries it makes sense to forecast the future on that basis. But in organisations that are changing significantly, a reliable historical basis for predictions may not be available.

Likewise, optimising a workflow in an existing HR process may be the best use of your HR team’s time assuming the workflow is still needed in the first place. But – to take the example of recruitment – what if the entire process could be disrupted by an app that leverages staff LinkedIn networks to prompt (and reward) employees into making highly targeted referrals for vacant posts?

Analytical capability, which runs on past data, has to be backward-looking. But Diane Gherson’s final element the use of co-creation to change a process – is a sign of greater flexibility in IBM’s use of technology to prepare for the future. This is one elephant that may yet continue to show its dancing abilities.