2016 HR Tech Predictions? Fine!

2016 HR Tech Predictions? Fine!

There appears to be a fear that the world would cease to exist without Trends and Predictions. Seriously, January 1st will come if we don’t predict what the New Year will bring. After all, they predicted mayhem for Y2K, and 01/01/00 still went off without a hitch…and not simply because we spent billions preparing for it.

OK, I feel better now that I’ve gotten that bah humbug out of my system. Alas, like the many posts that rail on lists of “top 50 influencers” only to include a list of influencers, I can’t help myself. After all, I’m getting asked in the real [outside of Social Media] world, so the thoughts have already been percolating.  Plus, when the HR Happy Hour podcast with the esteemed Trish McFarlane and Steve Boese airs this week, the question of “what to expect in 2016” was on the list of topics we covered. So, if we’re going to talk about it, let’s talk about it (wow, that’s quality writing there).

So, here they are, my top 5 predictions for 2015 in the world of HR Tech. Don’t worry, this will be brief in the spirit of #1, and because at this point you should either be wrapping up work in anticipation of the holiday, wrapping presents, or…wrapping your fingers around a glass of beer/wine. Better yet, this won’t cost you billions.

1. Simplification Will Sell

This was my main point in the HR Happy Hour discussion. Our lives have actually become more complicated by technology, despite all the promises that it was supposed to have the opposite effect. Therefore, our work technology cannot add to that complexity. This prediction applies to all aspects of HR Technology, as illustrated by the following examples:

  • Let’s say your goal in 2016 is to find that integrated system that covers most functionality that will allow you to manage your team members. The wide scope of such a system means that there’s even more reason for each nook and cranny to be simple to learn and easy to use. HR functions like processing new hires should be streamlined and employee tasks like electing benefits should be foolproof.
  • Alternatively, you might be looking for something more specific like a new way to measure employee engagement. The same theory applies. As an example that provides dramatic effect, we’re measuring employee satisfaction by asking our team to answer one question per week (via German teambay.co). Consider also the move to banish the annual performance review…that might make things more simple too, provided the alternative is simple enough. Analytics is another specific toolset that can either fail in complexity, or win by making it simple to translate cool looking metrics into usable insights.
  • If your software does need to be moderately complicated, software vendors and buyers had better find a way to make sure that employee’s frustration doesn’t destroy system adoption. Ways around that would be embedding training videos in the software itself, as I recently saw AppLearn demonstrate at HR Tech World Congress.

2. “Engagement” Becomes Buzz-Killed

Speaking of simple, this is too easy to predict. Due to the length of buying and development cycles, my theory is that the concepts you hear extensively about one year will come to fruition the year after everyone is done putting them in their whitepapers. “Buzz-killed” implies that both software vendors and buyers will move past spreading the engagement buzz and finally arrive at creating/buying the products that deliver. Well, either that or they’ll die, in which case “killed” still applies.

Regarding what “engaging” software actually means, you could read one of the aforementioned whitepapers, or for now simply consider it to be software that draws you in, connects you with your fellow team members and leaves you wanting more.

3. The Dichotomy of the “Haves” and the “Have Nots”

Generally speaking, in the past few years there has been a major push towards adopting new HR Technology. Company after company has made the business case for technology, and then found, and implemented their new system. We’ve helped, or in the process of helping, a lot of companies that fall into this category. However, as the expression “generally speaking” indicates, there are plenty of companies that are late to the party for one reason or another. That dichotomy has effects on many HR Tech stakeholders. For example, software vendors are marketing to two very distinct groups. After all, companies that have just spent mucho dinero buying and implementing a new system  aren’t going to be ready to switch. However, they might be willing to entertain some interesting point solutions that address specific needs, and hopefully plug in nicely with their shiny new system. Conversely, the “have nots,” which are still bountiful, are the remaining targets for those looking to sell integrated systems. Similarly, those of us who service the HR Technology needs of companies will either be providing our selection and implementation services on one side of the coin, or our optimization services on the other. The list of those impacted includes industry associations, conference organizers, publications, etc.

4. Workforce Analytics Are No Longer Optional

The topic of Workforce Analytics has been on nearly every list of predictions for years. However, note the twist in the title, which I’ll illustrate using the typical innovation lifecycle. I’ve picked the starting year of when the innovators started to adopt solutions that apply workforce analytics to gain insights and make adaptations within their organizations. Guess what, laggards, it’s time to get your act in gear…before you miss the entire cycle.

5. Talent Acquisition Has Its Day

Earlier this year, I viewed a vendor’s promotional video that talked extensively about the “war for talent,” and it wasn’t only the speaker’s British accent that resonated. This war is real, and if you haven’t already figured out that your company’s success/failure hinges upon your battle-readiness, you probably will soon enough. More importantly, if you don’t have the solutions in place that cover the following areas, and cover them well, you might as well throw up the white flag:

  • Make it easier/faster for hiring managers to push requisition requests through the process (note that actually having a requisition process is also important)
  • Make it easier for recruiters to identify new candidates, as well as create that all-important pool of candidates.
  • Actually appeal to the candidate, giving a realistic but exciting view into the company culture you’ve worked hard to foster.
  • Help team members shepherd the candidate through process, from application to interview (maybe even tossing in efficiencies like video interviewing) to job offer
  • Connect seamlessly to your onboarding process

So that’s it, 2016 predictions complete. 01/01/16 is now sure to happen. And it won’t even cost you billions.

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ABOUT JEREMY AND HIVE TECH HR

Jeremy Ames Hive Tech HR CEOJeremy enjoys being forced to predict the future in HR Tech…and holiday spirit. He is CEO of Hive Tech HR, which helps its clients create HCM strategies and find/implement HR technology.

Follow Jeremy @TheHCMGuy

Follow Hive Tech @HiveTechHR

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