3 Standout Trends from the Hype Cycle for Human Capital Management

November 15, 2021

Contributor: Teresa Zuech

Use these insights to further evolve your human capital management (HCM) technology roadmap and strategy.

In short: 

  • HR leaders are focused on managing their ongoing pandemic response — coupled with today’s fierce competition for talent.
  • This has led to new human capital management (HCM) projects as well as a renewed interest in established technologies. 
  • Specifically, technology that is critical to today’s labor market — like hiring, developing and retaining talent, as well as employee well-being and productivity — has come to the forefront.

By 2023, Gartner predicts the majority of solutions deployed to support new ways of working during COVID-19 will be retained. 

“While the pandemic has given rise to unanticipated human capital management (HCM) projects and challenge, it’s also attracted renewed interest in more established technologies,” says Helen Poitevin, VP Analyst at Gartner.

Download now: The Top CHRO Priorities, Trends and Strategic Actions for 2022

As you focus on managing your ongoing pandemic response, coupled with today’s competition for talent, leverage these three trends to gauge the maturity and capabilities of new technologies:

  1. Increased use of hiring technology 
  2. Increased use of technology for developing and retaining talent 
  3. Increased use of technology related to employee well-being and productivity 

Specifically, Gartner identifies two technology classes for each of this year’s HCM trends to better support HR leaders. 

Trend No. 1: Hiring technology 

The fierce competition for talent and increased job openings have prompted talent acquisition leaders to work faster to move candidates through the pipeline. As such, artificial intelligence (AI) in talent acquisition (TA) and video recruiting are two trends that help mitigate some of these pain points to fill positions more quickly and accurately.

AI in talent acquisition

What is it? AI in TA increases automation of the recruitment process and provides decision-making support to candidates, hiring managers and TA professionals for process steps such as talent sourcing, screening, interview scheduling and initial onboarding.

Gartner inquiry indicates a steady demand to leverage AI across front-end talent processes, such as sourcing, job distribution and predictive analytics, to improve key talent metrics. 

AI can also improve the productivity of recruiters and hiring managers. It enables organizations to make better use of resources involved in the sourcing, screening, interviewing and assessment processes, and supports more data-driven decisions

Our recommendation: Apply AI from the top of the recruitment funnel by investing in tools, such as AI-enabled candidate sourcing and recruitment marketing solutions or chatbots, for candidate engagement and initial screening.

To increase success, follow a framework for implementation that prioritizes use cases and high-touch moments that deliver the most value. 

Video recruiting

What is it? Video recruiting refers to the use of video in the screening and selection portion of the recruitment process. Typically, a candidate is filmed answering prearranged questions or participates in a video conference call. Video recruiting often results in shorter time-to-hire and lower cost-per-hire. Video may also improve the quality of the hire because of visual cues. 

COVID-19 has led to increased demand for video recruiting, especially in roles where face-to-face was previously the only interview channel (i.e., volume hiring for frontline workers). Another adoption factor includes the increased prevalence of a widely distributed workforce, virtual teams, the rise of gig workers — where faster turnaround of applications is required. 

Our recommendation: Assess how video recruiting fits into your overall TA strategy and clearly identify your business objectives before investing. Assess the changing dynamics in the video recruiting market, and consider the importance of security and privacy in your scoring criteria. 

Hype Cycle for Human Capital Management Technology, 2021

Read more: How Technology Can Curb the Spread of COVID-19

Trend No. 2: Technology for developing and retaining talent 

Organizations recognize that employees are more than just workers. To develop and retain talent, continue to innovate while providing meaningful opportunities to your employees. In today’s labor market, offering upskilling and reskilling opportunities is crucial. The internal talent marketplace and learning experience platforms (LEPs) facilitate continuous education and foster employee connections and career development. 

Internal talent marketplaces 

What is it? The "gig economy" relies on marketplace platforms to match customer demand to workers who are offering products, services or solutions. An internal talent marketplace uses similar principles to match internal employees and, in some cases, a pool of contingent workers, to short-term project and work opportunities without the involvement of a recruiter.

The pandemic and subsequent market shifts have made adaptability and resilience critical — and internal talent marketplaces are key to this, as well as to agile experiential learning. Where large enterprises can have trouble pivoting quickly and driving innovation due to heavy management and control structures, internal talent marketplaces have the potential to change that. They enable a better and more granular tracking of the skills, competencies, knowledge and interest of individual workers. 

Our recommendation: Invest in an internal mobility process if your organization is not yet ready for internal talent marketplaces. Use existing HCM and talent acquisition technologies to improve visibility when filling new positions with internal candidates.

Learning experience platforms (LEPs)

What is it? LEPs deliver personalized learning paths, channels and collections that enable learners to easily organize, access and share relevant resources. They also offer visibility into additional learning assets that others find valuable. 

COVID-19 has pushed organizations to provide a wider range of learning resources to all employees. As the digital workplace evolves, so does the demand for open-learning platforms that are easier to use and offer more consumer-grade personalization. 

Our recommendation: Evaluate your current LEP strengths, weaknesses and roadmap, with a focus on the various tools needed to determine fit and comparability with existing technologies. Focus on obtaining buy-in from corporate stakeholders and initiating pilot groups that can quickly see the benefits of LEPs in your teams and their own employee experience. 

Read more: What Is an HR Operating Model — and How Can You Evolve Yours?

Trend No. 3: Technology related to employee well-being and productivity 

The pandemic has driven many organizations to take a closer look at employee well-being, burnout rates and the overall employee experience. Employee productivity monitoring and voice of the employee (VoE) technologies aim to peel back the curtain on how employees are experiencing their day-to-day and where both employees and employers might need nudging. 

Employee productivity monitoring 

What is it? Employee productivity monitoring technology uses automated data collection and analytics to report on employees' activities, such as how time is spent, work locations and work patterns, to improve workforce productivity. The digitalization of work has accelerated the ability to automatically track and monitor work activities. Gartner inquiry shows employee productivity monitoring increased substantially through the pandemic. An emerging trend is to use the data to analyze work patterns to detect burnout risk, disconnection between employees and teams, and other factors contributing to worker well-being and organizational health.

Our recommendation: Make sure to ethically implement employee monitoring technology by testing it against a human-centric design approach. Mitigate potential risks by pursuing a carefully crafted and communicated strategy. If done poorly, you risk creating a toxic work culture. You must notify employees about the purpose of the data collection and how measurement is done. They need to understand how this monitoring benefits them and how it can be used to improve their well-being and overall experience. 

Voice of the employee (VoE)

What is it? VoE solutions use engagement surveys, feedback tools and other data sources to gather employee sentiment and infer preferences, opinions and well-being. VoE solutions deliver insights with actionable guidance to help improve employee engagement, experience, productivity and performance. 

The immediate, urgent and forced transition to remote work during the pandemic became an equally compelling driver of end-user demand. Organizations now want to use VoE to communicate care, listen to employee concerns, prioritize investments and quickly take action where necessary. VoE solutions can become a key element of a firm’s “sense and respond” feedback loop when connected with HCM and digital workplace technologies.

Our recommendation: Define the degree to which managers will take an active role in VoE listening and assess the readiness of your organization to tightly link VoE to other talent processes or work activities. Listen to early feedback from employees and managers. Be prepared to swap out technology components quickly, based on changing business needs and maturity of options.

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