“Are you a VHS HR leader in a streaming world?” asked Ron Hanscome, VP, Analyst at Gartner, at ReimagineHR 2018 in Orlando, FL. “If you’re not constantly looking to apply HCM technologies, all you can do is incrementally refine processes” — which is why HR leaders are increasingly looking to invest in technology that can help recruit, manage, develop and optimize the human resources of their organization in today’s rapidly changing workforce conditions.
By 2020, Gartner forecasts that 30% of global midmarket and large enterprises will have invested in a cloud-deployed HCM suite for administrative HR and talent management, but organizations will still need to source 20% to 30% of their HR requirements via point solutions — or outsourced or other components.
What to do
For HR leaders considering their technology future:
- Connect investment in HR technology with business outcomes
- Collaborate with your HRIT leader(s) and explore existing HR systems and technology
- Look for opportunities for innovation. Where is the greatest potential to benefit from technology transformation? What has the greatest risk from system failure?
- Use the Gartner Hype Cycle as a reference guide for areas of technology innovation
Gartner Hype Cycle for Human Capital Management Technology, 2018 can help HR leaders prioritize investment by providing insight into the maturity of key applications and technologies.
Gartner has identified six trends in emerging HCM technologies that are either in early proof-of-concept stages or have been reported as early success stories in the media. These technologies will take between 5 and 10 years or more to reach mainstream adoption, but their impact could be transformational.
Read more: Six Emerging HR Technology Trends
Internal talent marketplace
This technology uses marketplace principles to match internal employees, alumni and contingent workers to short-term project and work opportunities without involving recruiters. The functionality includes marketing features and matching algorithms, as well as feedback tools. Internal talent marketplaces will help managers understand agile talent processes, provide alternative career development opportunities for employees and expand the talent pool to include alumni and contingent workers.
Explore self-forming teams, adaptive structures and career development through stretch project assignments. HR leaders must evaluate technology to see if it can help support and scale such initiatives, but should also expect a few functional gaps.
Virtual assistants (VAs) in HCM
VAs will be the next-generation interface for employees, managers and administrators. These may take the form of text, voice, or even an avatar, and will rely on close integration with the HCM suite/HR applications to be successful. Such intuitive and easy-to-use interaction models should improve navigation and use of all HR technology.
Take a close look at potential security and risk issues and determine which use cases are most appropriate for the business. Consider piloting VA deployment for specific user types and for a specific function and quantify results.
Worker engagement platforms (WEPs)
WEPs are designed to boost employee engagement by providing positive experiences at work — from interactions across the organization to communication and collaboration, rewards and recognition, training/learning, wellness. This technology can improve performance and reduce attrition via employee engagement. It also increases the digital contract remote workers have with the organization and coworkers.
Develop a holistic plan for worker engagement. WEPs can and do cover multiple functions, but there may also be cause to deploy more than one system.
Voice of the employee (VoE)
VoE technology collects and analyzes opinions, perceptions and feelings of employees and workers. Current technologies use surveys, feedback tools and other data sources to monitor employee sentiment and infer preferences, opinions and well-being. These technologies will improve employee engagement and retention.
One way to evaluate these technologies is to implement them on a pilot basis with support from colleagues experienced with voice of customer (VoC) initiatives. Define the role in which managers engage with the VoE initiative and assign stakeholders to respond quickly to findings. Then build a VoE strategy that includes measurement rationale, data privacy and security requirements.
Machine learning in HCM
Machine learning in HCM provides analysis and recommendations to improve processes through the identification of trends and patterns. To be successful, this technology requires access to rich data sources, including historical data. Advanced forms of this technology can also guide talent planning and investment decisions.
Invest in staff trained in advanced statistics and the use of machine learning. A decision based on bad data analysis can result in an unexpected or poor outcome. As a result, companies should not deploy machine learning as a one-off initiative and must conduct continuous improvement.
Platform as a service (PaaS) in HCM
PaaS is an application toolkit provided by HR software vendors that allows customers to extend an application beyond its delivered configuration options. The functionality includes multiple APIs, development tools and frameworks. The biggest benefit of PaaS is faster, improved integration of extended capability beyond what is provided as standard within a HCM suite and this is possible across multiple vendors.
PaaS can be used to support processes that are not possible via configuration. Even with third-party products, PaaS can provide tighter integration between applications. HR leaders should review their vendors’ product roadmaps to determine if a PaaS extension will be a short-term “workaround” or a long-term solution.