A silent revolution has gone through the HR function over the past years. The function in general has become much more data driven, basing their strategies on hard facts and insights. The key enabler for this being the digitization of workforce and HR systems.

HR going digital comes at a considerable cost. First of all due to setup costs and transitioning to systems. Secondly in building the capability with HR and leaders to make best use of the amount of analytics and insights that are suddenly available.

Over the past 18 months our world has faced an unprecedented state of volatility due to the pandemic. Many businesses have had to relook at their effective use of manpower to save costs in the short run, or to plan for an expected upcoming recession in the best way possible. A logical question in today’s boardrooms, is if—in line with other functions in the business—HR can start offloading its large-scale strategic investments, such as in creating a digital workforce and return to a low-cost personnel management department. Devesting in people technology now forms a real threat though to the long-term success of most midsize to large scale companies.

As conventional business rules have become less reliable, organizations must focus on their most vital asset to ride through the impact of the pandemic and the digital wave of disruption: their number one priority – their people

In order to thrive as a company there needs to be a sound talent strategy, which is aligned to the long-termdirection of its business, takes in account external shifts and one that is able to inspire all of its employees to be their best self and form an effective partnership with the organization.

To equip the workforce with the skills to excel in the future, we must understand what skills will make the company successful tomorrow, but also the skills that are needed and available in the company today, so we can create a successful roadmap for the future.

There are several ways how HR technology is shaping winning companies of the future through their people. Through systems we are rapidly evolving our approach to traditional talent management and development by using digital tools and technologies. Top digital trends transforming talent management to consider under current times are:

  • Strategic Workforce Planning tools - bringing the company’s strategic objectives together with a clear multiyear talent strategy. Through intuitive data analytics systems, it is nowadays within reach of most businesses to start integrating data point around work performance, demographics, talent moves, labor costs, resulting in real modelling about where and how to spend money as business to drive equity and drive performance. Forecast modelling through HR technology can precisely predict ROI and help us with models that can be easily adjusted to volatile external circumstances. This help HR to accurately model what talent to hire–where, when and at what cost.

As conventional business rules have become less reliable, organizations must focus on their most vital asset to ride through the impact of the pandemic and the digital wave of disruption: their number one priority – their people. 

  • Talent acquisition and onboarding technology enables to deliver the right fit and a reduced bias. Many companies have moved away from traditional hiring channels to a multi-channel strategy that includes online job portals, internal referrals, and extensive collaboration with universities. In many cases, large parts of the recruitment and onboarding process have been automated to remove bias, improve efficiency, increase factual insights in candidate’s quality and effectiveness and improve access to company information. A common shift, as part of raising the Employee Experience and Retention, is to automate, centralize and simplify the onboarding processes by making it standardized, accessible, intuitive, and user-friendly. There is a clear focus on designing a smooth employee experience using technology, ensuring that new employees experience an immersive culture even during times of a pandemic, when most people can’twork in a physical office space.
  • Technologies drive an enhanced Employee Experience upon joining, resulting in enhanced engagement and retention. In the digital era, it is critical for organizations to demonstrate that they value their employees and help them succeed in their personal purpose and career goals. New HR products not only aim to improve HR operations and services but also create a compelling employee experience, around areas of personal rewards, flexible benefits, and health &wellbeing. Analyzing employee data has helped organizations better understand their workforce and its priorities, identify high-potential employees, decode the inner workings of a team, measure engagement, and even proactively predict and prevent turnover. The expansion of data analytics from just numbers and metrics to include behavioral insights has strengthened retention and helped HR leaders design relevant people policies.
  • Organizations can address skill gaps through effective learning and development (L&D) programs and leverage learning technologies for scale, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI, AR/VR and Blockchain). Technology can enable the development function to be agile. It can help integrating learning delivery processes and standardizing systems' processes, whilst creating a personalized and continuous learning environment.This enables learning quickly, efficiently and in a cost-effective manner, based on real insights of the workforce.  With an increasing millennial, digital savvy workforce, Mobile Digital learning offers a low-cost solution and provides easy access anytime-anywhere, and just-in-time. As an added benefit, this form of learning offers off the shelve LMS’s to individualize the learning experience by creating personal learning experiences in an automated way.

Through technology, we can make learning into an exciting social and interactive virtual experience, even if teams – due to a pandemic – only can virtually meet. For instance, through gamification, where learning of relevant skills is being presented in the form of small, multiplayer games complete with leaderboards. Another way this can be leveraged is through social learning, where individuals or teams are encouraged to interact through forums to work collaboratively to solve business problems. Making these discussions virtual and accessible through technology to the broader organization, can result in the creation of small learning circles with experts throughout the company who can be used to solve problems in areas beyond their day-to-day jobs.

Times of volatility and change require rapid adaptation and growth of workforces in order to deliver successfully in the ‘new normal’.  So, whilst today’s challenges are putting pressure across organizations to weigh all their investments to ensure survival in the current, long-term thriving can only be created by the right investments now in people technology. This will allow a business to strategically understand, engage and inspire the talent they need and want to have, to be successful - now and in the future.