Tremors in the Workplace: the Dawn of a New HR

Human Resources technology has come a long way in the past several years. Without a lot of fanfare, it has been subject to many of the trends that are active throughout today’s enterprise IT. There is change based around use of analytics, around mobility in new roles; in social media usage, and in use of cloud solutions to democratize access and act as a centralization point for mobility.

HR activities and systems are shifting from maintaining records to active management of skills deployment and development, and enabling continuous monitoring of job performance. There are key changes afoot as we move into this new era; they include the end of rigid performance reviews; new opportunities for training, such as MOOC’s and inexpensive online courses; and, overall, much greater opportunity for employee input and engagement in innovation and performance improvement.

Traditional HR software is being challenged by startups from outside of HR. Of particular interest is the intersection with analytics. A significant area of development is in employment engagement and feedback. Here we see companies such as TINYPulse, Glint, CultureIQ, Culture Amp and others. Other vendors such as Humanyze are bringing location monitoring to this sector. Korn Ferry provides a recruitment tool that generates profiles for open executive positions based on benchmark data from people who have performed in that role. In social media, LinkedIn offers a tool providing insight into social activity of candidates to understand who they may know, and how they are interacting.

Opportunities are appearing for

  • Mining of social media to determine suitability of candidates;
  • Analysis of needed positions and job requirements gained from mining internal data;
  • Process change based on real-time monitoring of employee actions;
  • Creating a more dynamic and plastic environment in which HR technology is a component of resilience and agility
  • Permitting companies to respond swiftly and optimize outcomes across all activities.

As HR technology continues to evolve there will be a significant impact on the workplace. Within an environment of rapidly shifting skills and job descriptions, there is a need for greater engagement with employees and for more attention to the specifics of everyday roles.

There are also downsides to this technology. Employees may rebel against over-monitoring and over-direction, for example. On the whole, however, next generation employees are likely to be more comfortable with the trade-offs between privacy and opportunity. Still, there is a risk of reducing flexibility by forcing employees to think constantly about their action. Answers might come from gamification to motivate and ease control issues.

Assuming, that we have learned the lessons of early 20th century “Scientific Management,” there is great promise in these technologies creating a better integration between employees and the evolving IT and robotics environment.

As we move into an era of continuous AI and Big Data analysis, it is important to understand that behavioral expectations for employees will change. These changes will enable us to think faster, react more flexibly, and perform more comfortably within a technology environment. But the effects upon culture and thought processes are yet to be determined.


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