Predictions: Tech Innovation Among 2016 HR Trends

By Aliah D. Wright Jan 26, 2016
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Want to get and keep employees in the new, never-ending, always-connected world of work?

Then be mindful of how people use technology in their day-to-day lives and how they’ll expect to use that technology at work.

And be innovative, inclusive and engaging—especially if you want to attract and keep what is now the biggest demographic in the workplace: Millennials.

Predictions for 2016: A Bold New World of Talent, Learning, Leadership and HR Technology Ahead, a new report from consultancy Bersin by Deloitte, encourages HR leaders to focus on daring, inventive HR strategies that can help improve the bottom line.

What was the report’s most surprising discovery?

“The impact of the generational change and diversity,” said Josh Bersin, principal of Bersin by Deloitte. In an interview with SHRM Online, Bersin said, “The people that are in the workforce now in their 20s and 30s are looking at work in a totally different way. Their values, expectations and experiences are different. They are going to be running companies” and they will expect diversity.

Bersin said HR professionals will need to be vigilant of this and be aware of being more inclusive of everyone. “It’s imperative for HR people to figure out how to frame diversity and inclusion without being political so that [those two issues] are part of their company’s culture” in order to attract and retain Millennials.

With good reason: more than one in three American workers today are Millennials (people born between 1982 and 2000), according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that in four short years—by 2020—Millennials will make up 50 percent of the global workplace.

The report also touched on ways HR professionals can improve their companies’ finances. They include “harnessing technology and transparency to improve employee engagement; leveraging analytics to attract and retain employees; developing great leaders; … [and] championing diversity and inclusion.”

10 Predictions for HR Technology in 2016

The Deloitte report forecast the following trends:

  • Digital HR. Deloitte predicts that companies will design digital apps to improve how employees are supported and served. But, Bersin said, “HR apps have to be as easy to use and as enjoyable as the apps on your mobile phone” or people simply won’t use them.
  • A stampede to replace old HR systems.
  • New talent management systems that replace antiquated applicant tracking systems (ATS) with new integrated recruitment platforms that include an ATS and smart analytics, plus smart sourcing, interview management and candidate relationship management systems.
  • Global acceleration of the replacement of old performance management systems.
  • Engagement, retention and culture will remain top priorities as new feedback technologies come to market. “This is the year where great HR leaders are going to think about building the exciting, developmental, engaging employee experience from end to end. So that means a great digital experience, which means having a great culture, having feedback, and allowing people to give feedback and recognition,” he told SHRM Online.
  • Global leadership development and career and talent mobility.
  • A revolution in corporate learning. Organizations that think about formal training, developmental assignments and projects, connections and relationships with people, and a culture that facilitates learning “will likely be ahead of the curve in learning in 2016,” the report stated.
  • Diversity and inclusion will become part of business talent management since, the report stated, companies that “align diversity and inclusion practices to business objectives are more likely to perform well on financial outcomes.”
  • Leadership. “Look for 2016 to be a year of positive changes in multiple areas of HR and for a new breed of innovative and strategic HR and leadership and development leaders to come to the forefront,” according to the report.
  • People analytics likely will evolve to become a mainstream program in the HR function.With the use of data from mobile, engagement and feedback applications and network analysis, organizations are building valuable databases about what people are doing, their history, their experiences at work and their career progress, the report stated. That data can help companies identify solutions to business challenges and drive business results.

HR will need to be more vigilant about using new technologies to analyze data, but that too is improving, Bersin said. According to the Sierra Cedar 2015–2016 HR Systems Survey published late last year, most HR professionals (an average of about 58 percent) are using analytics to look backward to analyze their previous risks with compliance, retention and benchmarking. An average of 33 percent are using analytics to look ahead to issues surrounding workforce assignments, and to identify talent, improve employee engagement and assess workforce readiness skills.

Aliah D. Wright is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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