Digital Transformation Christopher SmithOctober 26, 2021

5 of the Top HR Technology Trends to Watch in 2021

5 of the Top HR Technology Trends to Watch in 2021

A number of HR technology trends are rapidly transforming the way HR departments operate.

Understanding these trends can help you prepare for the changes that will come with tomorrow’s digital first era.

Let’s look at some of the top HR technology trends for 2021.

5 of the Top HR Technology Trends in 2021

From AI to automation, technology is rapidly affecting and changing business units across the board. HR, finance, customer service, IT, and many other business disciplines must rethink operating models, business processes, and even the way they create value.

Let’s see how some of the most stripped of technologies are impacting HR.

Here are some of the top trends that HR managers should pay attention to:

1. Automation 

Automation is one of the most influential trends that’s affecting the entire organization from top to bottom.

Automation can impact employees’ day-to-day workflows, handling tedious and mundane tasks such as data entry, and it can also be applied to higher-level decision-making. 

Robotic process automation (RPA) is a type of automation that refers to the automation of individual workflows and tasks. This type of automation can vastly improve an employee’s efficiency and reduce labor costs for the organization.

More advanced automation, such as cognitive automation, can handle intellectual tasks such as data analysis, decision-making, and more.

Then there are also trends such as hyperautomation, which refers to the automation of everything in an organization that can be automated.

When applied in HR, automation can handle a wide range of tasks, including:

  • Recruitment
  • Payroll
  • Employee support
  • Onboarding
  • Training

Digital adoption platforms are one example of a tool that can be used to automate workflows, HR processes, employee training, employee onboarding, and more.

2. Remote working

Remote working has affected the way employees work, and since the employee experience is the domain of HR, HR departments have had to adapt.

This means several things:

  • HR departments have had to redesign their HR processes for remote working
  • Cloud-friendly HR platforms have become essential to maintain business continuity
  • HR staff and managers have had to learn to manage employees remotely

Along with the other trends here, remote working has driven the adoption of many new tools. Primarily, HR has needed to adopt a cloud-based approach to both their own processes and the workplace as a whole.

3. The digital employee experience

For years, the workplace has been digitizing rapidly. More and more employees are becoming immersed in digital software to perform their daily tasks. And as mentioned above, this digital transformation accelerated in 2020 with the mass adoption of remote working.

One result of the shift is the need to focus on the digital employee experience. Since employees spend so much of their time working in software, their workplace experience is becoming predominantly digital.

As many managers know, the quality of the employee experience affects important employee metrics, including productivity, retention, as well as employer branding and the company’s reputation.

HR staff therefore have to focus on improving that experience as much as possible.

There are several ways to do this:

  • Adopting modern tools
  • Ensuring that employees have adequate training
  • Simplifying workflows
  • Proactively managing the digital employee experience

In the years ahead, we will see a number of new technologies emerge and continue to transform the workplace, such as AR and VR.

As these tools reshape the workplace even further, optimizing the digital employee experience will continue to be important.

4. Artificial intelligence

AI and analytics in HR can generate significant benefits.

For instance, data-driven tools and methods can be used to:

  • Improve recruitment efforts
  • Predict team synergy
  • Analyze and improve business processes

Although HR has not traditionally been a data-driven effort, that is changing quickly. HR transformation will be essential to staying relevant and competitive.

This means not only that HR manager should adopt AI-driven tools, it means they should rethink the way they measure and improve the employee experience, as mentioned above. With the addition of new processes and new tools, HR managers can generate a significant advantage for their business.

5. The digital skills gap

The digital skills gap is widening fast.

Technology, in other words, is outpacing the skills that employees bring to the table.

Closing that gap is important for several reasons:

  • Employees that lack skills are less productive
  • Unproductive employees inhibit innovation in the workplace
  • Employees that are not updating their skills regularly may be more resistant to technology-driven change

As mentioned above, employee training is one of the best ways to close this skill gap. Creating a culture that is open to learning and new technology is also a good approach.Another point HR manager should keep in mind is that technology will continue to evolve, so the gap will continue to widen unless they continually train employees. With a structured digital adoption program and the right digital adoption tools, HR managers can maintain employee productivity even as the workplace continues to digitize.

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