Your Guide to Software Selection

Future of Human Resource Management: HR Trends Predictions for 2019

When we think of science fiction, images of flying cars, robot butlers and hover boots oftentimes come to mind. It’s easy to forget that there’s science fiction for the business world, too. And just like our favorite movies, some fantastical ideas end up making it into everyday routines.

They might not be as flashy as a time-traveling DeLorean, however, for tech-savvy companies, they represent a chance to evolve their employee engagement in ways that were barely imaginable ten or twenty years ago. This is particularly true in the area of human resources management, which has been transformed by the advent of social media and virtual sharing.

In 2019 and the near future, HR software is moving beyond its base functionality of benefits management, recruitment, time and attendance, professional development, and other standard features. These features are still integral to the technology, but more advanced tools are emerging. Automation is an overarching theme for HR innovation, with many functions becoming completely digitized, eliminating the need for human involvement.

We’ve consulted industry leaders and experts to learn the top future HR software trends for 2019.

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1. Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning

A major trend in the software industry as a whole is the move towards artificial intelligence (AI) — and the future of HR software is no exception. As Dom Nicastro reports via CMS Wire, “According to IBM’s 2017 survey of 6,000 executives, ‘Extending expertise: How cognitive computing is transforming HR and the employee experience,’ 66 percent of CEOs believe cognitive computing can drive significant value in HR. Half of HR executives back that up, saying they recognize that cognitive computing has the power to transform key dimensions of HR. And 54 percent of HR executives believe that cognitive computing will affect key roles in the HR organization.”

Machine learning has grown into more of a need for software buyers as systems become increasingly automated. This functionality will streamline the reading of applicant materials. Instead of relying on an HR professional to pour over hundreds of resumes and cover letters, businesses can rely on an AI system to complete the task quickly.

An added benefit in the realm of HR software is the analytical evaluation of candidates, free of human bias or error. Ideally, this will result in stricter qualification-based employee selection. With the assistance of AI, HR departments have a tool for the accurate analysis of employees from application submission to continuing performance reviews.

IBM cognitive computing graph

Source: IBM

2. Robotics and Autonomous Agents

Chatbots are another major HR trend that falls into the realm of artificial intelligence. Many vendors are already incorporating chatbots into their HR systems to provide answers to employee inquiries. Via Forbes, Dr. Jeremy Nunn cites “questions related to payment, holiday leaves, social benefits and their general rights” as common asks. With a chatbot answering questions, HR departments can avoid these questions which “can be both repetitive and time-consuming.” Nunn continues, “These bots can act as self-service platforms that allow the HR personnel to focus on responding to more complex and urgent questions that warrant their attention.”

Every year, robotics continues to evolve in terms of both task diversity and capacity. While the most talked about example is the self-driving car, it’s possible that, in the future, robots will become keepers and sharers of internal information. They’ll speed up communications and increase productivity by providing instant access to the right data, at the right times.

While this is unlikely to happen over the next twelve months, it’ll be interesting to see how smart systems (like Siri and Alexa) start to play a role in talent management. It’s not difficult to imagine AIs employed as recruitment assistants, for example, with the job of finding and presenting candidate data on request.

Other potential uses for chatbots in the HR sphere include assistance with learning initiatives.

“Voice search and AI assistants like Alexa or Google [are] starting to be a core functionality within HCM,” says Matt Charney of Recruiting Daily. These voice-activated features will, like chatbots, answer employee questions and reduce the need for HR departments to respond to repetitive inquiries.

3. Virtual and Augmented Reality

The term “virtual reality” is very familiar these days, and the biggest headlines tend to be associated with gaming. While it’s easy to assume that human resources and gaming are worlds apart, augmented reality, in any capacity, is concerned with building new worlds. When it comes to HR tech trends, this can be extended to training scenarios.

It would be much more cost efficient (and, in some cases, safer) if corporate training could be provided inside virtual environments. In fact, the implications for on-the-job learning are significant, as the expectation is that real-world tasks will be combined with virtual instruction. This would allow employees to view learning prompts as they engage in hands-on activities.

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4. Performance Management and Real-Time Feedback

A digital HR management platform allows businesses to abandon the traditional performance review cycle. There is no longer a need to schedule time-consuming meetings and limit performance evaluation to a monthly or yearly basis. With HRM software, employees can receive consistent feedback in real time. Beyond the logistical benefits, real-time feedback “provides ample opportunity for managers to have meaningful and forward-looking conversations about professional and personal development with the employee, resulting in better engagement and improved productivity,” explains Sushman Biswas for HR Technologist. To put it simply, “it’s more constructive to engage in an open dialogue on employee contributions throughout the year.”

Feedback will also evolve to see “the increased use of VR for performance management, assessments and prescreening,” says Charney.

5. Biometric Time Tracking and Security

Biometric time clocks use biological markers to identify employees, minimizing attendance fraud risk. Popular methods of biometric time tracking include fingerprint scanning and facial or iris recognition. With a biometric time and attendance system, the identification of these unique physical characteristics ensures hours are accurately attributed to the correct employee.

“Among the many timekeeping advantages that biometric technology can provide is halting the abuse known as ‘buddy punching,’ where one employee clocks in for another.” Chuck Leddy of ADP explains, “An additional advantage offered by biometric tech is the ability to automatically cut off employee access to computer systems once the employee has clocked out, thus protecting the organization against potentially costly wage-and-hour class actions from employees claiming to have worked off the clock.”

By minimizing time theft, the increased accuracy as a result of biometric time tracking saves company funds. An extra layer of security provided by the implementation of biometric technology can also offer the benefit of tracking business property.

TSheets buddy punching

Source: TSheets.com

6. Wearable Tech

The expectation is that wearable devices are going to be used, increasingly, to monitor workplace health. For high-pressure environments, this could have a big impact.

A recent study by Dr. Candice Lanius of The University of Alabama in Huntsville researched public speaking anxiety with the help of wearable biometric technology. Dr. Lanius recorded over 140 student speeches while simultaneously measuring their heart rate variability. Based on the heart rate data in conjunction with the recordings, Dr. Lanius observed student stress levels in relation to their speeches. With this information, she worked to adjust curriculums to better prepare students to combat public speaking anxiety.

A similar approach can be implemented in workplaces. Wearable systems that track heart rate, body temperature, pupil dilation and other factors can provide insight into employee stressors or pain points, and management can change processes accordingly. For instance, the ideal workplace wearable would be one that could identify the optimum time to send a notification. It would study the behavior and routines of the user, in order to learn the difference between a good moment (setting up or preparing a task) and a bad moment (operating a machine).

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7. Middleware

Although perhaps not as exciting as some of these other futuristic features, middleware may be the most essential. Middleware is defined as “software that acts as a bridge between an operating system or database and applications, especially on a network.” Simply put, middleware enables integration.

“The average HR function uses 11 different systems just for recruiting, which means there’s no ability to do data warehousing, federated search or any meaningful analytics, as these don’t talk to each other,” explains Charney. “With most major HCM providers already offering some sort of marketplace for vendors using custom APIs, we’re seeing an industry that’s tried to own all parts of the process finally start to collaborate with other technologies.”

As human resource management becomes increasingly automated, integration becomes an even more essential function. Your HR software should be able to easily connect with any helpful third-party systems. This includes other tools within the HR sphere, such as payroll software, as well as outside platforms like a business intelligence solution.

8. The Importance of High-Quality Software

At the heart of all these trends in HR management lies software. High-quality, scalable programs are the secret to success. The reality is that you don’t have to be making plans for robot assistants or virtual training sessions to want and deserve the best. You just need a commitment and a passion for workplace productivity.

While tech and software advancements are an essential part of any business process, human resources is an area that benefits quickly and consistently. There’s a huge amount of data involved in talent management and recruitment. Half the job is sifting through resumes, KPIs, payslips, training schedules, employee statements and more.

So, the power to hand over responsibility for finding, processing and presenting this information is a valuable asset. Whether it happens via robotics, wearable tech, or knowledge-hungry machines, the point is that it saves time and resources. However, it must be grounded in robust, reliable software solutions.

If you haven’t reviewed your existing HRM software for some time, now is a good opportunity to make sure that it’s still doing enough for your business. Just because a product was perfect five years ago, doesn’t mean it’s still a good fit. As companies grow in size and start to take on more employees, their needs become more sophisticated, and their software should reflect this.

Conclusion

When considering trends in human resources management, increased efficiency, ease of use and automation are the future. All of these features share a common end goal of making the system as user-friendly as possible. Although robotics, virtual reality and biometric monitoring seem like a futuristic dream, an accessible, solid platform will always be in style.

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Our HR Software Trends & Predictions From Years Past

When we think of science fiction, images of flying cars, robot butlers and hover boots oftentimes come to mind. It’s easy to forget that there’s science fiction for the business world, too. And just like our favorite movies, some fantastical ideas end up making it into everyday manufacturing and distribution routines.

They might not be as flashy as a time-traveling DeLorean, however, for tech-savvy companies, they represent a chance to evolve their employee engagement in ways that were barely imaginable ten or twenty years ago. This is particularly true in the area of human resources, which has been transformed by the advent of social media and virtual sharing.

Every year, HR tech trends get bigger, bolder and more brilliant. At the moment, virtual reality is the star of the show, but advancements are being made in robotics and wearable tech as well. For the next year, experts are predicting a lot of activity around things like wireless power, augmented environments and machine learning.

Today, we’re going to explore some of these trends, and build up a picture of how HR practices will change in the coming year:

Virtual and Augmented Reality

The term “virtual reality” is very familiar these days, and the biggest headlines tend to be associated with gaming. While it’s easy to assume that human resources and gaming are worlds apart, augmented reality, in any capacity, is concerned with building new worlds. When it comes to HR tech trends, this can be extended to training scenarios.

It would be much more cost efficient (and, in some cases, safer) if corporate training could be provided inside virtual environments. In fact, the implications for on-the-job learning are significant, as the expectation is that real-world tasks will be combined with virtual instruction. This would allow employees to view learning prompts as they engage in hands-on activities.

Compare Top HR Software Leaders

Advanced Machine Learning

Machine learning is a complex subject, and many businesses are a little intimidated by it. The technology uses algorithms to create analytical models without the need for human intervention. Machine learning programs iteratively learn from large quantities of data by identifying patterns and trends.

In the simplest of terms, these programs are capable of looking for answers in huge volumes of information. Although, it should be noted that the technology does this by identifying, combining, and eliciting insights from these patterns, rather than being specifically programmed to search for answers. As a result, it learns in a progressive, iterative manner.

Machine learning has been slow to take off, but it’s in use among some HR professionals. For instance, talent relationship platform PhenomPeople analyzes marketing personalization practices, and applies them to the recruitment process. It’s also rumored that KPMG is developing an enterprise engagement tool that’s heavily based on “smart” algorithms.

Robotics and Autonomous Agents

Every year, robotics continues to evolve in terms of both task diversity and capacity. While the most talked about example is the self-driving car, it’s possible that, in the future, robots will become keepers and sharers of internal information. They’ll speed up communications and increase productivity by providing instant access to the right data, at the right times.    

While this is unlikely to happen over the next twelve months, it’ll be interesting to see how smart systems (like Siri and Alexa) start to play a role in talent management. It’s not difficult to imagine AIs being employed as recruitment assistants, for example, with the job of finding and presenting candidate data on request.

The Internet of Things

In the next year, the rise of cloud computing will continue, with more businesses making the transition. As far as HR tech trends go, this one is moving pretty fast. Cloud solutions are a big priority for human resources, and businesses are already making substantial investments. Increased use of this technology is likely to push HR expertise into middle management ranks.  

This will unburden HR departments by repositioning middle-tier training and hierarchies. It may be that some tasks traditionally assigned to these teams get handed over to line managers. The focus of HR will move towards business performance management and execution. With the power of automation, businesses will free themselves from tedious, time-consuming obligations.   

Wearable Tech

The enterprise wearables market is predicted to be worth $18 billion by the end of the year. According to tech experts, a growing proportion of this will be related to human resources. The expectation is that wearable devices are going to be used, increasingly, to monitor workplace health. For high-pressure environments, this could have a big impact.   

There’s been an emphasis on “intelligent” devices in recent years. For instance, the ideal workplace wearable would be one that could identify the optimum time to send a notification. It would study the behavior and routines of the user, in order to learn the difference between a good moment (setting up or preparing a task) and a bad moment (operating a machine).

The Importance of High-Quality Software

At the heart of all these HR tech trends lies software. High-quality, scalable programs are the secret to success. The reality is that you don’t have to be making plans for robot assistants or virtual training sessions to want and deserve the best. You just need a commitment and a passion for workplace productivity.

While tech and software advancements are an essential part of any business process, human resources is an area that benefits quickly and consistently. There’s a huge amount of data involved in talent management and recruitment. Half the job is sifting through resumes, KPIs, payslips, training schedules, employee statements, and more.

Compare Top HR Software Leaders

So, the power to hand over responsibility for finding, processing, and presenting this information is a valuable asset. Whether it happens via robotics, wearable tech, or knowledge-hungry machines, the point is that it saves time and resources. However, it must be grounded in robust, reliable software solutions.

If you haven’t reviewed your existing HRM software for some time, now is a good opportunity to make sure that it’s still doing enough for your business. Just because a product was perfect five years ago, doesn’t mean it’s still a good fit. As companies grow in size and start to take on more employees, their needs become more sophisticated, and their software should reflect this.

Alainia ConradFuture of Human Resource Management: HR Trends Predictions for 2019

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