With the advancements of technology and the passing of time, HR trends have significantly developed and evolved. HR now looks nothing like what it used to be when it was first established as a profession at the beginning of the 1900s. It has come a long way since its initial development. One of the most significant changes represented by the automation of HR tasks through the technological developments of software. However, other contextual changes have occurred with the passing of time. These include generational shifts and new ways of working. These have also greatly impacted the changing nature of HR.
This article will analyze some of the key transformations of HR software . As well as detailing upcoming 2021 trends that are profoundly impacting the profession.
- Technological Trends
- Software Development
- Generational Shifts
- New Way To Work
The development of technology within the HR sector is of significant importance. It has automated otherwise tedious HR functions through automatic interactions and by facilitating access to information and company data. Enabling managers to dedicate more time to their employees. This has principally occurred through technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a hot topic in the world of HR and will play an important role in HR processes going into 2021. AI can significantly improve the time and manpower involved in carrying out HR tasks. A study conducted revealed that professionals working in talent acquisition spend almost ⅓ of their working week (13 hours) finding candidates for one single role. With ⅓ spending more than 20 hours. Due to this, AI is an essential tool utilized in HR to facilitate the recruitment process, and has been incorporated by many big companies such as L’Oreal and Hilton Hotels. It is especially effective as it is not influenced by conscious or unconscious bias, therefore making the recruitment process fairer. AI tools can also help with performance management and rewards, such as working out employee bonuses’ and appraisals.
When the concept of AI was first introduced, it was greeted with hostility as people were worried about the knock-on effect it would have on people’s jobs, as concerns spread that it would replace the need for human work. However, with time these concerns have proven been unnecessary as AI in fact improves human work, producing more informed and strategic results. According to a survey conducted by Entelo, 70% of people believe that automated sourcing would improve their productivity levels. Furthermore, Oracle and Future Workplace conducted a research project that revealed that 50% of workers already utilize some form of AI at work, which is a huge increase from the 2018 figure at 32%.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
HR departments are incorporating technological advancements such as virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) more and more. The incorporation of VR in recruiting has been heralded a great success. An example of this includes the British armies utilization of VR in its recruitment process, which led to a 65% increase in applications. VR has also been incorporated for digital meeting rooms, with Volkswagen being a prime example of this. This was accomplished by releasing a VR app which is used as a meeting and training room. VR has also been utilized for training sessions. This has a high-cost efficiency and ensures better safety for industries that would normally be high risk to train in, such as construction. This is a cost-efficient and effective way to meet and train virtually. Which has also proven crucial during these times of remote working.
Robotic Process Automation
Another trend which is emerging is Robotic Process Automation (RPA). This encompasses robotic services such as chatbots, machine learning, natural language processing (NPL) as well as AI. RPA facilitates communications and improves productivity through its quick efficient provision of data. Chatbots especially are becoming more popular, as by 2021 it is predicted that 25% of workers will incorporate a virtual employee assistant (VEA) on a daily basis. By comparison, in 2019 figures ranked at less than 2%.
HR software has become more and more popular, as companies have started realizing the positive ROI they generate. HR software can help with recruitment, onboarding, applicant tracking, payroll, among many other things. Additionally, one of the main perks of HR software is that it enables managers to dedicate more time to their employees and to employee productivity. As they don’t have to waste time on manual tasks; HR software automates everything.
It is predicted that by 2023, the market for HR software will grow by $10.9 billion, as the value HR software provides for companies’ HR departments is consequential. Additionally, the Information Services Group (ISG) 2019 report detailed that companies that started incorporating cloud-based HR software have seen cost savings ranging from 10-30%. With more than 60% of companies stating the significant savings they induced in areas such as IT/ technology and HR processes.
It is not just technological changes that are occurring within the sphere of HR. Other contextual changes have been significantly shaping the HR profession and the structures within which it operates.
With the passing of time, baby boomers are beginning to retire and their jobs are being taken over by millennials and Gen Zs. Companies need to learn how to adapt to this new workforce generation that have different skillsets and values to baby boomers. An example of this is employees contrasting views on leadership. Older generations tend to respect hierarchy more. Whereas younger workers prefer operating in flat organizational structures, where there is no middle management involved. Understanding and adapting to this new paradigm is crucial to successfully adapting to the changing worker landscape.
A potential issue with the changing generational workforce is the loss of wisdom and information as employees begin retiring. Therefore, companies must have a system in place to retain this knowledge. HR systems can help with this through strategies such as talent development. Furthermore, to best utilize younger generations to a company’s advantage, businesses will have to incorporate HR systems that highlight the positive traits a candidate has and utilize those skills to their full potential.
New Way to Work
A shift has occurred away from the traditional way of working to a much more flexible model which is much more worker-centered. This new way of working can be broken down into 2 principal trends- the gig economy and flexible working.
Flexible working has become a very popular new trend. This involves employers giving employees the opportunity to choose their working hours. As long as the employees work the necessary 8 hours in that day, it doesn’t matter what time they start or finish. Many companies offer the option to work flexibly as a benefit for working for the company, as it is so popular among employees. Flexible working enables a better work-life balance and facilitates employees to work around any other duties they may have such as looking after young children or a dependent.
Remote working is another trend that has shot up; notably because of the influence of the covid pandemic forcing everyone to start working from home. However, even before the pandemic, remote work was becoming more and more popular. It too comes with many associated perks. These include higher productivity levels and an increase in employee satisfaction rates. Remote working is also much less stressful and enables a better pace of life for employees.
HR is quickly evolving. With the passing of time, HR trends are becoming more and more technological. 2021 trends will include the expansion of AI within HR industries. Along with the wider implementation of HR software, due to the array of benefits that come with utilizing it. Big shifts are also occurring in the way the profession is carried out, through generational workforce changes and the changes in working schedules. Therefore, it is important to understand the new HR trends that are occurring and adapt to them accordingly.
The Gig Economy
The Gig Economy is a term used for this new emerging workforce which consists of employees having many different types of jobs and no longer abiding by the fixed 9-5 work schedule. Some have side jobs, whilst others work for themselves as freelancers or consultants. According to a study conducted by Deloitte, Millennials and Gen Zs are well adapted and open to working in a gig economy. This is due to 3 main reasons: the opportunity to earn more money, have more control over working hours and have a better work/life balance.
The development of the gig economy comes with many benefits. The utilization of freelancers can prove very beneficial for businesses, as they are often experts in their fields. Meaning companies can utilize their talents and skills without any geographical constraints and without needing to spend time recruiting and onboarding a new employee. Additionally, another trend occurring in HR involves the freelancing of HR professionals. Many HR professionals have begun freelancing through HR consulting, a trend made more possible by the new gig economy.