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HR Technology Trends and Changes

Sola Osinoiki, Senior Director Global People Technology, Naspers

Sola Osinoiki, Senior Director Global People Technology, Naspers

The whole concept of people technology has become more mainstream with the advent of the Software as a Service (SaaS). The days of filing cabinets full of hard copy personnel files are behind us for most companies. Adapting to the new technology-driven reality has been slower in HR than other areas, but the global Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the drive for digital transformation in HR. The existence of an HR Technology department has become mainstream, as the needs have grown from a general IT field to a specialized function.

The rapid development of this specialized HR Technology function has enabled the usage of the ever-increasing flood of available data and sources, giving life to areas such as People Analytics. In fact, the reality is that the HR lifecycle has been evolving with the advent of technology. Now, we have the concept of employee engagement, which became one of the first real data-driven elements in the HR lifecycle. In some cases, we are seeing that once viewed as simple processes like Recruitment are being divided into smaller more specialized parts. Let’s break it down; creating vacancies, internal versus external posting, writing job descriptions, sourcing candidates, interviewing, and evaluating candidates, online offers, to background checks and then finally onboarding. With the right (usage of the) systems, you can collect a large pool of data for every specific step in the process, which can be used to give vital insights to the business and improve our ways of working. Think of Diversity & Inclusion metrics, such as analyzing the amount of female candidates that go through a recruitment pipeline; relating the source of candidates to their tenure in the company to find the best sources; or measuring the time to fill a position to determine your recruiter’s efficiency. 

The rise of specialist HR Technology solution providers has also grown. Where there were once a few big players such as Oracle, SAP, Workday, ADP and the like, the reality is that now everyone wants a piece of the action from LinkedIn, Microsoft, ServiceNow to even IBM with the introduction of IBM Watson. The HR Technology landscape is one of the fastest growing in the market. The field is still green, evolving rapidly and reinventing itself continuously as the world is changing and the people in it are creating a new narrative.

In the advent of technology, HR too is becoming a more data-driven function. The need to provide deeper insights and analysis to the C-suite is an increasing demand. The C-suite wants to know and understand their workforce on a macro level, (i.e. engagement data and wellbeing data) and is looking for clues and ideas in the data to create a high-performance workforce. There are many relevant data sources within HR and the wider organization that can be leveraged for useful insights. And so it is the critical role of People Technology that continues to grow; ensuring the right data is gathered, compiled, secured, connected together and better data quality is ensured, which will lead to the creation of lasting insights and tools to enable better business results, impacting the whole business.

This concept of data-driven HR has been an evolution that we at Prosus have been on. Our specific challenge in this journey is connected to our amazing identity, and one we must face head on. Our identity is linked to our ability to empower our entrepreneurs and give them full autonomy but being truly and effectively data-driven starts with standardization and alignment on tools and processes. My team’s goal is to maintain the right balance of independence while driving the right foundations for a truly digital enabled data driven workforce. Our vision for automation and digitalization is not just for our customer facing businesses but is also true for all our Back-Office functions. Ahead of us though is yet another wave of disruption in the HR domain, on the back of a solid people technology platform/ platforms and truly powerful data insights that leads to actionable business impact. The new disruption is triggered by the fact that our customers and employees live in an ever-evolving technology landscape outside the workplace.

Organisations around the world are already embracing these technology changes, VR is being used more and more in the learning spaces with outstanding results. Gamification is being embedded into Onboarding processes and learning; AI is finding its way into numerous new HR Technology platforms. With the current digital transformation and introduction of things like 5G using hologram will soon become a common feature starting in the interviewing and induction space. Augmented reality Covid has turned the digital landscape on its head and now we need more human in the middle of an almost truly tech world.

My final thoughts

There is so much data being generated today. The volume of data is so much that we truly have to remember to “Spot the People in the Data” HR is always about People First. HR is always about the wellbeing of people. Even in the event of Technology developments like AI and Robotics, the role of HR is still to care for people and to prepare the workforce for change

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