The “HR Department” continues to break the notions of how it operates in a workplace. Traditionally, “HR” has been a siloed unit that was antiquated, boring, and bureaucratic. They would handle tons of important paperwork about employees, and handle disputes, but any interaction with HR would often be considered negative and invaluable.That is until technology, in the form of data, seemed to take a keen interest. Data and applications centered around data have systematically changed corporate functions like Finance or Operations and recently have started to move into HR. The recent intersection between traditional HR and Big Data has been coined, “people analytics”, and it is attempting to dramatically increase sales productivity, customer satisfaction, and employee retention.
That is until technology, in the form of data, seemed to take a keen interest. Data and applications centered around data have systematically changed corporate functions like Finance or Operations and recently have started to move into HR. The recent intersection between traditional HR and Big Data has been coined, “people analytics”, and it is attempting to dramatically increase sales productivity, customer satisfaction, and employee retention.
A number of trends are fanning the fire that is people analytics — below are five that you should be paying attention to:
1. Mobile-First Solutions
On average, 40% of the online presence of an employee today is done on a mobile device rather than a traditional desktop. With the gap between desktops and mobile phones diminishing, many employees are starting to prefer to complete tasks on their mobile phones. They have become a useful tool for answering emails, messaging, and even accessing company data via applications to work on-the-go. Mobile solutions are often seen as “easier” to use compared to desktop solutions, thus increasingly popular. If you look to many new solutions in the workplace such as Expensify, Slack, Dropbox, Evernote, Asana, etc., they all have robust mobile capabilities that have advanced their use and overall popularity with employees. This is a trend that will continue to upend the traditional software model as more companies bake mobile experiences into their product from the beginning.
2. Point Solutions With Integrations Over Suites
HR tools in the past were centered around one large database (HRIS) that contained information about employees, controlled payroll information, and was the central hub of all HR-related materials. Now, as many companies are coming up on renewal cycles, there is a trend to replace the larger and clunkier suite technology with more nimble and useful point solutions. These point solutions are tethered together through integrations that allow them to have the same power of a suite while being much cheaper and much more lightweight.
3. Data Silos vs. Engagement Opportunities
HR tech used to keep data in specific silos in order to use it when necessary. Unfortunately, most of that data is basic and hard to access. With millennials growing in percentage of the workforce, it’s important to find new ways to engage them. By using the data stored in silos effectively, it could mean a massive increase in employee engagement (and thus retention). Much of the data itself that HR is tracking is changing. HRIS systems are evolving from simple demographic and payroll information to preferences, personality information, and other useful information.
With prior systems, data updating was manual and feedback cycles were completed on a regular schedule (monthly, annually, etc.). With the demand for feedback to come more readily, managers and information systems have to be much more dynamic to give real-time insights and information. Many applications are manifesting themselves with “real-time” information such as Charlie, which gives information about other meeting attendees an hour before a meeting with them. This sort of real-time interaction is the focus of how HR applications are attempting to improve relationships amongst co-workers and increase overall performance. Continuous feedback cycles are starting to replace the annual review process and is helping employees to be more successful at their jobs.
5. The Gig Economy
The Gig Economy is rapidly changing the dynamics of HR. As the tenure of individuals at companies is quickly shortening, engagement and retention is becoming a large concern for firms. Even 15-20 years ago, acquisition of talent was often prioritized over retention. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median number of years of retention is 4.6 years, while the average for workers age 25 to 34 is 3.2 years. On top of this, the number of full-time employees is lowering, while the number of contractors is growing. This trend is impacting how firms are interacting with their employees in a variety of ways from payment and taxes to engagement and feedback.