As HR professionals try to tackle their most pressing workforce challenges while driving an engaging culture, it’s important to ask what’s in store for the rest of the year and beyond. Amongst the latest HR trends, tech is at the forefront.
As technology continues to accelerate change in our everyday lives, it is also evolving the workplace. HR tech is the combination of hardware and software technology that digitizes and automates daily time-consuming tasks. Platforms that streamline processes and data collection are becoming an industry expectation, but the frontier of HR technology now looks to personalized consumer-driven design, artificial intelligence (AI) based reporting, and omni-channel digital communities for your workforce.
Below, we’ll explore how these technological advancements are driving the latest digital HR trends.
1. Increased Emphasis on Employee Experience Via HR Tech
While historically, the role of HR has sometimes gotten stuck in the mantra of “what can I do for the employees,” according to Paylocity’s experts, we can expect to see a shift toward “What do employees want to experience?”
Today’s candidates want experiences. And the role of HR is continuing to grow experience-focused strategies, including:
- HR shifting from administrator to marketer and experience curator
- Engaging new hires before their first day and ensuring they don’t feel stranded
- Offering more ways for workers to collaborate and connect with peers
- Increasing emotional investment factors
- Focusing on retention
As an HR leader, you must pay attention to the technology needed to create and deliver the employee experience today’s workers want—especially since you’re going to be highly involved in choosing and implementing these technologies.
HR now has amazing digital tools at their fingertips for everything from creating a personalized onboarding experience to providing customized learning and development opportunities driven by subject matter experts within the organization. Many are equipped with employee listening tools that can pick up on sentiment and open up communication lines for giving and receiving feedback.
These tools are now designed with the end-user, your employees, in mind, inspired by the consumer-driven experiences they have off the clock. More and more HR tech is evolving not only to satisfy HR professionals but employees as well. And when the platform is built for the employee, they’re more likely to engage with the technology and feel connected with their organization.
2. Employee Wellbeing Integrated into Digital HR Solutions
After months of stress, uncertainty, and grief, employees are looking for an organization that cares about its people. Research from the Global Wellness Institute states that the prioritization of workplace mental health will grow at nearly 10% every year for the next five years.
Additionally, people’s expectations about how much support they need—and should get—from their employers have increased over the past few years. Therefore, it’s critical to evaluate whether you’re meeting those expectations—or whether you should implement changes that help take your offerings to the next level.
We are seeing more organizations focus on:
- Rethinking the role of employee assistance programs
- Modeling good mental health practices and making time for fun
- Training managers on early warning signs of depression and burnout
- Reducing stigma and increasing access to mental health resources
- Providing holistic resources (mental health, social, financial)
Emerging HR technology is more focused on creating digital communities where employers can reinforce the wellness practices mentioned above. Such social collaboration tools, like Paylocity’s Community, provide outlets for employees to communicate about work and non-work topics. They also serve as hubs for important resources and benefits relating to mental health and often offer peer recognition functionality that gives employees a sense of belonging and can boost morale. These key features and more can improve the employee experience, especially when it comes to mental health, by offering ways to stay connected and supported.
3. Machine Learning-Based Reporting That Drives Transparency and Equity
HR tech and reporting has evolved beyond spreadsheets – the latest software now incorporates AI and machine learning to provide more robust analytics and tailored recommendations. This type of analysis is critical in advancing equity initiatives by providing employers the data needed to make improvements, and employees the transparency to be empowered in their career.
Wage Transparency & Rising Wages
With the biggest uptick in inflation in the past 40 years, many HR leaders find themselves wondering: do we have to make a short-term adjustment? Are the pay compression issues we’re currently experiencing a result of the “Great Resignation”? Or are we going to have to start rethinking comp structure for the long-term?
While we likely won’t know for a few years whether wage inflation will correct itself—or whether salaries are forever elevated—we can expect to see wages continue to rise for the immediate future and for companies to be transparent about salary ranges for open positions.
Research shows that increased pay transparency also increases employee engagement and retention by giving employees a clear growth path. HR reporting platforms with robust AI-powered analytics can make it easier to analyze and assess gaps in your comp structure.
DEIA Will Be Front and Center
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) has been a growing topic within the HR community, and numerous studies have highlighted the benefits of investing in a diverse workforce. This will continue to remain a focus for HR, both for fostering a better place work, but also retaining employees – 76% of employees and job seekers believe workforce diversity is important when evaluating job offers and organizations.
Robust people analytics, powered by machine learning, can play an important role in identifying where your company needs to improve in its DEIA efforts. HR reporting technology can help identify the breakout of your workforce by gender, demographic, race, generation, and more through a demographics dashboard. And AI data can spot trends in the data through pattern recognition, use machine learning to identify mistakes, and accelerate processes. Within recruiting, AI can offer less-biased hiring practices while improving efficiencies, through pre-assessment questions and resume scanning.
Beyond just improving diversity in your workforce, educating leaders on biases through an online learning management system (LMS) through a digital HR platform can help move your DEIA efforts forward and improve turnover.
Fostering an inclusive workplace culture allows everyone to do their best work and have the opportunity to succeed which in turn, drives the business forward.
4. Digital Community Will be at the Center of Increasingly Remote and Hybrid Workforces
Employees have a lot of employment options, and they’ve become consumers of the work experience. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, people have started to reassess what work means to them and what role they want work to play in their lives. Their motivations are shifting away from money and title towards flexibility, values alignment, and companies that prioritize their health just as much as they do.
Digital communities built in part through HR technology are key to enabling the increasing need for flexibility amongst the workforce. Here are some workplace trends we can expect to see organizations embrace to meet job seekers where they are today and the tech driving these changes.
An Ongoing Preference for Remote Work
With an overwhelming number of workers demonstrating a preference for remote work, there will continue to be an emphasis on remote and hybrid roles. We will also see a shift away from the rigid 9-to-5 schedule and towards schedule flexibility—workers can work when they want, as long as they remain productive. With employees spread all over the map, the need for robust digital HR tools becomes more important than ever to maintain connection and culture. And with this expanding toolset, it’s critical to invest in the information security, as cybercriminals adapt to the growing digital world of the remote workforce.
Training, Training, Training
In a tight labor market, we’ll also see organizations widening the aperture of focus beyond prior experience and expect more companies to start offering training to employees. According to SHRM, employers will need to shoulder more responsibility in training employees, which will be done through both hire-train-deploy models and a deeper focus on learning and development through employer-sponsored education. HR technology that offers on-demand courses available from multiple devices will be key to advancing education in the workplace and supporting employees’ need for flexibility.
Offering Flexible Work Wherever Possible
Paylocity’s experts pointed out that more and more organizations are shifting their policies to provide flexibility, like implementing remote or hybrid work options, unlimited PTO, and more. For organizations that can’t offer remote or hybrid options, we will likely see more shift swapping, flexible hours, and similar policies. HR tech that empowers employees to take charge of their schedules through easy shift change requests and communication with managers will be essential to accommodating this need for flexibility.
Reminding Employees They’re Valued More Frequently
Paylocity Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) Cheryl Johnson stressed that in a climate where workers aren’t afraid to leave, employers will need to regularly re-pitch the benefits of their organizations to their workforce—and remind their workers how appreciated they are. Digital HR communities present the perfect opportunity to reinforce these benefits and also showcase the contributions of the workforce on an individual and team level.
Staying on Top of The Latest HR Technology Trends
In a business landscape where things seem to shift every day, it pays to stay ahead of the current digital human resources trends. With insight into what employees need to engage more fully with their work, HR professionals are better prepared to champion engagement-driving strategies from the top down. We’re seeing how new advancements towards HR-powered digital communities, employee driven experiences, and advanced AI reporting are driving companies forward. HR tech can help your organization provide transparency, identify gaps and priorities, remove biases, offer flexibility, and more. Learn more by listening to our full panel discussion of CHRO trends to watch in 2022.
Don’t forget to check out Paylocity’s podcast and resource center for the latest on policy changes, new HR trends, and human capital management strategies.