4 things employees will expect from HR technology in 2016

When it comes to ‘what’s hot’ in HRMS terms, it’s one thing to read about what the vendors/pundits are saying and sometimes quite another to view the question from an employee point of view. But given that the tide in technology generally is becoming ever more user-centric, then maybe that’s exactly the point of view to consider when we look at HR technology in 2016. Besides if you want them to use it, you need to give them what they want.

1. The consumerization of HR

Google that phrase and you’ll find several variations on the theme of consumer technology impacting on HR, or focusing on the employee as the end-consumer of the technology. And that’s the angle that Bersin & Co take in the report, “10 Big Disruptions on the Horizon”; that HR technology was originally devised to streamline people processes for the benefit of HR administration… but now those systems are designed as tools for employees to use.

To put it more crudely, “consumerization” is about making the HRMS look like something they might want to buy. What this means is a good (consumerized) HRMS is familiar and intuitive to use, carries direct benefits to the employer and is probably gamified, i.e. fun to use.

2. Mobile and all that comes with it

People love their smartphones. Once upon a time, a computer was like any other machine at work, a tool. And nobody (or almost nobody) wanted to use work tools for fun. But now our technology is fun, and that gives employers a lever to make work more enjoyable and engaging.

So, if people love their smartphones, look for ways for them to use as part of their work, and with an HRMS, that means mobile functionality, anywhere anytime access and apps for everything. The mobile phone is no longer a second-best solution used to access the internet when we’re not at our desktop PC – the tipping point has passed and now the majority of internet users have their mobile as their primary access route. Choosing an HRMS that comes with a variety of ‘killer apps’ could be a smart selection strategy.

Recommended Reading: HRMS software Guide - Find HRMS software that meets your employee’s expectations

3. Social engagement

Again, social engagement is blurring traditional work-life boundaries as people now expect to use not only the same tools but also some of the same methods in both arenas. Crowdsourcing, collaborative problem-solving, these are just buzzwords that tell us people want to be able to talk to and interact with their colleagues without restrictive hierarchies and chains of command. Any HRMS that includes social functionality comes from a vendor with an eye on the future.

4. Technology is an inseparable part of work

Finally, the above points go further than simple communication methods and the employee having greater influence over technology requirements. The fact is, technology can no longer be taken out of the work equation… and that’s how people like it.

Think about the last concert you went to. If you stood at the back of the crowd, there’d be a sea of smartphones in front of you as people take pictures, record videos, and tweet, post and share the experience online. Compare that to a dozen years ago. Now, people are so busy filming that they’re actually experiencing the concert via the screen. This is usually cause for some Luddite to scoff at the ‘youth of today’… but what it really means is that technology is part and parcel of how we experience everyday life, and that includes work.

So what do employees expect from HR technology in 2016? They expect technology at the heart of their working lives, just as it is outside of work.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall