Where does HRMS fit into the future of HR?

The modern workplace is changing. We all know it. And if we’re trying to ignore it, there’s no end of articles and papers to rub our noses in it. Boundaries are blurring, hierarchies are reducing, responsibilities are devolving, change is a continuous (even desirable) state. But how might the future of HR impact on HR technology?

We’re seeing the changes already: mobile apps, social features, flexible communication options (not so much ‘two-way’ as ‘every-way’) and an ever-increasing collection of analysis and application of data. So what might be next?

Demographic changes

First, consider the generational influence on the future of HR. Many pundits are using the U.S. Bureau of Labor's statistics to predict that by 2020 (that’s only 4 years!) nearly 50% of the workforce will consist of Millennials (roughly speaking, people born 1980-2000). As the proportion of Millennials in the workplace increases, one of two things will happen. Either they will adopt the attitudes of the generation(s) before them, effectively ‘becoming their parents’ or – far more likely – their growing voice will continue to push the modern workforce in more flexible, boundary-less and technological directions.

Although it’s hardly complimentary, it can help to think of Millennials in general as having a short attention span. Not only do they not have jobs for life, they don’t want them. In terms of talent retention, any organization of size needs an HRMS that facilitates internal ‘job-hopping’ and the capability to move from project to project, developing new skills, new insights, maintaining interest along the way.

The alternative is the best of your workforce will ‘job-hop’ to another employer. What’s more, on the training and development front, more just-in-time options, please. Millennials don’t want to spend days (or weeks) on a programme learning everything they need for the next few years. They want to dip in this morning and get clued up on what they need this afternoon. Bite-size, self-service, useful – three considerations your HRMS learning module needs to deliver in order to keep up with the future of HR.

Recommended Reading: HRMS Vendor Guide - Find an HRMS vendor with the future of HR in mind.

Changes in learning

In fact, on the subject of ‘just in time’ training, research from Accenture suggests that in order to remain competitive, organizations need just in time skills. In other words, whatever your industry, whatever your product or service, the skills needed are constantly changing. From a technology point of view, an HRMS that simply records a person’s certifications and training attended is no longer fit for purpose. The data is incomplete and only geared towards keeping the workforce doing what they’ve done in the past.

When considering the future of HR, more elaborate record keeping will be required with a greater focus on skills development and cross-discipline working, bringing the right people together for a project or campaign regardless of their past hierarchical restrictions. To be only slightly facetious, when for some unforeseen reason you need experience of miniature hi-fidelity microphones and a basic fluency in Croatian, you want an HRMS that can spit out the right names.

Appraisal changes

Finally, the performance management culture has been shifting for years, away from the dreaded annual appraisal and toward more flexible and 360-degree options. Recent research commissioned by Ultimate Software suggests that this trend is only going to continue. Apparently, 80% of respondents felt they should be giving the boss some regular performance feedback. Does your HRMS or other software facilitate this or make it more difficult? As for receiving feedback, around 1 in 5 want it every week which is a far cry from the once a year experienced a generation ago (incidentally, the number that want that weekly commentary more than doubles when the researchers asked Millennials).

The modern workplace is indeed changing. At an unprecedented pace. So is technology. The question of whether the one is aligned to the other is what we have to answer…

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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