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Navigating the Noise in the World of HR Technology

HRO Today

14th Aug 2019

No facet of the consumer or business world is immune to the opportunities presented by rapidly advancing technological evolution. However, within the talent acquisition and management sectors, the speed of digital transformation is particularly swift.

The race to innovate is accelerating at lightning speed. As this recent analysis by HRO Today reveals, in the second quarter of 2019 alone, there were 65 major announcements recorded around advancing technologies to support HR, with 72% of these coming from companies based in North America.

While all the developments identified sit firmly under the ‘HR technology’ banner, the solutions that they provide are diverse and disparate. They range from AI-enabled talent acquisition and workforce management tools to specialist platforms which harness the power of big data, machine learning and bots to build relationships, manage employee development and boost mental wellbeing.

As Pag Miles, Global Head of Partnerships at Alexander Mann Solutions points out: “While the potential associated with these innovations is no doubt exciting, the reality is that the plethora of options available across the talent ecosystem is leaving many HR decision makers feeling overwhelmed with the vast number of choices that they are now presented with”. This sentiment is highlighted throughout Deloitte’s 2019 Human Capital Trends report which found that, although 74% of HR leaders say it is important rethink their HR technology strategy through ‘exploring innovative new platforms, automation and AI-based tools to complement their core systems’, under half (41%) believe they are ready to do so.

Sorting through the noise and choosing technology partnerships carefully is crucial—but making sense of the rapidly shifting landscape can be challenging. Business leaders are bombarded with messages that they must be investing heavily in AI and robotics across their business or be left behind by their competitors.

However, taking a muddled or overzealous approach to innovation can result in creating a ‘Gordian knot’, where systems and data overlap, clash or don’t connect.
At Alexander Mann Solutions, we continuously research the market to find the latest and greatest partners globally and we’re committed to helping our clients identify the best possible technology solutions to transform how they attract, retain, and develop the top talent. We know that sourcing and engaging world-class employees requires partners that can best fit an individual company’s distinct needs, and there is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ solution.

Our clients expect—and deserve—access to the best and latest technology, content and tools. In response to this need, we have established our new global partner group: The Hive. The network enables members to not only share their future-of-work journeys, but also connect with the most disruptive platforms in HR today so that they can innovate, validate and execute effective tech-enabled people strategies.
As Pag Miles advises, in order to assess the potential of innovations, strategists must consider six factors outlined in The Hive’s uniquely formulated SPIDER framework: Speed to value—how quickly a platform can create value and agility; Productivity; Integration with existing systems; Data capture and usage; Experience and design; and Risk—that is, is it compliant with legislation across all the geographies in which it will be implemented?

As the aforementioned Deloitte study highlights, 81% of respondents predicted growth in AI, yet only 26% stated that their organizations were ‘ready’ or ‘very ready’ to address the impact of these technologies. In fact, only 6% of those surveyed said that their organizations were ‘very ready’, suggesting that businesses are now beginning to understand the scale and implications for job design, reskilling, and work re-invention involved in integrating people and automation more extensively across the workforce.

There is no doubt that HR roles are shifting dramatically due to the influx of technology, from chatbots to automated workflows. However, decisions and relationships are ultimately led by people—and we must never lose sight of the fact that the ultimate goal of new tools and techniques is to maximize the ‘human’ element of HR. By identifying the ‘real world’ results they are hoping to achieve through digital transformation, understanding the capabilities of their existing systems and joining the dots, business leaders can create clean and functional systems to boost efficiency and productivity. And while the rise of AI, cognitive technologies and robotic process automation continues to disrupt the sector, we can rely on human collaboration to navigate the noise.

This is an excerpt from the ‘Human Resources New Technology Quarterly Summary: Q2 2019.’ Click to read the full report.
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