(HR) Technology is evolving more rapidly than ever before. As organizations are implementing the latest and greatest employee engagement platforms, the next generation of HR technology is blossoming and technology providers are busy developing tools to ride the wave of the upcoming demand for HR Analytics. It’s clear that demand is building, and over the next decade Analytics will be a key driver of purchasing decisions.
Shift towards self-service HR
The burden placed on HR to enter data is quickly diminishing due to a shift towards self-service. Now employees and managers own their information in the application, which increases the capacity for the amount of data being collected. With all this data, the role of HR is changing from data entry to data analysis, and organizations will be looking for platforms that can support this new reality.
Some technology providers have made a noble first attempt to deliver the analytics to forecast trends, but it is still early in the game. HR Technology providers will be working diligently to provide the functionality, while at the same time the HR industry is flushing-out the key data points needed to deliver relevant analytics. Right now, an organization’s best bet at a long term technology investment is to find a platform that invests heavily in an analytics engine – one that is agile and can adapt to their evolving needs. Theories need to be tested and fine-tuned until the analytics have sound forecasting models that can be delivered out-of-the-box.
The question is: what will the HR departments do once the technology accurately delivers the forecasts they are now responsible for? The Nth Generation of HCM will need to support HR’s new priority. The Nth generation will be HCM AI. To look at how they will use this new intelligence, let’s take a look at the origins of HR Tech.
The origins of HR Technology
HR technology started out as a substitute for paper storage to increase the efficiency of reporting. It was no more than a data warehouse. After systems started pushing out reports in a matter of minutes versus days, organizations’ appetite and capacity for information grew.
But HR could only collect and manage so much information on their own and soon the incoming pipeline of information needed to be widened – this was accomplished through self service. Now employees could log in to add and update more information.
As the volume of information grew and the general workforce became more comfortable with technology, HR Technology has morphed into not only a tool to collect and store information, but a vehicle to deliver feedback to the users to enhance the employee/employer relationship. Talent Management is currently front and center, engaging employees like never before. Along with all the benefits this provides to employee relations, it also translates into a higher level of system adoption. Since an employee is interacting more with the HCM – it’s only natural that they will review the rest of their file more frequently, resulting in more current and accurate information for the company to report on.
Big data in HR
We have now reached a point of “Big Data,” where the volume of information has surpassed a person’s capacity to effectively understand and action it. This is where analytics comes in. Information currently in the system will be mined for trends, and presented in a relevant format. Like other generations of (HR) technology, analytics will go through a natural growth cycle. We are currently experiencing analytics in its infancy with models and algorithms that are being developed and tested, but constantly changing until they finally mature and can stand the test of time.
Once the forecasting technology has become dependable, we will go through the cycle of modeling the actions and decisions companies take that are based on these forecasts. The ability for a system to decide then act based on predictive trends derived from data is the very definition of artificial intelligence. Much like we are currently developing the models needed to form the basis for statistically stable analytics that can be delivered out of the box, we will in the future be building and fine-tuning the decision/action models that will form the basis for HCM AI.
HR’s next role within the organization
During this evolution of HCM, artificial intelligence will undoubtedly be more generally prevalent, and HCM AI will be developed in a climate of rapid growth across all business applications. So what does this mean for HR’s next role in the organization? It’s not set in stone, but I’d like to think that it will make the employee/employer relationship itself more human. The information that HR teams need will be packaged in a way that will help the department really connect with employees. We can return to engaging with employees, one-on-one and in person.