Life used to be simple in HR. Or, at least that’s accordingly to what I’ve learnt in school. As I was tidying out my books, and old notes, academic “HR” seemed to be this utopian concept where each function integrates and works well seamlessly with one another.
The other thing about textbook HR is the ease of record keeping. Data and analytics seemed to be effortless and straight forward. Bell curves are always perfectly shaped and scatter diagrams of employees’ salary distribution always correlate nicely.
I think we all agree that in the “Real Life”, it’s probably a little more complex.
I am not intending to discuss the evolution of HR today. What I think is interesting to talk about some of the recent technology and trends’ impact on how HR functions. This is something that I’m sure every one of us had encountered, and I think it is also important to acknowledge the way it’s changing our workflow and processes.
By now, this is not a new concept. The fact that you are reading this article on Linkedin shows that you are probably very well aware of the existence of social networking platforms and how these platforms can be used in a professional setting. This has direct impact on how we do recruitment. The availability of information on individuals listed on these platform changes the way sourcing is being done. A lot of companies had since moved the sourcing function in house hoping to save on agency uses, this had also changed the roles agencies plays in the process.
Apart from recruitment, companies are also leveraging on the social networking channels to strengthen their employment branding which in turn support the overall recruitment function.
Enterprise Social Network
Moving on, some companies recognizes that not everyone wants to be “friends” with our colleagues. The rise of software such as Yammer or Jive, supporting social networks at an enterprise level allows companies to provide a platform to interact “socially”. Content generation moved away from a top-down towards a community driven model, allowing stronger level of engagement and interaction among the employees with the subject matter experts.
This would also change the way corporate intranets are being run, where content generating and maintenance are being decentralized.
Some may argue that this is a corporate communications “toy” and has got nothing to do with HR. Am not going to indulge in that debate, but think about how much employee engagement you can drive with a robust enterprise social network!
Leaderboards, badges, and points. I’m sure many of us (at one point or another) caught the internet gaming addiction bug. Be it “Plants vs. Zombies”, “CandyCrush” or “Angry Birds”, the fundamental design incorporates a ranking system bringing in a certain social element where you see how you rank against your friends in progress and achievements.
Coupled with a gradual progression, increasing the level of difficulties designed to keep you engaged to the game as long as possible. You would notice that you would almost certainly start with an inbuilt tutorial, allowing you to learn the game easily. Another feature is the constant but not too easy “achievements” serving as a pat on the back as you go along.
Now, isn’t what all your employees want? A gradual progression throughout his/ her career, with acknowledgements for achievements and progression.
Companies are now starting to see the value in incorporating gamification concepts into their employee engagement initiatives. It could be a simple leaderboard competition, a simple competition with prizes, to a more elaborate system that allows companies to analyze the workforce productivity and engagement. The bottom line is, gamification will be something that will gain popularity in organizations.
All of us love our HR systems. There’re like the center of our universal, and the very foundation of our work evolves around our HR management systems (HRMS), our Learning Management Systems (LMS), our Performance Management System (PMS), and our Applicants Tracking System (ATS). Let’s not forget the leave administration systems, benefits administration systems and our medical claims systems.
The list goes on. Today, the term “cloud” is becoming a common term that we all got used to. Cloud based solutions allows companies to move away from having to invest a great deal of money upfront in capex spending, and go into an opex model allowing a pay as you use approach.
This is fast becoming the norm and for some of us who are still working with some of the older systems would find themselves involved in system upgrade projects. For many others, who’s build their overall HR management systems with components from different service providers may find themselves looking at systems integration in their next software upgrade.
Thus, although we may not need to be HRIS experts, but there is an increasing need for us to be aware of how the systems can help support our workflow.
Massive open online course (MOOC)
MOOC was first introduced in 2008, bringing free quality education and content to everyone. Over the years, it has seen participations from various established universities made MOOC emerged as a popular mode of learning in 2012.
With the various quality programs that are been offered for “free”. Many companies had started looking at incorporating these programs into their training plans.
I’ve talked extensively about how video is changing the HR workflows and processes in my Polycom Blog “The View from APAC”.
The availability of quality video solutions today had enabled various HR processes to evolve changing the way we engage and manage our employees. Some examples:
- Recruitment – Video interviews are fast becoming a norm. A lot of roles today require candidates to meet with a panel of interviewers and chances that part of this panel would sit in a different geographic location. Video interviews allowed much better cost and time efficiency allowing candidates to connect with these interviews from their local location and not having to make separate travel arrangements.
- Training – The availability of video opened up different ways which training content can be delivered both via a pre-recorded video, or a live video training. Benefits includes:
- Cost efficiency in training delivery allowing a larger and more geographically dispersed audience
- Consistency in quality of delivery and content,
- Real time feedback and interactivity, resulting in a higher level of engagement with participants as compared to pre-recorded videos
- Workplace and role design – In a recent post on “Video and the Future Workplace – What to Look Out For in 2015”, Geoff Thomas talked about how video is transforming workspace and organizations as we know it. Such transformation would bring about new ways of working and how employees go about performing their roles. As such, we would see role evolve to fit into this workplace of the future.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
One of the most important inventions in recent time are the mobile devices which we all got so addicted to. The pervasiveness of this mobile technology, its popularity and ease of use blurred the line between personal and workspace. It is now common to see employees are linking their work emails and calendar to their personal devices. Some would even bring their own laptop to work.
The result of all this changes the way which employees engages with their work. Increasingly, employees are working more and more out of their mobile devices. It’s not just the emails, but also the various business applications that they have to access on a day-to-day basis.
These are just some of the technology and trends that’s changing the way how we in HR engages with our organization and employees.
I’m sure you would have more to add to this list! Share your thoughts using the comment box below.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Eric Wong is Head of Talent Acquisition & Development (APAC) at Polycom, and blogs about how video collaboration can benefit the HR function on Polycom’s “The View from APAC”. Connect with him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter @ErickyWong.
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