Where Will HR Tech Be in 5 Years?
From the Palm Pilot to the iPhone, technology has made the world less patient. People want answers to questions quicker than they can ask them, and for human resources, that means better communication with employees and management teams.
If you look back to the days when HR teams lived on desktop computers, landlines, and fax machines, employee engagement was limited to cubicle hours and the absence an HR team member might bring work to a grinding halt.
The emails of, “Where is my pay stub?” and “When is the next open enrollment?” would quickly accumulate from employees. The questions of “What are our greatest talent needs?” and “Which teams are we vulnerable to lose human capital,” would build up from management. Combined they would create a devastating backlog of questions.
Self-service websites and automation have begun to make on-demand information more readily available, but many of these problems still linger when comes to direct communication between employees and HR teams. So how will HR technology evolve in the next five years to provide better, faster answers to employees and management?
Conversations Are No Longer a Waste of Time
Mobile apps and mobile-optimized HR website have already made benefits, training and hiring information available on-demand, 24/7, without the need for one-off email replies to every employee at the company. But HR conversations and their ability to deliver faster, more accurate answers are making a comeback when it comes to reaching employees largely due to the emergence of chatbots.
Automated communication in chat means that instead of spending their days trying to locate health insurance policy data in your HR portal, employees can just type out a quick message to the bot asking: “What is my insurance premium for a regular doctor’s visit?” These conversations can help prevent your HR team from getting overloaded with emails from employees, while still allowing HR team members to deliver personalized answers to questions.
Get Your Message Across
Text messaging became mainstream for businesses for some time ago and is finally establishing itself as an essential HR communications because it has been averaging 99% open rates and 40% response rates when used to contact job candidates. Compare that to the 4% response rates of recruiter emails and the choice should be even easier for HR. On top of that, HR teams can now integrate their HRMS and track individual opens and responses in text messaging. So the next time an employee says they didn’t get any notification about the current open enrollment period, your HR team can verify whether that is truly the case.
More Work Is Being Done From Home
Whether you like it or not, the traditional division between work and personal time is disappearing with more employees opting to work from home and even fewer keeping to the classic 9-to-5 schedule. HR technology is likely to conform to this trend over the next five years with more HR teams using the communication platforms that employees want, regardless of whether they were built specifically for businesses. Text messaging, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and other dominant communication platforms will be used for all HR-to-employee. The popular messaging service you share photos and experiences with friends and family will soon be leveraged by co-workers and managers to share ideas and make business decisions.
Artificial Intelligence Empowers People
HR teams should be especially excited about the way A.I. is evolving and can make their role more strategic. While the first steps might be saving HR teams from a barrage of frequently asked questions, A.I. offers much more in the form of eliminating bias from decisions, organizational design and hiring talent, which all tie back to how HR teams support decisions from management. HR tech will be critical to surveying employees, solving employee problems, drawing insights from workforce trends and pushing information to management teams to help them make better decisions.
Five years from now, new technologies will help HR teams provide employees and management with better, faster answers to their questions. But businesses should not assume this will happen automatically. HR teams need to encourage a culture of curiosity, innovation and testing that makes the adoption of new tech an everyday part of their culture. The leading HR teams of the future will not only be able to recognize opportunities for advancement, but also be able to incorporate them faster than you can send a text. Because people are losing patience and that’s a good thing.
About The Author
Birch Faber is Marketing Director at TextRecruit. Based in San Francisco, TextRecruit is the first software to give HR leaders the power to manage their recruiter’s text/mobile communication in one central location, just like email. TextRecruit is a web-based, mobile recruiting software that supports recruiting teams of one to a thousand. It can easily integrate with existing Applicant Tracking Systems or can be used independently by recruiters.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.