How tech & innovation are turning HR on its head

More than ever before, the needs and demands of businesses across the world are changing. These changes are, in large part, being driven by easy access to affordable technologies, the evolution of the way we approach workplaces and the management thereof, and increasing pressure to be more efficient than ever.

While there’s not a single aspect of business that is immune to these changes, there might be none so under pressure to change and adapt than HR. Over the next few years, the way businesses approach HR will change drastically, and businesses need to make sure their HR departments are well equipped to adapt to these changes and deliver greater value.

The concept of what HR is has, in a lot of ways, been completely flipped on its head. Startups operating in the HR space are usurping well-established companies that have been peddling HR software for years. The focus of this new breed of HR software is focused on employees, rather than those working in the HR department. And ultimately, they’re now more likely to be focused on engagement of employees, rather than just rote recording of details.

Let’s take a look at some the major changes that are currently in motion in HR, and what it means for you.

HR in your pocket

The days in which we accessed the internet through a desktop or laptop computer are well and truly behind us. Since the advent of the smartphone, more and more consumers are accessing the internet through their mobile phones. The most recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows us that while most households who access the internet use a desktop or laptop computer to do so (94%), smartphones are quickly catching up (86%). With smartphone ownership in Australia having already outstripped laptop or desktop ownership (89% and 88%, respectively), it’s reasonable to operate under the assumption that within a few years, smartphones will be the primary device we use to access the internet.

That’s why those who are at the forefront of changing the HR space are taking a mobile-first approach. By adopting mobile technology, businesses can ensure they’re able to reach and engage an increasingly fluid, dynamic workforce, by encouraging learning, collaboration and feedback – all via a centralised app.

And mobile apps aren’t just for existing employees. Mobile technology is also changing the way businesses approach recruitment. Switch, for example, emulates Tinder’s well-known ‘swipe right for yes’ interface. If a recruiter and a candidate both ‘swipe right’ on each other, both parties can then communicate with each other. HireVue, a cloud-based HR solution, allows recruiters to request on-demand digital interviews, and candidates to submit videos to answer questions posed by recruiters.

Social butterflies

Since its inception in the early 2000s, social media has undergone several changes of focus. Initially, social media was mostly just about sharing and connecting with friends. In the late 2000s – early 2010s, businesses started using (and, in too many cases, abusing) social media to market their products and services to consumers.

Lately, social media has experienced another shift – from the scourge of the productive workplace, to an effective way to engage and develop employees.

The announcement, in late 2015, that Facebook would be launching an enterprise version of the now-ubiquitous social network in 2016, caused something of a flurry of skepticism. After all, businesses have been trying to combat the distracting influence of social media for years – now they were meant to embrace it with open arms?

Despite the controversy Facebook’s announcement caused, enterprise social media has existed for years. Initially created as an internal communication tool for genealogy website Geni, Yammer was launched as an independent product at TechCrunch50 in 2008. Used widely by organisations across the world, Yammer allows users to create groups, start conversations, share documents and connect with other people in their organisation.

Another popular tool used by thousands of workplaces worldwide is Slack, an easy-to-use chat tool with both a desktop and mobile app favoured by start-ups and creatives. Slack users can chat to colleagues, create ‘channels’ for particular projects or topics, and share files. Since it’s cloud-based, you can search for specific messages, notifications and files no matter where you are.

Yammer, Slack, and to a lesser extent LinkedIn, are also becoming key tools in the onboarding process, with new employees being able to connect with their new colleagues, and develop an understanding of company culture, before even setting foot into the workplace.

Social media is also changing the way businesses recruit. It’s increasingly common for businesses to share available roles on their social media channels, which helps recruiters find candidates who are already engaged with their brand. LinkedIn’s dedicated job search app, launched in 2014, means candidates can now apply for jobs with a single-click, using their LinkedIn profile rather than a traditional CV. And some businesses (like Deloitte in the Netherlands) are using YouTube to share employee testimonials, to further engage potential candidates.

Next >> Gamification of the HR process, and why your HR processes need to be in the cloud.

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