Innovation in HR technology

by 07 Jun 2012

There's a complete revolution going on affecting our daily lives but it's not on your desktop or laptop. In fact, the battle for the internet's future is taking place on your tablet and smartphone. All the big playershave woken up to this and are scrambling towards mergers and acquisitions in the name of market domination, through share and product innovation.

As such we can expect to see an evolution of products with more emphasis on connections between people, information, and location. In short, your smartphone apps will help you understand what and whome you care about in the world. This is valuable information for advertisers who will fund the next generation of innovation. That's all well and good as a consumer, but how does that translate to innovation in HR technology? 

Innovation supports strategy

As an HR professional, innovation in technology facilitates your ability to become a strategic asset to the enterprise. Without that, your role will stagnate and be characterised by an endless administrative burden with a workforce that is disengaged. To achieve this, technology must deliver a new way to drive efficiencies by automating the administrative load, as well as contributing to overall business growth. It must take into consideration all the workflow processes and functional needs of today’s workplace. These include best practices that improve talent acquisition, development and retention, as well as learning technologies that engage and empower an employee to direct their own career inside as well as outside the organisation. All this while the technology maintains intelligent alignment to the requirements of  the organisation.

When it comes to software, the harsh truth is that vendors and developers often focus on a literal interpretation of the process often overlooking usability and experience. Furthermore, there’s an emphasis on technical superiority rather than the fact that software is merely a tool to solve a problem. What’s truly important is developing a solution that adds value and humanises the tasks of acquiring, empowering and retaining today’s workforce. Development should focus on how technology adds value and supports business strategies and objectives with an engaging user experience.

What to expect

Moving beyond 2012 we can expect the next generations of iPads, iPhones and their cousins, to continue their pleasant assault on the workplace. As such, vendors will continue to develop cloud-based, mobilefriendly applications, with content and user experiences for almost every aspect of HR. Where three clicks became too many, it’s now a swipe that’s king. We can also expect social media to realise its true potential as a recruitment and learning partner. Expect applications with pre-built social media integration and possibly a level ‘widgetry’, living natively as an authorised app within the social network.

With more workers on the move and choosing to work from remote locations, organisations will embrace the mobile workforce allowing virtual work groups to be housed anywhere without compromising on productivity. Applications that connect and facilitate collaboration will evolve and become mainstream, with some making the leap into the HR application itself. Collaborative communication tools that make knowledge social and part of a conversation in particular are on the rise.

Innovation for innovation's sake

There’s a whole new generation of innovative technologies entering the market and professional vendors need to take a step back and understand the potential ethical and legal issues they bring. Furthermore, it pays to ask the question, does the innovation actually add value, or is it simply gadgetry for the sake of it?

It’s very clear we are moving to a world characterised by mobile devices, cloud computing and user-centric interfaces and experiences. These are all impacting our lives in a positive way and as a result we expect them to be part of the workplace. Organisations can no longer ignore this and HR needs to be part of the conversation to support this strategy. Furthermore, organisations that move quickly, supported by innovative solutions that attract, develop and deploy talent against the opportunity, will have a competitive advantage.

 About the Author

Ari Kopoulos is the national sales & marketing manager at EmployeeConnect. For further information visit