HR technology: Top emerging trends revealed

From Zoom, to Slack, to Teams – it's heating up in HR tech

HR technology: Top emerging trends revealed

The HR technology space is evolving at rapid speeds, aiming to solve the challenges thrown up by our shifting nature of work just as quickly as they emerge. From collaboration tools to remote onboarding platforms, communication channels to virtual learning, tech has revolutionised almost every aspect of the employee experience.

Now, staying across all of the rapidly developing technologies is one of the big challenges for HR leaders to ensure employees can work at their best. But where is HR tech going next?

HRD spoke to Elise Ward, Chief People Officer at Prospa, and speaker at the upcoming HR Tech Summit Sydney, about the emerging trends within the HR tech space. She said the pandemic and the rise of working remotely has forced people leaders to reimagine the employee experience and what connection looks like for dispersed teams.

“What we're seeing is collaboration tools have definitely become an essential backbone of managing remote and distributed teams,” she said. “So I would definitely say the first big trend is an increase of investment in key collaboration tools.”

The collaboration realm of technology spans both social and functional dimensions of work. Tools like Slack, Zoom and Microsoft Teams enable employees to communicate easily through instant messenger chats or video calls. But the ability to work asynchronously on projects and share documents is equally as vital.

Read more: Flexible working: Is it given or is it earned?

The other big trend, particularly within HR’s function, is the move towards automation and virtual processes, Ward said. It’s never been more critical for employers to be able to recruit and onboard new hires virtually, without losing their sense of culture in the process.

HR technology is also helping to address the overwhelm of information that comes with working virtually. Ward said that rather than having a staff intranet where resources are stored, more innovative technology is allowing employees to work more asynchronously than ever before.

“Knowledge centre tools like Confluence or other wikis are the way of the future so that people can not only store processes and document information but they can also go and understand things, learn things, collaborate with their peers on projects in real time, but importantly, at a time that suits them,” Ward said.

Investment in the HR tech industry has skyrocketed as a result of the pandemic. But with so many new products and updates being released, it can be increasingly difficult for HR leaders to know what to invest in. Ward said ultimately, it comes down to context.

“For example if you're in a high growth phase where you know you're going to be taking on a large number of employees, then I'd absolutely say you want to be focusing on your hiring tools and making sure that you've got the right technology in place for that,” she said.

“For us at Prospa, we've got those foundational tools in place and now it's about doubling down on collaboration. At the moment, we’re thinking about communication and what the right communication tools are for us.”

Read more: Workplace COVID-19 vaccinations could begin in September

Ward said having recently introduced Ask Me Anything sessions, which originated from Reddit, they’re using a Q&A tool which allows employees to ask questions in real-time and upvote their colleagues’ questions. Not only does it create a transparent path of communication between the speaker and the audience, but it allows HR to identify the pressing issues on employees’ minds.

As well as assessing technology needs based on where the business is at, Ward urged HR leaders to look internally. She said working with Prospa’s development team has been a hugely effective way to create solutions to certain problems, rather than relying on the purchase of products on the market.

Developing a strong relationship between HR leaders and their chief technology officer also enables them to stay ahead of developing tech trends. Because while we’ve experienced huge change in the last 12 months, the world of work is continuing to evolve.

To hear more from Elise Ward and our line-up of leading HR professionals, click here to register for this year’s HR Tech Summit Sydney.

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