HR tech trends of 2021: Four key areas to watch

Reliance on technology is only going to increase over the next 12 months

HR tech trends of 2021: Four key areas to watch

HR tech is booming off the back of the pandemic and over the next 12 months, it shows no sign of slowing down.

From virtual onboarding to fully-automated payroll systems, the sudden move to remote work has accelerated the speed of change at a pace no-one could’ve predicted.

As Australia moves into a post-pandemic world, the reliance on HR tech we’ve seen this year looks set to stay.

HRD spoke to Parag Patki, managing partner of consulting practice ANZ at TCS Limited, about the four areas of growth he believes will be vital for HR leaders throughout 2021.

Multiple tools for remote work

One challenge managers have had to address is how to foster collaboration and keep an eye on productivity when their employees are no longer in the office.

Engaging with each employee individually can be incredibly time-consuming, so digital solutions have been key for managing workflow and streamlining processes.

TCS research found 43% of organisations surveyed were struggling to manage key improvement projects within remote teams.

“Digital collaboration platforms with niche solutions for managing various types of projects, workflows, document sharing, online chats, video conferencing and productivity are the key to resolve many of these challenges and we will see increased uptake 2021,” Patki said.

Read more: HR Analysis: How to implement a successful WFH model

More software-as-a-solution and cloud-based HR

Businesses already using cloud-based systems were well-prepared for the remote working shift compared to those still relying on outdated technology.

The scramble to migrate was a wake-up call for many business leaders as to just how quickly the digital landscape can change.

“Managing the entire value chain from hire to retire effectively without failing to comply with regulations is a mammoth task,” Patki said. “Cloud based HR provides a comprehensive solution.”

Equally, SaaS based HR solutions have been equally effective for many areas within the industry, from virtual onboarding, to talent acquisition, performance management and learning and development.

With the spotlight on compliance, particularly within payroll and an employer’s health and safety obligation, this year has shown how important it is for HR professionals to have the right technology  to enable them to work confidently  and securely.

“SaaS human resources solutions can enable small and midsize business owners to control every aspect of their employee management tasks online,” Patki said.

“And in doing so, HR departments can eliminate physical and error-prone manual tasks such as handling multiple spreadsheets and timecards, and safely work remotely heading into 2021.” 

Read more: Securing the remote workforce – 5 new cyber threats

AI powered talent management is here to stay

One of the biggest shifts caused by the pandemic has been around recruitment.

After a frenzy of activity by job seekers initially, activity returned to normal levels by around October and now, many of those who were sheltering in their roles until the NSW/VIC border reopened are also on the move.

The pandemic caused people to question the intrinsic value of their jobs and the security of their current position, prompting many to switch careers or consider upskilling.

For recruiters, the number of job seekers both within their industries and from talent seeking new opportunities has been overwhelming.

Job seekers are also no longer confined to their location, meaning talent is both going abroad and coming from afar.

“Sage People found that while only 24% of businesses are currently using artificial intelligence for recruitment, that number likely will double in the next 12 months, as 56 percent plan to adopt it within the next year,” Patki said.

“These solutions offer AI-powered resume assessments, candidate ranking, recruitment bots to pre-screen and schedule interviews, conduct video-based interviews, the use of facial and emotion recognition software to assess personality traits (passion, integrity, confidence) to algorithms that predict how well the candidate will fit with the role within the company.”

Learning digitally 

Another area of huge growth is among online education platforms thanks to the boom in upskilling and reskilling.

Job security is now more important than salary for many job seekers and the pandemic has shown what types of jobs will move with the times, and which will become obsolete.

Cyber security, cloud-computing, IT and UX development are all booming industries for micro-credentials.

As well as a drive for online education from job seekers themselves, employers are also increasingly using education opportunities as an attraction and retention tool to invest in their employees’ careers.

Patki notes the increasing sophistication of these platforms is another reason for its success.

“Cloud based L&D platforms with vast amounts of diverse digital content can deliver personalised experiences anywhere, anytime on any device,” he said.

“Learning via video content, byte sized videos, virtual reality and gamification are trending over classroom-based mode of learning and will continue to do so in 2021.”

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