Change is afoot in the human resource technology space. So says Josh Bersin, founder and principal of Bersin by Deloitte, the market research firm’s HR technology wing. Employee Benefit News spoke with Bersin for his insights on the coming wave of HR technology and how 2018 will be the year that HR executives need to deliver consumer-level services to their employees.

Employee Benefit News: What will be the biggest HR technology disruptor of 2018?

Josh Bersin, founder and principal of Bersin by Deloitte.
Josh Bersin, founder and principal of Bersin by Deloitte.

Josh Bersin: The entire HR technology market is in the middle of reinvention, with a whole new set of tools for continuous performance management, continuous learning, agile career development, AI-based recruiting, intelligent sourcing, real-time feedback and AI-based analysis of bias. The concept that a company can buy an integrated end-to-end cloud-based HCM system is starting to fade, as companies now buy more new tools than ever.

Over the next year AI and data-driven HR will be the most powerful new disruptor, as almost every HR product is now using AI and algorithms to give managers and HR professionals more intelligence about their organization. We just published a report that details how important analytics has become: HR truly is becoming a data-driven business function.

EBN: What are HR executives looking for in terms of technology? Is it ease-of-use or comprehensive data analytics? What about social media?

Bersin: Generally, HR professionals want an easy-to-use, integrated platform with a set of employee applications that run on mobile devices, are simple to learn and improve productivity. They are far less integrated in integrated talent management than ever before, because the job market is so competitive.

Rather they are looking for systems that make the work experience easier and better, they are looking for apps that let employees give managers instant feedback, and they are very interested in monitoring [social media] websites to understand their employment brand.

EBN: Can technology play a role in boosting employee engagement and productivity?

Bersin: Very much so. The new breed of apps that offer pulse surveys, open text feedback, sentiment analysis and organizational network analysis all help managers and HR professionals understand where and why certain employee groups are unhappy. By capturing this information in an open way, and encouraging a transparent leadership style, companies can easily see where engagement problems are occurring, and help managers and business leaders immediately address them. These systems are among the most useful and well received systems among all HR products.

EBN: How would you gauge HR as a whole when it comes to adopting new tech? Are they overly cautious?

Bersin: Most HR departments are somewhat skeptical about technology so they look for proven solutions, but today more than ever we see HR teams experimenting with new platforms because the workforce is so technologically savvy. Workers now expect a consumer-like experience at work, so HR is free to buy best of breed products as long as they are easy to use and they truly help make employees more productive, healthy and engaged at work.

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