Trends are all about tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s devices, tomorrow’s fashion, tomorrow’s world. You may relate to a sense of trend excitement – something most of us these days engage with – and then an arrival at work to a tremendous reality of today.
But it’s Christmas, so here is from me a whizz through the HR tech trends in 2015 and 2016 and then a wish-list for the helpful development elves who can do clever things with the technology of next year to make the day job in HR and payroll look up for us all.

As Dave Ulrich is to the HR role, so we can regard Josh Bersin to the HR technology arena. And so I suggest no better for a great read on people technology trends than the Bersin by Deloitte “HR Technology for 2016: Ten Big Disruptions on the Horizon”. Download the full report here. The Bersin report makes for great and informed reading on the way ahead. For UK readers, the US context detracts little from a clarity of focus and explanation and the sharing of exciting change.

Whose Christmas list?
Bersin looks ahead to a year in which the motivation for the introduction of new people technology is the employee as the user, rather than HR – with increasing focus on engagement with people, rather than delivery of process. We look to a “third wave” of product, afforded this coming year within revived economies by vendors moving into a new space occupied by start-ups and cloud-familiar workers looking for products designed for a cloud base.

So what will the new toys do?
The industry will follow increased mobilisation, “gamification” and “appification”. Interestingly, whilst some of these terms are pretty new in for 2015-turn-2016, read the same report from 2015 and indeed the Forbes write-up of that research, and you’ll notice only a degree of advance on the same themes. Engagement is set in both years to centre around Talent tools, increasingly delivered within the traditional ERP/integrated systems, to innovative learning solutions and to the use of social systems for networked recruiting.
A mention is due of course to Analytics, emerging as a “must have” rather than a “dream of”. A calendar year has seen the emphasis in expectation towards more on predictive results, rather than data which makes us do our own looking forward. I’d like to look more in 2016 at the inevitable conflict between the big data options and the press for us in HR to remember that our talent are people and individuals.

Back to who those products are for……
If you are in HR or payroll right now, and in the UK and perhaps in an industry more cutting-it-fine than cutting-edge when it comes to resourcing and technology strategies, then I join you if you do enjoy a look ahead in this way! I’ll make my share of New Year’s resolutions too. But especially for you and for us, here is my suggested wish list for getting the basics right if you’re a system-owner out there in 2015 and hoping to make a few clients a little bit happier:

A Christmas List for HRIS in 2016
Please can I have (and feel free to copy and paste):

  • A front-end employee portal that’s as neat as the neat little cloud-based ones are looking but still does as much as we need it to?
  • True drag-and-drop reporting services, built into my system and allowing me to let go of worry to ask IT to build me separate reports, via something I don’t understand?
  • Absence functionality future-proofed for the next time that statutory leave rules change (again!) and that I can within my gift just give a little tweak to?
  • Pensions reform design delivered ahead of time – to time will do, if that’s getting tricky to talk to government nicely?
  • A whizzy Total Reward Statement tool, generating employee impressions of package value direct from payroll without an unaffordable budget?
  • Integration with social media recruiting tools, but without cost to the on-boarding and new starter for payroll seamlessness (some are doing better than others here)?
  • Neat solutions to multiple jobs and to multiple and matrix or project management networks?
  • Browser and operating system compatibility updated at the same pace – no faster, no slower – than my own organisation can move?

At the risk of getting greedy, I would really like my clients to enjoy an interactive demo system in advance of their purchases, truly to get to grips with real-life problems with their real-potential HR technology answers.
I stress that my wish-list returns the focus from that “third wave” product to the HR and the payroll user. If I have to make choices, then it is with utilitarian regret that I ask those folks to work a little bit harder in favour of the majority of employee users having a nicer time of it, but this is not at odds with a view that most of us would be best getting the basics in really good shape before we can afford to support the trends of next year.

Happy Holidays
We at Phase 3 Consulting wish everyone well for the turn of the New Year and success in navigating the yesterday legacy, the today wish-list and the tomorrow direction. By this time next year, we could even be ready to look at getting trendy again.

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