Following this month’s CIPD HR Software and Recruitment Show, Luke Bray looks at the emerging trends in the space and how tech is helping companies attract staff, support development, improve wellbeing and ultimately retain them for longer.
The world of work continues to evolve at an unprecedented rate. Whilst the needs of workforces are becoming increasingly individualised, the good news is that the number of tools that can help deliver this is increasing. The HR and recruitment software stack provides platforms with the ability to keep pace, and in the future will be fundamental to recruiting quality talent, enabling progression and development of employees, optimising performance and retaining the best people.
As a growth-focused investor, we are excited by the potential of technology in this market and are always looking for interesting businesses really driving the HR agenda. The CIPD HR Software and Recruitment show provided an ideal opportunity to keep a finger on the pulse of innovation from the established and new protagonists in the market.
Beyond the presence of the free ice cream for yet another year, there were a number of key trends coming from the market for 2018 that particularly struck me:
- Continuous performance management has been accepted as the future, but for many companies their culture is not yet set up to deliver this. The rate of adoption in the mid-market and SME’s is still low as the security and familiarity of annual appraisals is still well entrenched. I expect that at a board level they will begin to look to tech as a way of changing these attitudes, with the likes of feedback programmes, pulse surveys and intuitive analytics allowing a much easier transition to a feedback culture.
- The re-invention of corporate learning has arrived, but the days of playing a video game to learn about compliance are not quite here (yet). Thankfully short, focused and engaging content from providers in the market definitely are, and delivered through a quality learning management system, employers can ensure their workforces are always up-to-date. Crucially learning through a tech platform will enable HR to have better data to analyse engagement levels.
- The technology strategy of HR has long been at the top of the agenda for HRD’s, but as the technical platform matures, acquiring data and performing insightful analytics is becoming more important to drive strategic HR decisions and continually improving life for your employees.
- The recruitment market is rapidly changing as workflow software continues to reduce recruitment costs for all companies, from enterprises right down to SMEs. Speaking to vendors in this space, it is not uncommon for 50 or fewer employee businesses to still see a good ROI on these solutions; with recruitment costs often more than a third of an employee’s salary, the returns quickly accumulate. Once your recruitment workflow processes are configured, maximisation of low-cost recruitment channels and efficient applicant tracking can alleviate the pain of high commission costs, minimise time spent on internal administration and ensure you own the recruitment journey of potential hires.
- Employee wellbeing solutions continue their rapid growth on the back of public debate around the treatment of employees by businesses after a number of high profile cases such as the exposure of Sports Direct’s treatment of warehouse staff. Just 21% of British workers consider themselves ‘very effective’ in their current role, believing that they would be as much as 45% more productive if they were doing a job they loved. With lots to gain from employee performance the focus is set to remain on this area in the future, with companies using wellbeing solutions as a way to differentiate their employee valuation proposition from competitors in the market, with nearly 80% of employees open to choosing engaging benefits such as flexible working or access to discounts over a pay rise.
- HR technology, like almost any ERP software, will see the impact of AI. There was plenty of noise at the event around the impact of AI chatboxes and machine learning to optimise employee engagement and performance. There is a mass of technical disruption ahead in the coming years as these concepts mature, with the vast majority of vendors I spoke to looking to develop their capabilities in these areas
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