Where next for HR technology?
Hannah Prevett, October 27, 2014
HR technologies are moving at a rate of knots. Mobile, video, big data and social media are currently the order of the day. But what’s looming on the horizon?
We’ve only scratched the surface of what big data can do in HR. Data and analytics are forcing HR to be more insightful and strategic. Merely producing the figures is not enough in a big data world; after all, the technology does that for you. Where HR business partners need to add value is explaining what the figures mean for the business. Predictive analytics will become the next big thing, says CEB's VP of product innovation and development Ken Lahti: “Retention is a huge focus – being able to build more robust models to understand why people leave, why they stay and how to predict that in advance using all of the inputs available.”
So far video has mainly been leveraged for on-demand online tutorials for existing staff and ‘day in the life’ type offerings for potential employees. In the future, we’ll see more video use in the interview process, predicts Lahti. “We expect to see remote interviewing trending pretty high. You can do it as a synchronous, real-time interview but the major efficiencies come from moving to an asynchronous interview where, as an applicant, you can go on and record your interview responses to some canned interview questions. Likewise, on the recruiting side, the employers can review those at their leisure.”
Wearable technology (smartwatches in particular) may have a role to play in future wellbeing initiatives, thinks Alex Faulkner, former HR director at Phones4U. “Some of my HR team [were] looking at how we could create a strategy around health and wellbeing using some of the wearables and the latest technologies,” she says.
Once lauded as the answer to employee engagement and incentivisation, gamification has largely over-promised and under-delivered. Some companies gamified parts of the application process – only if candidates answered scenario-based questions would they proceed to the next stage – but few utilised gamification for training and development. However, the technology could have a second lease of life. Faulkner is keen on the idea of HR integrating gamifaction tools end-to-end. “Clearly there’s some incentive and recognition there but it’s also about technology enabling people to have a bit of fun at work,” she adds.
Social content mining
Is it appropriate for an employer to scrutinise a potential employee’s social media feed? For Rackspace HRD Doreen John mining current employees’ social media data would have a very specific purpose - and it’s not about Big Brother. “Wouldn’t it be great if we were able to take social information – such as things they’ve talked about on Facebook – to then be able to create opportunities to engage them?” she asks. “It’s using it for the right reasons. Not for the punitive but for recognition.”
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