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The future of the HR industry: 2014 technology predictions

There are four key ingredients HR departments will need to embrace in technology, in order to remain successful in 2014, according to HR software provider, Workforce Metrics.

HR must re-evaluate the benefits of workplace technologies and online platforms as a means to help them become more strategic at a time when they face a disparate balance between workplace and financial pressures.

The four key ingredients are:

Increased use of the cloud for system deployments:Cloud computing offers greater flexibility and improved workplace efficiencies. This is vital in an environment when HR need to do less with more.

Use of social media to improve staff engagement:As the workplace becomes increasingly flexible, social media will be key to maintaining employee engagement as the office noticeboard loses its influence.

Use of information from systems to drive performance:Taking a more holistic view, businesses will need to use the information they have to leverage efficiencies from existing technology systems.

Direct sourcing for recruitment, driven by social media:Social media will play a large part in the continued quest to find the very best talent, as businesses look to grow in the New Year.

As the economy begins to improve, businesses must take the opportunity to re-evaluate their technology needs and embrace alternative options such as cloud computing and social media for greater flexibility and improved workplace efficiencies.

HR technology implementations will rely increasingly on cloud computing, particularly in larger companies where HR teams can be spread out in different areas of a building, or even different regions but also for smaller organisations where they want to reap the benefits of the economies of scale cloud computing can offer.

It's a well-known fact that HR departments are spread too thinly and often teams are not even housed in one office, so this can cause problems when relaying information, due to files being lost or things being mis-communicated. Cloud computing, however, will offer HR teams more flexibility and a more intuitive way of working. This will not only ease work pressures, but it will also reduce errors when processing things like grievances, which could prove costly if handled incorrectly.

Attracting and retaining talent will continue to be a priority for HR in 2014 as the economy begins to lift and social media will play a key role in assisting in the hire and retention of staff.

Despite time pressures, HR departments need to become increasingly social, using platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, which can now act as a public notice board for staff. Monitoring these sites regularly will allow HRs to achieve a greater level of engagement with staff too.

Social media offers HR the tools to recruit the very best talent, by advertising openings in a more personal way. These platforms mean recruitment is no longer passive and allows HR and recruitment teams to talk directly to candidates even before the interview stage and build up a potential recruitment pipeline that can be targeted when an opening arises, working proactively and minimising the time to hire.

It's well known that the best strategy for success is to understand, improve and adapt and in this case, getting the right technology and using it in the most efficient way is the key. For employers with an over-stretched HR department, the right technology and platforms will offer greater support and subsequently improve employee engagement, which will be vital for business success in 2014 and beyond.

Andy Shettle is managing director of Workforce Metrics