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Bersin: Next HR tech trend impossible to predict

Speaking at HR Tech World, Bersin predicted a rise in wellness, work/life balance and rapid feedback tech

It is impossible to predict how the next big technological trends will revolutionise HR, according to Josh Bersin, principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte.

Speaking at the HR Tech World conference in Paris, Bersin explained that history shows it is impossible to predict what will create disruption in the workplace with any certainty.

"We couldn't have predicted that the invention of the steam engine would lead to global commerce, or that ticker tape would eventually lead to the internet," he said. "We never realised smartphones would evolve into something we would carry around all the time, and even sleep next to, and have with us constantly.

"And now we don't know how virtual reality is going to affect the workplace. And let me tell you, it will certainly have an impact."

Bersin discussed how the focus of HR software has changed in the 16 years he has been studying it, and predicted the short-term future of the profession. "At first it was all based around core HR, like payroll and benefits," he said. "Then it moved on to talent management and integrated talent management systems. Now everything is becoming mobile-based to allow us to work closer together.

"Next year I anticipate seeing more vendors here discussing wellness and work/life balance. From our data we know 45% of millennials consider a healthy work/life balance to be their top priority, so we can expect more tools based around this."

Bersin also anticipated a rise in rapid feedback software. "We used to operate a system that offered feedback once a year at appraisals. But in reality this is way too little feedback. We can expect to see a rise in tools that offer fast feedback on everything the employee does."

However, companies should be careful about how they implement this new technology, Bersin warned. "Most important to remember is that you cannot just take a new system and inject it into your current situation. You must learn from your employees what makes them engaged, and more productive, to find breakthrough solutions."