I’ve been attending this year’s HR Technology Conference. Coming off the heels of ComBlu’s new HR Tech Digital Customer Experience study, my hope was to glean additional insights into the state of an industry that our team has been immersed in for the last four months. At the halfway point of the conference, my initial observations and takeaways both interest and surprise me. I’ve called out five key trends that stood out to me at this point. In the coming weeks, I look forward to diving into some of these trends more in depth with an eye to the implications for all of us that sell and market in HR and B2B, and for content strategy, in particular.
- The disrupters have become the disrupted.
Until now, technology has been charting the course for the HR function. Innovations in technology from the fax machine to the chat bot have shaped the way we work for the last three decades. Until now. With paradigm shifts visible on the horizon, the new ways we will work will shape and improve the technology we will use going forward. Not the reverse.
- HRTech is WorkTech.
HR platforms and applications will need to fit into the flow of work and the overarching architectural strategy. Software must integrate, and share data, with systems of record. Especially ERP. Solutions providers need to partner with each other as well as implementation experts to help customers be more successful. Deployments have been rocky, with many projects over budget, late or failed. Many customers’ expectations in this space have not been met.
- Technology isn’t the big story.
I’ve been trying to recall other tech conferences that I’ve attended where technology felt like a secondary topic. Industry and technology expert Josh Bersin kicked off the conference predicting major shifts in how we work and how organizations will function very differently. He reported on digital and cultural transformations that normally take ten years, happening in a matter of weeks. He talked about the acceleration of “job decomposition,” which breaks down the traditional ways in which jobs are created, defined and filled. Right now, there are more jobs and job descriptions than there are humans to fill them. Companies need to match resources with tasks and they need to look for capabilities versus being limited by skills that have a shelf life. Deloitte talked of “job-sharing” practices becoming mainstream and “project gigafication” as a real productivity solution and future norm. Employees would essentially function as consultants within their own organizations, operating in an “opportunity marketplace.”
- The HR function will be key to business transformation.
“This crisis is HR,” reminded Stacie Garr of RedThread Research. HR professionals have passed the ultimate field test in 2020. In addition to maintaining connectedness and productivity, they have been on the front lines helping employees and executives navigate emotional issues surrounding health, inequity, loss, stress and fear. CEOs are adopting a mantra and culture of empathy that’s never been seen before. As longtime keepers and protectors of the human resource, this function is the natural bridge to help organizations communicate and connect the dots on safety, family, community and work-life balance. All of which are critical to the success of businesses moving forward. As such, HR is central to the new operational matrix that includes IT, Finance, Facilities, Legal, Procurement and the C-Suite. HR leaders will have more influence and authority, but they will also face difficult challenges managing a hybrid workforce and having to be both global and local at the same time.
- Employee benefits will go from perk to priority.
Nice to haves are the new must-haves. Employee benefits were a means to attract and retain employees. Now, they will be used to keep people well, financially secure, safe from harm and prepared for the unexpected.
Looking forward to the rest of the conference. Stay tuned for more insights on the future of work, WorkTech and business transformation. If you are a solution provider in the HR space and are interested in understanding how to deliver a digital customer experience based on best practices, download our new report here.
Jenny is a digital content strategist, who leads customer-centric engagements that focus on understanding B2B buying behaviors and developing custom roadmaps.
Her expertise is creating buyer personas and mapping digital content journeys to assess the multi-channel user experience. She helps clients operationalize plans across workstreams and identifies processes to create efficiencies in marketing operations. Jenny also has extensive time under her belt developing and managing customer advocacy programs and community building.
She has helped a diverse group of organizations including Cisco, VMware, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, BMO Harris, Capital One and many others become more customer-centric.