The Human Resources Technology Revolution Is Upon Us

175861511Human resources technology remains an interesting field, because, as of this writing, there are still only a few winners in the space, and there is still so much marketshare to be won. LinkedIn is the most obvious company that has succeeded in this space in the past ten years, but as Marc Andreessen recently discussed in the Harvard Business Review, technology businesses are about bundling and unbundling. As LinkedIn has bundled up the world of online resumes, now, the great unbundling of these CVs by HR tech companies begins. This is very exciting.

This human resources technology revolution is particularly fascinating as it intersects with Millennial culture: The idea that it is good, and cool, to work in five jobs by the time you hit thirty years old is very new. How do you attract and retain the best employees, knowing that they may only stick around for nine months or a year?

Unbundling and Rebundling

With the success of Airbnb and Uber, the idea that anything can be made “on demand” is quickly becoming a reality. At SkillBridge, we focus every day on how we can bring consultants on demand to the workplace. We have decided to unbundle the job hunt for one specific niche: top-tier, short-term consulting. This is one way that the work market is shifting, especially because 40 percent of the workforce is expected to be made up of contingent workers by 2020.

That said, other sites out there, such as LooseMonkies, are attempting to rebundle the job search process by giving candidates more data about where they stand compared to the other people applying for their jobs.

Rewards and Gamification

In the “new economy,” smart, talented, savvy people are winning. They have opportunities to climb the ladder quickly, and they don’t have to slave away at one company for 30 years to reach excellent heights in their careers. Millennials specifically are motivated more by the opportunity to travel than they are by the idea of advancing to “partner” status within a large firm. Thus, rewards are needed to help keep employees motivated, and make them stick around. However, rewards have been inverted: It’s no longer managers giving bonuses, but peer reviews and crowds of employees who have the power.

One platform that helps leverage the “wisdom of the crowd” of employees is Bonusly, a site that enables companies to “recognize, reward and retain their employees.” Bonusly founder Raphael Crawford-Markss says, “In addition to crowd sourcing bonuses, Bonusly leverages the data created by employees to generate useful and actionable insights about your team. Who is your leading innovator? Who is working with whom, and on what? Who’s the most influential person on the marketing team? These are all questions that would normally be difficult to answer, but that Bonusly can answer with ease, in near-real-time.” In this sense gamification and big data are coming together to help companies win.

As Eric Mosley, CEO of Globoforce says, “Movement toward positivity and happiness in the workplace are great productivity boosters. High morale can produce more innovative and creative cultures. When you have a positive workforce competing against a company with a negative workforce, the positive company wins.”

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Wearable Technology

Speaking on how wearable technology has been integrated into the workplace and will continue to do so in the future, Frank Moreno, the director of Kronos Incorporated says, “Wearable technology is poised to change how organizations collect, access, and use information in the workplace. Consider a manufacturing environment in which wearable devices could be used to provide location-based information. If a machine malfunction interrupts the output of widgets, a manager could quickly reassign workers to another line until the machine is repaired, without workers needing to walk to a time clock to punch in and out to indicate their location. Consider how health-tracking devices — Fitbits, Fuel Bands — could monitor heart rates of nurses to help identify fatigue levels, and having that information feed into a workforce management application so a nurse could be reallocated or another nurse can be scheduled to cover a portion of a shift in the event of fatigue.”

Technical Recruiting

If you work in technology, you know that people will try to poach your developers every single day. This is the reality in a world where talent is in short supply, and demand is at peak levels. However, technology is also making it easier to discover – and hopefully retain — qualified technical talent. Frederick Mendler, co-founder and COO of TrueAbility says, “We have built a sourcing machine and technical assessment platform that allows technical professionals to demonstrate their skills in a live environment — one that emulates the actual position a company is trying to fill.” There are other companies that are also innovating in the recruiting space – and even apps that enable you to “covertly” search for jobs or use an algorithm to help you decide which jobs to apply to.

Conclusions

As Alan Fluhrer, a 20-year executive search professional laments, “Tech is certainly important, but too many people feel that techtools are a panacea, that may solve their problems. Tech tools are just that, tools.”

He continues, “The best way I have seen tech tools get implemented, may sound a bit backwards. Companies look at their issues and problems that need to be solved. Then, they look at a broad range of tools that might help them and go from there. Too many companies read the latest-greatest story on something and think, ‘That’s it! We’ll do that too and all will be well.’ This is not the case.”

At SkillBridge, I know that we like HR technology that is easy and that works. As my co-founder, Raj Jeyakumar says, every time he interacts with Zen Payroll, “The user interface makes everything so simple, and they automate so much of the boring stuff that I would recommend it to anyone.”

This is why many companies are specifically targeting SMEs with software to make there lives easier. Social collaboration, the big data explosion, and advances in cloud-based software will also propel the human resources technology revolution forward.

Where will we be in few more years of HR technology growth? There are millions of STEM vacancies in America, just waiting to be filled. Who will fill them? And, at what cost? If only I had a crystal ball.

MORE: Is technology the end of the line for recruiting?

Stephen Robert Morse
Stephen Robert Morse is co-founder and head of marketing at www.skillbridge.co.

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