HR technology (human resources technology) is an umbrella term for software and associated hardware for automating the human resources function in organizations. It includes employee payroll and compensation, talent acquisition and management, workforce analytics, performance management, benefits administration etc.
HR technology, often referred to as HR tech, has developed rapidly in recent years, with large employers around the world widely adopting core HR technology systems from enterprise software companies such as Oracle and SAP, as well as specialized HR tech vendors. Many of these employers are entering a second generation of HR technology by migrating from their on-premises systems to new cloud platforms, including SaaS (Software as a Service). Meanwhile, small and midsized employers are also moving in large numbers to digitize their human resource functions, commonly turning to SaaS platforms or cloud-based HR technology outsourcing vendors.
Human capital management (HCM) is a broad term for a variety of business functions that treat employees as assets that can be managed objectively just as companies view and manage other assets, such as money and capital equipment. In its most basic form, HCM is usually automated with integrated software that pulls together employee records in core HR and talent management systems. HCM systems can include discrete subsystems for recruitment, performance, learning and compensation management, succession planning, compliance etc. Many HR technology vendors also specialize in dedicated systems for specific aspects of HCM such as talent acquisition. Electronic job boards or marketplaces in which prospective employees and employers find each other are an example.
HCM has begun to displace the terms HRIS (Human Resources Information System) and HRMS (Human Resource Management System),under which labels which core HR technology systems have long been marketed.Although there are few differentiators among the three labels, HRIS tends to provide technology for storing employee data and automating core HR functions while HRMS vendors add HCM feature, including talent management.
While some HR technology vendors specialize in payroll, many HCM systems also incorporate the function of paying and tracking employees' wages and salaries and withholding taxes and other deductions. Also, cloud-based HR technology outsourcing vendors provide payroll services as a key component of a suite of digital HR offerings or as a standalone service, particularly for SMBs.
A significant challenge facing HR technology payroll providers is administering wages and salaries and tax withholding across multiple U.S. jurisdictions such as states and counties, and in different countries with unique governmental requirements. Some employers use time and attendance software to track the hours that employees spend on the job and keep records of wages and salaries paid.
Compensation management is also related to payroll but is its own niche as well, a class of HR software designed to determine the best pay rates for attracting and retaining employees and rewarding performance. It is a component of most talent management suites.
Travel and expense management
Also related to payroll is travel and expense software, which HR departments use to provide travel services to employees, record related expenses, pay providers and reimburse the employee through a link to the payroll service.
Some organizations use expense report software to provide managers with a clear picture of the organization's spending through automated analytics and reporting.
Mobile expense management tools provide usage and cost information about the mobile devices and services the organization provides to employees, and which are often administered by HR.
Talent management is the process of recruiting, developing, evaluating and compensating employees. It is often managed in separate applications or in talent management software suites that consist of integrated modules for recruitment and onboarding, learning and development, performance management, compensation management, and succession planning.
HR technology vendors have developed various forms of applications and SaaS platforms to recruit job candidates, evaluate candidates pre-interview and track them during the hiring cycle.
Closely related to talent management is talent acquisition, the strategic process of finding and hiring the right employees to help achieve an organization's goals. As employers have come to view workers as assets, acquiring employees has become increasingly important, particularly in competitive markets such as the technology industry itself.
The following are some popular talent management and acquisition technologies.
Applicant tracking system (ATS) used to post job openings on a corporate website or job board, screen resumes, and generate interview requests to potential candidates by e-mail. Other features may include automated resume ranking, pre-screening questions and response tracking, and multilingual capabilities.
Candidate relationship management, which allows recruiters to maintain a pool of passive candidates that can be brought in for consideration on short notice.
Employee referral software that allows HR to collect recommendations from current employees about potential and current candidates.
Employee assessment software that helps an organization decide whether a job candidate is suited for an open position. While some assessments gauge a candidate's cultural fit with the company or their personality traits, others focus on skills or critical knowledge. In addition to purveyors of candidate recruitment and tracking systems, and job boards, major technology and social media companies have become important players in the talent acquisition market.
Also associated with talent management technology is succession planning software that helps guide strategic replacement of key executives.
As employers have automated other previously manual HR functions, they have also started to embrace the idea of monitoring employees' job performance continuously instead of with the traditional annual job review.
Both performance management modules within HCM systems and separate performance management platforms also sometimes offer interactive features that enable employee feedback in a process called continuous performance management.
Workforce analytics uses individual performance management and skills data to optimize the allocation and development of human capital and identify the need for new departments and positions.
One tool used increasingly in performance management is employee engagement HR technology. Employee engagement platforms and apps use a variety of approaches to try to keep workers interested in and enthusiastic about their jobs.
Among these are mobile apps with social media-like posting and commenting capabilities, communications platforms that allow employers to disseminate information and workers to respond, and gamification techniques that seek to motivate employees by making apps entertaining.
Other engagement strategies include sophisticated employee recognition programs, app-based enterprise-wide contest platforms and software to coordinate volunteer civic projects.
As a whole, HR technology for benefits administration began to become digitized more recently than core HCM tasks, not only by putting benefits information online, but also by enabling employees to engage with benefits choices more easily. As that digital transformation has picked up speed in recent years, benefits have come to mean more than just health and disability insurance, vacation and sick days.
Corporate wellness and well-being have become central to many employers' benefits programs, both online, on-premises and app-based, and using technology in conjunction with human wellness coaches.
Many HR technology vendors are selling specialized software systems that incentivize workers for participating in health-oriented wellness programs, and sometimes use wearable tracking devices to measure activity. Some make a distinction between wellness and well-being, and corporate well-being has come to mean a combination of engagement, health-oriented wellness, "financial well-being" for employees and overall corporate morale.
Another notable trend in HR technology benefits administration is the emergence of vendors that optimize health insurance benefits by applying analytics to claims data and tailoring benefits packages for individual workers.
Corporate training and education programs are migrating to interactive online platforms created by HR technology vendors. Whether using real-time or asynchronous video or text-based communication, employers use learning management software (LMS) that can customize training programs, track whether employees have completed them, and assess student performance. An LMS may also provide students with the ability to use interactive features such as threaded discussions, video conferencing, and discussion forums.
With increasingly disruptive technology advancement, HR professionals need to be on the lookout for the latest trends, and adapt them quickly to keep their companies at the forefront of innovation.
Let us see ten HR technology trends that are catching up in India.
Innovation within the Human Resources industry can be seen with HR professionals setting the pace with new performance management models, new learning methods, new ways to reduce bias, and new approaches to recruit and train people.
Surge of People Analytics
With its ability to produce insights into the workforce, help companies retain talents and spot employees who are likely to leave, the use of People Analytics is becoming prevalent in 2018. Data provided allows HR professionals to have a deep understanding of employee’s needs, concerns and so on.
Changes in Talent Sourcing
The norm is shifting from full time employment trends to a blend of increasingly hiring remote workers, workers on flexible schedule, part time workers and consultants. This type of approach is changing the way HR professionals recruit candidates with technology leading the charge.
Popularity of Wellness Apps
With the understanding that employees must be emotionally and physically well in order to perform at their maximum levels, HR managers are taking the steps to ensure that workers are monitored and empowered to take care of themselves. Health and wellness apps are rapidly being adopted to measure individual performance, activity and fitness levels, with great improvements in engagement, health, and mental wellbeing.
Increased Migration to the Cloud
With cloud-based HRMS, payroll, and talent management services, as well as financials and other ERP solutions offerings in the cloud, the question is no longer “if” a company will move to the cloud, but rather “when” and “how.”
Rise of Intelligent Self-Service Tools
There is a fast-growing shift towards more data-driven, intelligent digital organizations and more self-sufficient/analytical employees. This is increasing the need for tools that integrate case management, document management, employee communications, and help-desk interactions. Self-service and employee experience platforms are the backbone of employee service centers and are simplifying training, expense reporting, time tracking, and almost every other HR function.
New Breed of Corporate Learning Tools
Companies are modernizing learning and development to be more democratic, self-directed and appealing to younger workers by making greater use of video and other new breed of micro-learning platforms including virtual reality, augmented reality, experience platforms, modernized learning management systems, and AI-based systems for learning and training.
The market for recruitment tools is thriving with innovation, as HR needs tools to help find people with the right capabilities and learning skills, not just technical or cognitive abilities. High volume recruitment is being automated, skilled job hiring is being transformed by open sourcing tools, recruitment management systems, and improved assessments.
Also called distributed ledger technology, blockchain is basically a database that keeps an ever-growing list of records. It allows digital information to be distributed but not copied. In HR, potential uses for blockchain include digital process management, solve certification issues, increase transparency, improve overseas electronic payroll, automate routine and data-heavy processes, cybersecurity and fraud prevention.
Intelligent Apps and Analytics
Machine learning HR applications is changing the nature of work and the structure of the workplace. Apps for attracting talent, worker performance analysis, applicant tracking and assessment, enterprise management, internal management, etc. are enhancing better decision making with the use of machines as a tool and collaborator.
Human Resources Technology can legitimately boast of having tremendously added to the quality and efficacy of implementation of various HRM concepts and procedures in organizations, thanks to the multifarious empirical objective analyses it provides, for the reason that human respources management is often prone to more subjectivity than any other aspect of organizational management. It can be seen that Human Resources Technology has emerged as a stand-alone and strong branch of technology, has a decisive say in corporate affairs and is here to stay.