There are plenty of "Trend predictors" for 2021 and maybe your own strategy already has included/excluded many of these forecasts. Nevertheless, this article includes five HR Tech Trends that are setting the stage for the Future of Work in 2025 - from my point of view. - HM
HR Tech Trends for 2021
Remote work is a stayer and that evolution has consequences.
1. Video becomes a commodity
Starting with a no brainer. Video is going to be everywhere in 2021! Video will become the new “employee experience” feature that companies will embrace. Especially in remote recruiting where Job board Stepstone already acquired Cammio, while ATS Jobtoolz partnered up with Jobortunity and Brockmeyer last year - not to mention the double capital round of Remote of EUR 46 Million in total.
Also, other HR Processes will see video as an improving feature in Employee Experience Platforms, Learning Applications, Collaboration and/or Project Management Tools. Those who have not yet integrated with any video provider yet, will do so in 2021.
2. Learning becomes the new wellbeing
"Wellbeing, engagement, and learning" will unite forces as remote workers are more productive when given the autonomy to organize their work themselves, yet they are also vulnerable to a disconnection when their wellbeing and engagement needs to be enabled remotely and there is a lack of digital intuition (skills).
Remote Skills & knowledge applications like MobieTrain, gpal, RMMBR, Swipeguide, WorkplaceBuddy (for MS365), Manual.to, Quink, Wooclap, Skilldeal or even neuro learning startup Stellarlabs could help to ease the transition of working in a semi- or fully digitized environment by teaching personalized low level digital skills and more. Yet some of these functionalities could also be featured in any relatively new Learning Management System and that list is growing with the minute.
In 2021 these Learning applications will take it one step further than video or gamification and embrace virtual & augmented reality for learnings, wellbeing exercises and to engage the workforce. Applications like Covince and PlayitSafe are already integrated into several learning applications already. Besides learning, a VR game as a teambuilding or a 15-minute VR break with an application like Zenview could also boost engagement and wellbeing with little effort.
Nevertheless, staying connected, engaged, and productive got a whole new dimension by working remote. “Coffee Corner” conversations are most missed as overarching knowledge and sense of culture is being passed through in this kind of talks. Not only enterprise Social Networks like MS Yammer, Facebook Workplace or Slack (acquired by Salesforce for $ 27.7 billion) could support this kind of knowledge sharing.
The most value is created by Employee Experience Platforms, Feedback & internal communication applications who have enabled learning and development features or can do that very easily like Elium, Intuo, Learned.io, MeetRoger, Alundi, Spencer, huapii, RecognizePeers, Speakapp, Officeapp, UQ.works, Whale, Privmx, Treams, Frizby, Truqu and many more.
3. Performance Management gets a restyling
Time registration becomes ancient. Ever since the early eighties’ organizations were measuring performance by the hours that were spent on a job. Working remote somewhat challenged that old approach and in 2021 we will see an evolution in alternative performance measurement solutions.
Organizations could also simply focus on the outcome and use different KPI’s to define a top performer or they can monitor someone’s behavior. That last bit will be a bit tricky as the employee of tomorrow is very aware of its privacy and is only willing to give it up if there is something to win. Possible new leadership styles must be adopted first to create a solution to all the remote work challenges. In other words, never use the data of employees against them, use it to help them.
Therefor performance management will embrace the fact that performance monitoring can be used for optimization and improvement of personal learning, wellbeing, and productivity. Collaboration platforms will collaborate with all necessary features in 2021 to fulfill the desires of this new style of performance management.
As a matter of fact, being transparent about the use of personal data has the potential to define the Employer Brand.
4. AI driven Talent Marketplaces are pioneering for success
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning already found their way to HR Tech and are currently most used in recruiting, where it has the most maturity. AI already has experience in matching profiles and vacancies, collecting and distributing the right data – with or without a chatbot, analyzing text or images and even to finding the unfindable.
Big Tech Companies like Microsoft and Google are very aware of the power of AI in recruitment. With LinkedIn Talent Solutions and Google for Jobs there are two solutions who could become whales when they would offer their own AI-driven matching engine. As a matter of fact, Google already offers an AI cloud talent solution and Microsoft uses AI for its brand new Talent365 application.
Still, local differences and culture or a million interpretations on “skills” can affect the outcome in a negative way and leaves room for plenty of other providers who might offer the better deal. As they are not exactly “front end”-technology, building a reputation and branding will become a challenge for matching technologies like Radix.ai, TextKernel, Actonomy, TheMatchbox or skills-focussed solutions like TechWolf and Traicie. Yet they all can be used as a core feature to build an AI driven Talent Marketplace, which will be trending in 2021.
Because HR analytics will gain popularity fast by becoming a part of the overall HR Strategy, it clears the path to an own/hybrid AI driven Talent Marketplace. Solutions like Seedlink and 8Vance are already focusing on this trend with their Machine Learning.
On a global level, market leaders will feel the pain of their own complexity as more agile competitors are entering the field with a better offer that includes the AI driven Talent Marketplace. Solutions like Successfactors, Workday or Cornerstoneondemand should look out for Gloat, Fuel50 or even Microsoft with Talent365.
5. Centralizations on The HR Tech Market
The trends in acquisitions and mergers will continue to grow as market and segment leaders are becoming more aware of the innovative HR Tech Startups who are challenging their solution by offering the better standalone features.
The beauty of being in HR Tech is seeing startups challenging key players to innovate. If both play their hand right, they both come out better.
Also, some did not adopt on time to the Covid19 challenge and are in deep trouble. To get out of trouble working together or being acquired sometimes is not just about features or the better deal, it will be about the scale, gaining revenue or merely survival. Not every acquisition is a fairy tale. For all those HR Tech Startups and Scaleups who are not yet on a funding, acquisition, or merger list it is going to be a matter of being compatible to other software. Not only on an operational level, also on a strategic level they will have a better deal when working fluently with other – complementary – software. This will be a popular dynamic in the HR Tech Market of 2021, where alliances between several HR Tech Suppliers will become the answer to mergers and acquisitions.
Wrapping it up
With all the excitement on the HR Tech market because of the forced change and the increased interest, we are in for a very dynamic 2021. The evolution of Google and Microsoft establishing themselves in the HR Tech Scene, respectively in recruiting and talent management, is one to look out for.
Also, the way Market Leaders will handle innovation and inter operational ability should be very interesting to follow. Covid19 surely had an impact in the way organizations think about handling talent and performance management, but also about their HR Tech Stack. Now they have learned by experience, these learnings will be put into action in the following years. With a new kind of leadership to enable the workforce’s full potential. One that acts as an extension of the employer brand, setting the stage for the Future of Work in 2025.
Other interesting articles including forecasts and HR Trends for 2021 are:
Written by Hans Mangelschots - Business Manager and HR Tech Market Analyst at HR Tech Valley