The human resources landscape has changed dramatically in recent years, and so too have the challenges facing HR professionals for businesses across a range of sectors. As we look to manage our workforces in the wake of the pandemic and during a financially turbulent decade, it’s worth exploring how emerging technology can pave the way for a more seamless training, onboarding, and hiring and firing process.
Although digital transformation has been a cause of great upheaval for many HR professionals throughout recent years, it will also help to greatly improve many aspects of the industry, including the accuracy of hires, the effectiveness of training programs, and the ability to upskill employees for progression opportunities.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at five key emerging trends in HR and explore how technology is helping to accelerate them and better incorporate them into both in-house and remote workplaces:
1. Developing in the Age of Hybrid Learning
As hybrid working began its emergence in the Covid-19 pandemic, it was widely expected that this would be a temporary solution, and that brick-and-mortar academies would continue in its role as a learning staple for businesses.
However, technology has indicated that the future of corporate academies will be more omni-channel oriented, and learners will have the ability to engage in growing their skills regardless of whether they’re based in an office around the world, at home, in a pop-up learning environment, or at corporate headquarters.
“We are very much in an experiential mode in re-thinking the physical structure of ArcelorMittal University. We are envisioning pop-up campuses, so learning happens where employees are,” explained Vincent Maurin, e-Academy lead at steel and mining firm, Arcelor Mittal. “The concept of a pop-up campus should be flexible and ranges from using streaming technology to multiple locations, to creating a live studio experience.”
The technology that supports hybrid learning is accelerating at a rapid pace, too. Although much has been made of the metaverse and its ability to grow into a collaborative digital space, we’re more likely to see smart glasses emerge as the first evolutionary step of hybrid learning.
To undergo training programs, employees can wear glasses that can share their views and actions to display competencies in a range of situations.
2. Impactful Upskilling
Upskilling existing employees has long been a priority of human resources departments, and this was accelerated further in the wake of the Great Resignation where many high performing players were promptly promoted to managerial roles as companies attempted to retain their most talented employees.
Due to the swiftness of this promotion drive, leadership pipelines have since dwindled as fresh candidates are unable to offer sufficient managerial experience. Statistically, 55% of CEOs acknowledge that developing the next generation of leaders is a key challenge, and one that HR leaders can struggle to overcome.
This is where investment in new training programs comes in, and better processes to highlight employees that show the best potential. More comprehensive task delegation programs and workplace analytics services can help to highlight employees who are the best positioned to take on a managerial role, and intelligent training programs can work on building their specific required competencies.
3. Prioritizing Wellness
The latest Global HR Trends report suggests that employee wellness will be a key trend that’s set to continue over the coming years, and rightly so.
Throughout 2022, companies that invested in employee wellness programs experienced an average ROI of $3 for every $1 spent. However, the financial outperformance that wellness can bring should be regarded as secondary to the happy and content workforce that it forsters .
In the future, businesses will focus more on holistic wellness programs that can help employees to manage their mental and physical health. These more comprehensive schemes will involve initiatives like gym memberships, spaces for meditation, and around the clock access to mental health resources for all staff.
Once again, wearables will help to support this drive, and the use of devices to monitor physical activity, sleep patterns, blue light consumption, as well as stress levels, will be key. As such personal information can be tricky for some employees to part with, incentivized programs can be introduced for workers who can show the best improvements in meeting their personal wellness goals.
Much like in the image above, an employee’s health data can be voluntarily shared with the company in order for HR teams to better monitor their wellness, and manage any emerging issues that could impact performance or the overall health of the individual.
4. Comprehensive Benefits Structure
As financial headwinds become more stringent, businesses will need to look to more innovative ways of keeping employees happy at work. Building a platform for employees to earn discounts on goods, purchase holidays, or exclusive opportunities like event tickets can be a far more efficient way of building satisfaction levels at a relatively low cost.
With 54% of organizations currently failing to offer salary advance schemes, we may see the adoption of more flexible services when it comes to matters of pay and employee benefits.
Likewise, businesses should seek to take on financial advice services to offer employees free insights into their spending habits in a bid to help them to navigate the ongoing financial downturn.
5. Leaning on Algorithmic AI
In the coming years, HR departments will increasingly look to artificial intelligence as a means of helping to sift through big data and to gain strong insights into a wide range of processes. From hiring the most talented and capable candidates to firing the deepest underperformers, crowing the credible candidate pool, and maximizing employee engagement opportunities within the workplace,
“In our company, we’re preparing to incorporate algorithmic HR in our operations by slowly integrating AI and machine learning into our recruitment process,” said Stacie Tyler, CFO at Walk Big Media. “We’re conducting A/B testing to find the best AI tools that work best for us. We want to take ownership of this new system so that we can ensure that there is fairness and inclusion in this process.”
While the post Covid-19 era has turned the HR industry upside down, it’s also opened the door for the incorporation of new technologies in order to gain greater insights into matters of performance, upskilling, training, and hiring talent.
By embracing these technological changes, it’s far easier to embrace the age of artificial intelligence and to create processes that will help to deliver outperformance long into the future.