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The HR Tech Landscape

Clare Elliott, 31st October 2017

As part of our series, Chloe Watts hosted a successful WBMS HR Forum to look into the impact of HR Tech. We were joined by Rachel Barnes from The Sandpit, a go-to-market business builder for tech start-ups, who opened the session by sharing her views collated from research and discussions with senior HR professionals from across sectors. She talked about a profession too busy operationally to really think innovatively and/or confused about how to engage with HR tech, particularly identifying the most effective tool or solution. She proceeded to outline a vision of evolving HR to become truly strategic, innovative and tech savvy.

A lot of ground was covered in the ensuing roundtable discussion about the role of HR Tech in a modern HR function. More and more we hear about organisations needing to treat their employees as customers, not least where those employees are literally also customers! If we think through consumer eyes, we expect to interact with businesses digitally, so why not the same internally. The added benefit of using AI-enabled tools is the quality of real-time MI giving executive teams a common language to discuss the usually hard to quantify ‘People P&L’.

In a world of increasing collaboration, HR tech can facilitate agile, mobile-networked organisations building a powerful employment as well as consumer brand. Leveraging a range of tech tools throughout the employee journey will rub off on the customer experience in a very material way. However, winning financial and emotional investment from budget holders remains difficult. Switching the language to increasing productivity, efficiency and brand goodwill will certainly help.

When it comes to investing, there is certainly a challenge to navigate around who is doing what in the HR tech world. Founders come from all walks of industry from non-HR professionals providing a fix for a problem which has irritated them but with no real insight into the whole ecosystem to HR specialists who develop a solution, but again usually for only a fragment of the whole HR service provision. The end customer wants a more holistic solution but there are very few out there.

In truth, the right HR tech response will depend on a number of internal factors but the starting point should really be ‘what role can HR play in this organisation?’ and less about an isolated fix that iterates existing, tired processes. The right solution will, of course, depend on the organisation and balancing the extent to which mundane processes can be automated; intelligent, iterative processes can be enhanced by AI techniques; and the input of EQ that comes from human interaction. This evolution will naturally impact on the nature of roles in the profession. Moving away from administrative-based repetitive tasks to those which require more professional insight, commercial acumen and leadership engagement.  It’s an exciting journey ahead.

If anyone would like to discuss more specifics around ideas, ventures and products in the HR Tech arena, please do reach out to Rachel.

For any interest in how WBMS can help with your HR and business requirements please contact Chloe.


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