This is the New Frontier in Business Technology

Business before cell phones – it seems like a lifetime ago, yet cell phones are relatively new. The iPhone is turning 10 this year, and before that, the Blackberry was a business persons’ best friend (lifeline).

In the not-so-distant past, most business was done face-to-face. Then technology took over. Some say it’s for the better and others are nostalgic for the past. Wherever you fall, we can agree technology is here to stay and continues to expand into our professional and personal lives.

The goal of this article is to identify a new technology trend and how it can help you and your business.

Where is Technology Headed?

What if I told you the next great technology frontier for businesses is somewhere you might not expect? It’s actually in Human Resources (HR). Don’t believe me? Look at the stats.

Investors pumped $2 billion into HR technology last year alone (SHRM)! That is a 5x increase from 2012, and the numbers will likely rise much higher this year.

It can be odd to think of HR as having a tech boom. Most of us know HR professionals, they are the ones who are empathetic, thoughtful, disarm conflicts, and are key to a great company culture. Do you see them as leaders in technology? Probably not, yet HR professionals have been using technology far longer than most people realize, and now start-ups and established companies are catching up.

Think practically: the HR person in the corner office is the master LinkedIn stalker. They can find information on anyone. Today, HR people are getting more tech tools to make their job easier and to improve the company they work for.

What Does HR Technology Do?

You might be wondering, “What is HR technology?” That is a great question, glad you asked!

HR technology is arriving in many forms and applications. Think about the fundamental aspects of HR – their goal is to attract, develop, and retain employees, which is a central component for both large and small businesses.

The attraction phase is fairly simple to comprehend through the lens of technology. Currently, a job can be pushed through multiple online job boards and social media. That’s easy to understand, but what about when the right candidate is hired?

Do you remember your onboarding process? The paperwork was endless. Now, there are many HR technology companies that license software to make onboarding essentially paperless. Digital onboarding is making the process of getting a new hire up and running easier and easier.

Once an employee is set up, training must begin. With some companies, this is the struggle. Are they getting ample time with the one person that’s training them? Do they feel like they can ask questions, or will that take up too much time before moving on to the next new hire that needs to be trained? Training programs are vital to a company, so it’s important that the easiest and most efficient approach is used.

HR technology answers this need by improving how companies are able to train new staff. Training programs are now available remotely, meaning trainers do not have to work with new hires directly throughout the entire training process. Whether it’s three new hires or ten, HR technology enables multiple people to be trained at once. This not only means more training time as a whole, it also means that all new hires are being trained the same way, ensuring more efficiency in the workplace.

In addition, HR technology is improving how companies develop talent with real-time production tracking. This is critical with the new workforce. Young people are coming into companies quickly. Millennials (those born between 1982 and 2004) are already the majority of employees at any given company and will consist of over 50% of the workforce by 2020 (source).

One of the hallmarks of millennial workers is that they thrive on feedback. Now with HR technology, software is available at your fingertips to provide real-time feedback to employees on goal tracking, performance metrics, online assessments, and so much more. Companies that choose to use this technology will quickly realize how valuable it is not only to the company as a whole, but to each individual employee as well.

Imagine the following ideal scenario:

  • A new employee is hired.
  • Their on-boarding is seamless through an online portal, maybe even a smartphone app.
  • During their first year, they receive continual reports on their performance.
  • Continuing education is offered through an online course.
  • At the end of their first year, they have a clear path of how they can be promoted and grow within the company.

Sounds too good to be true, right? In the past, it was. However, the incredible advancements of HR technology today make it possible for this very scenario to become the new norm for your company. Employees will feel safe and valued knowing resources like these are available to them and, in turn, will be driven to keep learning and improving daily, all because of new HR technology.

Brave New World

Let’s end how we started. Do you remember business before cell phones? You might, but an entire generation does not have those memories. What’s even crazier is gen Z, those born after millennials, will be entering the workforce in 2018! That means two generations, millennials and gen Z, will be working alongside more experienced co-workers.

These young employees will have grown up with technology. The HR industry is quickly adapting and becoming a hub for major tech advancements. Best of all, many of these technologies are cost-effective and save numerous hours by streamlining paperwork.

Part of my job as President of Benefit Concepts, Inc. (BCI) is to understand and foresee new trends. I, for one, am excited about HR technology as it allows me to help more businesses. BCI was founded as an employee benefits company and has grown over the years to constantly help businesses with the essentials.

We still provide best-in-class employee benefit services and have expanded over the years to offer other critical business resources, including compliance and, you guessed it, HR technology.

Visit our website today and see how we can help your company step into the new world of HR best practices.

Kerstin Kornblum

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