2021 HR Technology Trends From #HRAnalystDay

In October, Ben Eubanks and I teamed up for the first ever HR Analyst Day. We spent three days demoing and talking with a variety of HR Technology Products. This virtual event was our first and provided both Ben and I a way to engage and interface with the HR technology community online. In past years, we’ve met with companies in person during conferences and events for briefings and live demonstrations. Obviously, 2020 is not the norm, however, I did enjoy the broad scope of who HR Analyst Day connected us with providing us opportunities to learn about technology trends, changes, and product road maps.


5 Powerful Trends In Human Resources Technology 


The 20+ technologies we connected are only a small sliver of the much larger and broader HR and workplace technology ecosystem. As a reminder, companies applied by visiting www.HRanalystday.com, and we selected a handful of companies both Ben and I wanted to learn more about. Business continues to move forward although much differently during the pandemic. Many pundits including myself believed that VC and angel investor activity would dry up. While it’s still early, the numbers tell a different story. This year’s investments for HR technology in Q1 and Q2 are nearly $465 million. Certainly, shifts are happening in the way in which HR technology will be selected and implemented as for most of us the way we engage and communicate with our workforces has fundamentally changed.


#1 – Engagement and Employee Sentiment Matters Because It’s Harder to Measure Online


One of the trends I wasn’t surprised about and wanted to mention was how many HR and business leaders are making technology buying and implementation decisions that are focused on employee engagement and surveys. Working remotely and online makes in person conversations non-existent. We can’t read body language in meetings the same way or swing by the office to ask a question. Understanding employee engagement and employee pulse checks matters more in the digital world because it is harder to connect human to human. However, the data and information these digital engagement platforms with companies like Engagedly, Waggl, and Peakon. Each of these companies approach to engagement is unique just as the markets they serve and how employees are encouraged to engage within and share their feelings, opinions, and experiences.


#2 – Resources and Communication Are Where It’s At 


Because we are all remote and will be for the foreseeable future with many CHROs I’ve spoken with telling me they are not considering bringing employees to the office until September at the earliest. Outside of the vaccine, the real tell will be how public schools approach the 2021-2022 school year. Employee communication and access to resources is a challenge to access within our multitude of systems not to mention how confusing and complex company intranet portals are for employees. Chat bot technologies and platforms like Socrates.ai and Pritella by Harbinger Systems offer solutions for employers to create quick ways for employees to ask questions while offering employers a way to measure the volume, topic, and frequency of employee questions.

The employee experience is really what matters here which is why I’m happy to see all the various approaches to providing employees with access, information, resources, and support including HR technologies like Schedule Pop and SchooXThings like employee scheduling and access to training, learning, and support are essential to understanding expectations and driving employee productivity and performance no matter what the season.


#3 – Pandemics Don’t Stop the Demand for Quality Talent 


Some industries are pandemic proof or are ripe for this kind of season, but whatever the reason a large number of employers are hiring and given these uncertain times the quality of hire matters making talent acquisition technologies even more important than ever before. This uncertain season has made the focus on streamlining systems and focusing on effective methods and processes more important to find candidates who are exactly what you are looking for whether it’s robust applicant tracking system and recruiting offerings like Smartrecruiters, assessments like Vervoe, or recruiting platforms. Whether it is knowledge workers or hourly staff technologies like Talroo and Yello among others offer solutions to target specific employees in experience, industry, and education.


#4 – Systems and Process Are More Important When We’re Remote


Teams are smaller right now which offers up a real opportunity for HR and workplace leaders to add automation, systems, and processes into their everyday life. This includes HR technology systems including HR suite systems like Paylocity come into play. Companies now more than ever need to digitize their documentation and paperwork which is where companies like Global Upside and Aconso are fantastic options for employers to consider. Systems also include setting expectations, objectives, and performance management which is where players like betterworks are options for companies of all sizes.


#5 – Expertise Is Essential to Pivoting, Flexing, and Growing Your Business 


Human capital is more than a new line item on quarterly earnings statements as required by the SEC next year. Employers now and moving forward look to taking advantage of their current emplooyee populations to train, develop, and learn from employees within their organizations. Knowledge transfer and diversifying your skill sets are important in any economy but especially one as unpredictable as this one is which is why I’m excited about HR technologies like Starmind and SprinkleZone by Harbinger Systems that focus on different areas of learning, development and mentorship.

What does 2021 look for HR and workplace leaders? Business leaders are planning for multiple situations and scenarios while also identifying priorities that align with the larger business needs. I believe 2021 will be a year of processes, streamlining, and systems across all areas of HR. No matter the season or the economic highs and lows having processes and systems never go out of style.

If you are interested in learning more about HR Analyst Day, you can visit www.HRanalystday.com. In 2021, we are planning two different spring and fall events to connect with and catch up with even more HR technology providers.



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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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