What does 2021 hold for recruitment and HR tech?

2020 has been a game changing year for human resources (HR) professionals. Whether it’s creating remote work policies to ensure an engaged and productive workforcemanaging employee physical and mental health, developing new onboarding practices for the hybrid workplace, or adapting to the digital recruitment process, there is one undeniable truth: HR tech is more important now than ever.

From recruiting chatbots to onboarding to engagement, here are 5 HR tech trends we believe will improve the recruitment process and shape HR practices in 2021 and beyond.

1. AI-driven recruitment

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming an increasingly integral part of most HR tech, and one key way it will affect HR professionals is in the recruitment process.

AI-based algorithms can quickly process potential employee data to an unprecedented degree for faster and more accurate talent screening. AI can also be deployed in the candidate assessment process as the recruiting chatbots to measure factors such as personality, values, cultural fit, and social cues.

HR tech and analytics are already being used to increase retention rates, mitigate hiring risks, and even overcome bias in the selection process. With the added power of AI, HR professionals can gain even more valuable insights for better recruitment outcomes, and even build a more robust and forward-thinking talent pipeline.

2. Digital workforce management

HR tech in 2021 will also focus on integrated employee performance management that is more real-time, continuous, and meaningful than before. The right digital workforce management systems can help HR professionals effectively combat presenteeism – the act of employees being physically present but mentally checked out and unproductive – by measuring the right metrics.

Digital workforce management systems will also be used to develop more transparent performance appraisals. Managers and team members can set and monitor expectations via these systems for more granular check-ins when required, improving employee engagement, pre-empting burnout and proactively identifying areas for improvement.

3. Online wellness support

Employee benefits are being seriously re-evaluated in light of the pandemic. Office-specific perks such as catered meals, fancy coffee, or transport allowances seem less attractive to a remote workforce.

What employees really want in the future of work is for companies to prioritise their mental and physical well-being – this could be in the form of better work/life balance, access to telemedicine services, and online emotional or mental health support.

And a survey by Oracle found that, when it comes to their mental well-being, 82 per cent of employees actually prefer interacting with a digital platform than an actual person. This means more investment should be made in HR tech that’s centred around measuring, monitoring and managing employee health.

4. Self-service e-learning

In the future workplace, technology will empower employees to do more on their own. Current examples of self-service portals already include remote access to paychecks and payroll information, more comprehensive absence and leave management functionality, and the ability to independently adjust or swap shifts with their co-workers.

The next step in self-service portals extends to learning management systems (LMS). As industries – and their required skill sets – rapidly evolve, HR teams will need to focus on retraining and upskilling their existing workforce to ensure they have the right skills to face future challenges and thrive in the digital future.

HR tech can deliver more structured, trackable, and on-demand learning and development programs for employees to take charge of their learning journey, while building a culture of continuous learning and development in the company.

5. Virtual onboarding

With an increasingly distributed workforce, virtual onboarding will soon become the norm. Virtual onboarding systems act as an automated central nervous system that manages data flows, streamlines administrative tasks, and ensures consistency in the onboarding process.

More sophisticated tools will allow HR teams to personalise the content that each employee goes through based on their location, role, department, and other demographic data. A sales hire, for example, will go through product information, be quizzed on sales processes, be introduced to their individual reporting structure, and be connected to colleagues in the same department. If an employee has young children and is eligible for benefits, the onboarding process will inform them accordingly.

In summary, HR tech will play an important role in talent acquisition and workforce management in 2021. However, it remains imperative that HR professionals don’t lose sight of the human element. HR is still and will always be about people. When adopting technologies, do so with your people in mind – ensure you get the right buy-in, provide adequate training, and remember that employees are more than just data.

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