HR Tech Trends

HR Tech Trends 2021

A Massive Shift In Focus: From Systems of Record to Systems of Intelligence

HR technology has been through some huge changes over the years. What was once simply referred to as the Personnel Department and was largely involved with the business of record keeping and compliance, has now evolved into a more person centred approach.

Here’s a brief history of HR tech, from the 70s to the present day.

Systems of Record – 1970s/80s

Spare a thought for the personnel departments of old, who managed all their staff management by hand, with meticulously kept paper files. The System Of Record was introduced to automate paper transactions, with HR, payroll and finance departments using huge relational databases to manage all their important information. This early system used mainframe and client/server technologies and ran on PCs and dumb terminals, making everyday HR tasks faster and more efficient than ever before.

Systems of Talent 1990s/2000s

In the nineties there was a call for HR technologies to focus more on recruitment, learning, performance and talent management; leading to the introduction of Systems of Talent. These systems were designed to automate and integrate talent practices so companies could find the best people to join their teams. The software was used by heads of talent, recruiters, line managers and learning teams. As it evolved, mobile and social were added as features and analytics became available as separate models.

Systems of Engagement 2010s- date

With the increased popularity of Cloud computing, vendors shifted their focus from employees to integration. Hundreds of vendors including WorkDay and SuccessFactors built new Cloud-based systems that brought all their talent applications together into one single suite, with an easy user interface intended to engage employees. The focus was on making systems more user friendly and easier to navigate, with embedded analytics and integrated mobile and social. The systems are used by HR, managers and employees, helping organisations to boost engagement and empower their employees.

Systems of Intelligence – 2020 and beyond

The latest trend in HR tech is Systems of Intelligence, which is focused more on employee journeys, interactions and everyday needs. This Cloud based, mobile technology is highly agile and regularly updated, and has been designed to make work easier and better to manage. Used by HR, managers, employees and contractors it’s taking HR tech in a more socially responsible direction, with in-built AI tools to identify any bias in sourcing, interviewing, hiring and promotion. A range of features, like intelligent nudges, suggestions, alerts and actions, have been included to improve the user experience and facilitate accurate reporting.

Buyers face two big challenges when moving towards Systems of Intelligence:

1) Each of these four areas still are, and will continue to be, important. It’s impossible to build a System of Intelligence for your employees if you don’t have a System of Record, which begins with accurate and clearly organized data. Architecture continues to be the key. There are so many different applications in HR that companies need sound architectures that bring all disparate systems and tools together in one place.
2) There’s an ever-expanding number of new applications on the market. There are systems that track employee emails and identify patterns of strong or weak team work. There are others that recommend the right career path for each member of staff or coach managers and employees directly through their phones. You can also buy other systems that connect your workforce as an internal talent marketplace, or help HR departments in their role as “general contractors”, seeking specialists and tools or deciding what services to buy.

No two companies have the same suite of systems, because no two companies are ever exactly the same.
The key to adopting a new System of Intelligence is to find a vendor who can work with you to create one that
really works for your organization.