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May 5, 201611:59 AMThe Bottom Line

with contributors from Associated Bank

Four essential HR technology trends for 2016 and beyond

Many employers are operating with legacy HR technology systems that have not been revised in several years. This can be a disastrous oversight in the war for talent, especially with the time- and cost-saving technologies that are readily available.

Employers can leverage emerging technologies now more than ever. Innovations in the field of HR technology are likely to increase adoption rates significantly in 2016 and beyond. Here are some essential tech trends that are currently impacting employers’ bottom lines:

1. Employee-first mentality

Many organizations are running on HR technologies implemented five to 10 years ago, with the focus on systems of record for company use. But today’s competitive labor market means that employees are the most important consumers of HR technologies, and that means employees’ needs will come first with the focus now on systems of engagement. Solutions that emphasize the needs of employees as much as the needs of the employer are already being introduced into the market.

2. There’s an app for that

The use of mobile apps grew by 115% in 2015, according to Flurry Analytics, while 37% of registered mobile users are using mobile HR applications to access their pay information. Compare this to 23% who use desktops and laptops to access their information, according to ADP Research Institute. Mobile apps are becoming the main channel for workforce management and engagement. It’s the perfect way for an employer to communicate with employees, and for employees to collaborate among themselves.

3. HR analytics

It’s important to note that HR metrics are not the same as HR analytics. HR managers typically use metrics to measure data such as turnover rates and sick days. But with the advent of HR analytics, they must interpret the data to spot trends, solve issues, and come up with new ideas. Many employers are turning to sentiment analysis to measure employee engagement. With sentiment analysis, you can measure employee engagement in real time and uncover the root causes of disengagement. The realization that HR analytics can help employers achieve strategic objectives has created a surge of interest.

4. Move beyond the user interface

HR professionals must become “experience designers” and offer employees tools that are easy to use, simple, and designed to enhance the employee experience. User experience design is equal parts art and science, and more important to your business than ever before. An outstanding user experience is the difference between an employee getting the right information they need on the first try and a frustrated call for support. From more information with fewer clicks to gamified elements that engage employees, user experience considerations are becoming an expectation of the devices and software we rely on every day to “just work.”

Every day, employees are becoming more like consumers. Just like consumers, if workers are dissatisfied with the experience offered by their employers, they will switch. A recent headline in U.S. World and News Report said “2016 Could be the Year of the Job-Hopper,” and the article discussed a new study by CareerBuilder reporting that more than 1-in-5 employees are hoping to switch jobs in 2016. So this year, retaining employees — in a large part by using the best HR technology — will be one of the main issues facing businesses.

Employers should partner with HR technology consultants as they seek to improve the efficiency and functionality of their existing technology. If legacy system and service improvement isn’t possible, conduct your due diligence with a consultant who knows the HR tech landscape and is independent. Countless HR technology vendors will be vying for your attention, so it’s critical that you find out which solutions are right for your organization, based upon your needs, goals, and vision for the future. 

Amanda L. Jueneman is lead clients systems project manager at Associated Financial Group.

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