New technologies and changing expectations are giving HR leaders an opportunity to innovate the workplace. Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, mobile, analytics, and cloud-based systems deliver the benefit of greater insight and more efficient processes. This liberates HR professionals from time-consuming administrative tasks – freeing them up to focus on critical business challenges and the personal and professional development of the teams they support.

AI and machine learning in modern HR: Using Big Data to make informed decisions 

In the 2020’s, we are seeing significant and rapid changes to workplace structures and processes. Artificial intelligence and digital workplace solutions are helping human resources leaders understand and engage with a modern workforce.  

Intelligent HR and workflow automation

Modern HR teams are tasked with numerous complex and sensitive administrative tasks. For example, many HR teams must coordinate and monitor a company-wide employee assessment process. HR managers cite this as being one of the most time-consuming and detail-oriented tasks that they do, especially now with the trend toward providing more frequent quarterly reviews and continuous feedback. Yet much of it is simply capturing, assessing, and measuring data. It’s too complex a process for traditional software, but for HR systems using intelligent workflow automation, it is an ideal fit – right from scheduling and coordinating, to assessing various data sets, to making unbiased bonus and raise recommendations.

Screenshot of HR software

Virtual assistants, chatbots, and cobots

HR professionals spend up to 50% of their time answering the same questions and delivering procedural information. To reduce this workload, chatbots and virtual assistants use natural language processing and predictive analytics to respond to candidates and employees with highly relevant and personalized guidance and answers. This includes recommending personal and professional development options that support success and wellness – and escalating situations to an HR professional when human engagement is recommended. Cobots (collaborative robots that are empowered with AI and machine learning) take these processes one step further, by adding robotic tasks to the workflow – to support HR processes in even more relevant and responsive ways.

AI-powered HR analytics 

In the past, HR leaders often didn’t hear about employees feeling dissatisfied or unfulfilled until it was too late. Listening platforms and AI-powered analytics can capture and analyze employee feedback and behaviors, and organize multiple data sets, to give valuable workplace insights. This allows HR teams to be engaged and plugged-in on a real-time basis. Better insights inform better decisions regarding all areas of HR. Instead of finding out too late about problems or dissatisfaction, HR teams can use real-time insights, including what employees are thinking and feeling, to anticipate issues and develop meaningful solutions.

Intelligent recommendations

HR leaders need to know they are making decisions that are free from bias and informed by reliable data. Even with the best of intentions, it’s hard for humans to eliminate biased thinking from their decision-making processes. AI-powered recommendation engines leverage complex data sets to inform screening, recruiting, hiring, promotions, and more. This not only ensures compliance and a diverse workforce but leads to more consistent workforce management and better employee experiences.

Scientist using virtual reality (VR) glasses

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in HR: Training and onboarding that sticks 

AR and VR wearables deliver an immersive experience that engages the senses and emotions. HR leaders who use AR and VR to deliver training and onboarding information, find much higher retention and buy-in rates than they did with traditional methods. In a recent study by Fortune Magazine, assessors delivered training information to one set of subjects via wearable VR experiences. A week later, those subjects had retained 80% of what they had learned – compared to only 20% among the other subjects who went through a traditional training process. Powered by AI, these tools can adapt to deliver content that is customized for the user and for very specific scenarios.

Eighty percent is the VR training retention rate when using AR and VR wearables, compared to 20% just one week after traditional training.

Fortune Magazine

Mobile HR: Supporting workforce management on the go 

Mobile apps for managers and employees, provide real-time connectivity and self-service admin tools, allowing employees to collaborate with colleagues wherever they are, and manage their timekeeping and scheduling, on the go. We look at our phones an average of 50 times a day. Integrating popular recruitment apps into your company’s cloud-based HR systems means that HR leaders can reach relevant candidates quickly and easily. Timekeeping and scheduling are simplified, and remote workers can virtually meet and work together – anywhere.

Sixty-four percent of corporations surveyed in 2020 were using mobile HR solutions – compared to six years earlier when that number was just 14%.

Statista HR Tech Report 2020
Man working on a train

Cloud HR technology: Access everything, anywhere, anytime

Unlike traditional systems, a cloud-based HR system integrates and unlocks all data in one place. Real-time connectivity across all systems allows HR leaders to get in-depth views of employee performance and engagement, and to identify trends and opportunities across all HR operations. And in a post-COVID-19 world, the surge in remote working models means a need for simple and resilient solutions to connect employees with their teams, companies, and networks.

Cloud users are more likely to report gains in productivity, improved employee experience, and better workforce insights compared to those using on-premise solutions.

PwC 2020 Technology Survey

Blockchain in HR: Advanced data encryption protects your business and your employees 

A verification system that is built on a blockchain can ensure reliability and security. Candidates have control over how their data is shared and used, and employers can ensure that career profiles are accurate, verified, secure, and compliant. This results in greater confidence and reduced risks in hiring – leading to stronger, better performing teams. 

Blockchain could shake up the world of work. On one level it could revolutionize HR processes, but it could also transform workforces – the skills needed, secure value transfer, and transparency to name a few.

PwC 2020 Technology Survey

IoT in HR: IoT solutions deliver insights to help support employee wellbeing 

People looking at their mobile devices

Stress markers like heart rate and speaking volume can alert HR teams to potentially problematic situations. With early visibility into workplace issues, HR leaders can deliver informed solutions and meaningful support. Additional opportunities to improve wellness and satisfaction come from workspaces and open-plan offices that are optimized with efficient and comfortable layouts. By using biometric and sociometric sensors, managers can learn about how their people are performing and responding, based upon their locations and groupings within teams.

When corporate wellness programs encourage healthier practices using gamification techniques and incentivize wearable fitness tracker usage, [it] increases engagement, and the effects emerge immediately.

Corporate Wellness Magazine