3 Risky HR Technology Trends That Disturb People Processes

Nearly two years ago, Josh Bersin, principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, noted that HR technology trends were steering towards an “employee first” approach to new and improved products and features. He pointed out that HR technology was first created primarily to streamline administration and improve processes. But is it?

HR technology trends are steering towards an 'employee first' approach. Click To Tweet

As we approach 2018, too much of the technology available maintains an impractical focus on the HR backend, despite general agreement in the industry that HR technology trends should  rightly be shifting to be people-centric. The ongoing use of dated tools prevents organizations from implementing and executing people processes the way they need to as employee development and retention become increasingly important aspects of engagement.

From Hierarchy to Network

Another point made by Bersin more recently in his closing keynote at the 2017 HR Technology Conference and Expo is that most HR tools were originally built with hierarchy in mind; employee reports to manager who reports to director who reports to VP, and so on.

When organizations were more linear, that approach worked.

HR technology needs to support agile organizations, which often see an employee with two or even three direct managers.

But organizations aren’t so linear anymore. Agile organizations—businesses that have responded to the increase in digital technologies, recognized social and demographic changes, and redefined the structure of the organization—often see an employee with two or even three direct managers, and those managers are expected to take a more hands-on approach to things like performance management and recruitment.

The problem? Much of the HR technology available doesn’t support multiple managers. Consequently, some of the people who need to have access to certain information must obtain it through other means, which hinders employee growth and development and detracts from the overall employee experience.

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Lack of Real-Time Feedback

Another drawback caused by linear, hierarchical HR tools, is that most don’t support ongoing, real-time feedback—a feature that is at the top of the list of up-and-coming HR technology trends. If only one manager can access a direct report who has three managers, substantial performance feedback is missing.

Today's workforce wants to know how they're doing every step of the way. Click To Tweet

This is a serious issue in today’s workplace because employee engagement, which is central to an organization’s success, is more difficult to cultivate with so many employees changing jobs every two or three years. Today’s workforce wants to know how they’re doing every step of the way, and while nothing will ever replace meetings with managers, tracking and documenting employee performance in a central location that all relevant parties can access is a massive development in providing ongoing feedback.

Clumsy System Integration

Current HR technology trends are also trying to address the issue of system integration. When tech companies created HR tools, they thought of them as stand-alone products, without much foresight into the ways in which employees, managers, and executives would need to connect all the data together.

The result is that many different systems are integrated in clumsy ways that threaten data integrity and actual automation. This disturbs the people processes not least in that it generates confusion and frustration, but also in the sense that HR teams then must expend resources on troubleshooting systems and technology instead of on business strategy and employee needs.

Why HR Technology Improvements Matter

The importance of following current HR technology trends and leaving the old systems behind is evident. One Gallup poll from a couple of years ago indicated that 70 percent of employees who were happy with their managers were also happy with their performance management systems. (Only two percent of employees who were unhappy with their managers gave the performance review systems a favorable rating.)

70 percent of employees who were happy with their managers were also happy with their performance management systems.

While holistic HR tools can’t guarantee more productive interactions between managers and employees, the research suggests that they can play a significant part. That’s because these tools are no longer strictly about automation or even engagement, but about productivity.

In response to evolving HR technology trends, Reflektive has added a new feature to our performance management platform. Multiple manager support is an exciting and necessary function that supports today’s networked organizational structure. With this addition, employees will be able to receive real-time feedback from all of the people who matter, while managers will have sufficient visibility into all of the people they manage, regardless the organizational structure.

If tech companies want to keep up with the changing face of organizational structure, new and upcoming HR technology trends are the roadmap to transitioning from automation-focused, hierarchical tech tools to productivity-focused, networked tools that support the increasingly diverse organizational structures we see in the business world today.

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