5 tech trends to watch in 2021

It’s no secret that technology has marched forward in leaps and bounds this year, with COVID-19 driving new user adoption and supplier advancements. HR software is no exception. If the alliance between tech and HR was uneasy in the past, HR is in no doubt now that it needs this tech to keep up with the demands of today’s workplace. And HR SaaS’ flexibility allows HR tech to reach a wide audience, at costs that are competitive.

Technology devices on table meeting

The tech trends that HR will want to embrace in 2021 centre around efficiency, engagement and insight.

1. Digitising the employee experience

Focusing on employee experience and its key influencers isn’t new. From onboardingperformance management and reward, through to career planning, diversity and inclusion, these issues and their effects on employees are long-standing concerns for HR professionals.

What is new is how much we’re now relying on HR software to look after these processes in organisations. With many more people working from home, a digital employee experience is becoming the norm.

Next year, HR systems with their onboarding and check-in modules will rise in popularity as they make it even easier for employers to engage with their employees – starting before the candidate even commences in role. And, line managers will be better able to champion diversity and inclusion policies, capitalising on the great work HR has been done in this area in 2020, because HR tech will make those guidelines more readily available.

2. Using tech to facilitate engagement and communication

Making the leap from one-to-one to one-to-many engagement is not a challenge unique to HR. Many disciplines face this conundrum; but it’s a particular concern for HR who don’t want to lose the ‘human’ element from their work. The flip side to this is that there are some insights that people will never share in a face-to-face conversation, insights that are invaluable to HR in crafting engagement strategies.

This is where HR software stepped into its own in 2020, helping businesses reach the whole workforce regardless of whether people were on site or not. In 2021, businesses will continue to use HR tech to check in with their people.

Pulse surveys will be popular, with HR and businesses regularly measuring employee sentiment – especially as government guidance about work goes through multiple updates. Tech that makes this process easy, quick and deliverable to a wide (and potentially international) survey-base will be in high demand. These insights allow organisations to better engage with their people and to understand how they are coping with the demands and stresses of the pandemic.

3. HR processes driven by the rise and rise of automation

Automating HR processes is how tech frees up HR from endless admin and paper-chasing to become more strategic. And the paperwork that HR has to deal with has only increased in 2020.

HR’s strength lies in their expertise in process, workflow and best practice. Unfortunately, this expertise is often unrealised due to lack of implementation – the processes might be there, but HR struggle to get employees to follow them.

Given it’s more important than ever for employees to be following HR processes, to keep themselves and their colleagues safe, the automation capabilities in HR systems will advance in 2021. Better, easier to configure workflow functionality and notification systems will be invaluable in increasingly demanding workplaces. Compliance will also reap the benefits of these advances, delivering important information and recording understanding as needed.

4. Making HR analytics accessible

HR has often been accused of falling short when it comes to analytics. Cracking the nut that is business analytics is not easy, and jumping to the conclusion that the fault lies at HR’s feet is hasty. For any discipline to get the most out of its data, to truly analyse it and produce insights, that data needs to be of sound quality and of a reasonable quantity to start with – and the analytics tools have to be available and up to the job.

In 2021, we’re likely to see natural language queries promoted as a solution to the HR analytics quandary. Bridging the gap between data and its interpretation, natural language queries might just be the silver bullet that HR needs. HR tech will be able to step up and provide HR strategists with the technological help they’ve been needing – and earn HR the trust that it rightly deserves.

5. SaaS leading the way in ongoing innovation

Experienced HR professionals may have unpleasant memories of old-fashioned tech that required multiple on-site servers and lengthy service contracts. The investment required to bring a system like this on board meant that expectations were extremely high. If these systems failed to deliver, the wider trust of the business in HR tech – and in HR – could be hard to win back.

HR software has changed a lot since its inception, and more and more providers are embracing agile multi-tenanted Cloud technology. Legacy HR tech was holding its own in the market because it was able to offer a wider range of HR functionality, having built them up over time. As 2021 progresses, we’ll see modern HR Cloud SaaS systems continue to overtake and surpass their traditional counterparts. Multi-tenanted Cloud systems like Cezanne HR are quicker to develop, more cost-efficient, and able to be deployed on a global scale much more easily than their older counterparts. These user- and business-friendly systems will win more support from the HR world as its reliance on tech increases.

Do you know what your software provider is working on to improve their service offering in the new year? During 2021, Cezanne HR’s customers will benefit from enhanced analytics capabilities and a new SaaS payroll service, alongside other system developments. As Cezanne HR is a SaaS provider, all new features are rolled out as they are built, ensuring our customers are at the forefront of the modern HR tech market.

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