Oct 08 2020

Best Articles and Resources on HRTech: September 2020

“Best Articles and Resources on HRTech: September 2020”

by  Swechha Mohapatra, Senior Consultant – Digital HR, hrtech.sg

I. RESEARCH : Five Years Of HR Technology Trends And How They Might Change This Year

By Stacey Harris (Chief Research Officer & Managing Partner, Sapient Insights Group)

Ahead of the launch of the 23rd Annual HR Systems survey Whitepaper, some key trends from the last five years(2015 to 2019) and how they might change in 2020. Stacey Harris shares her insights and a sneak peek into this year’s survey findings which will cover more than 1,900 individual organizations and include data and insights on the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on technology; it will also include expansions in Learning, HR Service Delivery, and Recruiting.

1. HR Applications : Number of HR applications /employee in organisations has seen a steady increase between 2015 and 2019 . This year the number is expected to continue to rise as organizations expand the universe of HR Technology applications to include wellness and safety applications, communication platforms, and productivity tools which have become the mandatory in the current environment.

Source: Annual HR Systems survey Whitepaper, Sapient Insights Group

2. Social Applications : After a peak in 2017, the number of Social Applications used strategically for HR, has seen a downward trend attributing to HR teams identifying the few meeting their communication, recruiting, or branding needs. With the need changing needs and remote working policies, this area will be an interesting trend to watch for.

3. Mobile Technology : Even before being remote was the basic need, Mobile enabled HR tech adoption (with time and attendance , followed by HRMS being the top applications) has been at all-time high and is set to increase even further.

4. Enterprise HR : HR Technology spending trends over the last five years reveal how spending for HR technologies increased, decreased, or stayed the same. A critical topic heading into 2021 due to the global economic downturn and impact of COVID-19 on many organizational plans, the trends might change for both increasing and decreasing HR Technology spending in 2021.

Source: Annual HR Systems survey Whitepaper, Sapient Insights Group 

5. Total Spending per Employee : As organizations increased their cloud adoption rates added more applications in their HRTech budget, the overall annual price per employee began to rise before stablising in the last three years.

Read more on the HR Tech trends and changes we can expect here.

II. CASE STUDY: How IBM is Reinventing HR with AI and People Analytics (Interview with Diane Gherson)

By David Green, myHRFuture

David Green invited Diane Gherson, Chief Human Resources Officer at IBM to his Digital HR Leaders Podcast. During their discussion they discussed a gamut of topics including what is it being a CHRO, especially during the COVID time, how IBM upskills their employees

Diane expresses that skills is central to IBM and they have invested in building a platform Your Learning which provides both internal and external trainings ranging from YouTube videos, Stanford and MIT Courses, or an internal course. The “Your Learning” platform at IBM offers personalized recommendations, much like Netflix, based on previously watched courses/videos and career aspirations. The platform also offers badges, promoting gamification, that have been connected to careers portal. This helps surface jobs that are relevant to an employee’s skills, thereby, promoting internal talent.   

David and Diane also discuss how listening and empathy have been the most important part of HR’s role during COVID time and the role of office in building community and culture. They also discuss role of AI in HR, how IBM was able to improve user experience by using a HR chatbot, and how IBM was able to conduct a jam and gather qualitative and quantitative feedback in an hour. 

For more read, click here.

III. CASE STUDY :  Nokia’s strong Power BI foundation enabled quick solutions for critical HR insights when COVID-19 surfaced

Being in the networking industry, Nokia is naturally a data-driven company. However, introducing data analytics into the human resources (HR) department was a new challenge. The company has undergone an extended, four-phase journey to consolidate and visualize its data. Owing to the strong foundation the HR department has built over the past few years, Microsoft Power BI has played a key role in helping Nokia to effectively utilize its data during the era of COVID-19.

1. Discovering the possibilities with data : The first step in Nokia’s data journey started in 2016 when the company acquired Alcatel-Lucent, leaving HR with employee data of 50,000 employees requiring them embark on a massive integration effort. Nokia moved to using Power BI tool for HR data visualisation. 

2. Expanding analytical capabilities to increase data-driven decisions : In 2018, the HR team brought in expertise in Power BI and data science, and started using Excel files to develop and launch dynamic dashboards showcasing HR metrics. 

3. Taking advantage of Power BI during COVID-19 : When the COVID-19 pandemic came into full swing, Nokia’s Leadership Team needed to have a clear view into the state and safety of their employees. The Workforce Analytics Team partnered with Nokia’s Health and Safety team, Travel team, Personal Services team, and the Employee Survey team, to get a comprehensive set of data needed to understand the COVID-19 impact on their employees. The reports created gave the HR team critical and up-to-date insights into the company’s current and quickly changing needs. 

4. Creating an even more unified HR platform : Beyond the support that Nokia is providing for its employees during COVID-19, the company is also working to develop more advanced analytics and utilizing data automation via the automation platform. The main priority is to create a unified platform for HR analytics. 

Read the detailed case study here

IV. CASE STUDY : How VR Training Can Help Turn Employees Into Leaders

Virtual Reality (VR) has found various uses in HR, as organisations in retail, hospitality, sales training , and other sectors are increasingly finding that applying virtual reality tools for training helps employees strengthen “soft skills” (by managing colleagues’ performances and customer experiences) ; boost employees’ well-being (through immersive VR exercises in various workplace scenarios); train employees more efficiently and effectively(vs. classroom or e-learning methods) ; And in today’s predominantly remote-work environments its immersive nature can offset employees’ challenges of collaborating without meeting face-to-face with customers, coworkers, partners, or clients.

Some use cases of VR implementation in leading organisations include:

  • Uncovering Issues Early : Nestlé Purina PetCare uses VR to train employees on products and services(through 360 degree tour for employees) to help them envision and share in a safer, cost-effective, and focused manner. 
  • A Tool for Building Empathy and elevating learning : Hilton uses VR to vividly re–create the customer experience, building its team members’ empathy for their guests. With VR , the hotel chain has reduced in-class training time to 20 minutes from 4 hours and seen 87% of team members change their behavior after undergoing VR training. 
  • Cost-Effective Adoption : In a recent PwC study, employees who had taken VR training said they felt 40% more confident to act on their training than classroom learners and 35% more confident than e-learners. At Purina PetCare, shifting 10 employees a month to VR training saved $100,000 annually on travel and lost productivity. 

Read detailed case study here

V. CASE STUDY: How AI Platforms Are Improving Talent Management In 2020

By Louis Columbus, Forbes 

Dexcom and Micron have standardized on the Eightfold Talent Intelligence Platform that covers hiring, internal mobility, diversity and soon, contingent workforces. They are getting measurable results from their AI platforms by closing the gap in recruiting first. There are five key areas where an integrated AI platform for talent management pay off the fastest when it comes to streamlining recruiting. These five areas include time-to-hire, time-to-interview, cost-per-hire and candidate quality. They are also seeing improvements in recruiter efficiency and automation, sourcing efficiency and automation, including finding candidates with the most potential for a given position. 

Dexcom's HR and talent management leaders anticipated that by consolidating all talent management applications and workflows on a single AI platform, they would streamline recruiting by finding candidates with the highest potential to excel in each open position. They shared the story of how an applicant remarked on how the career site's matching technology helped them identify many positions they were qualified for in seconds and didn't force them to fill out work experience entries for each.

Micron, on the other hand, suggested that using an AI-based platform provides "a better perspective on not only the applicants that have come in, so it's fully integrated with our applicant tracking system, but also to reevaluate some of the prospects, people that haven't applied, but we can still calibrate them and we can still look at the skills and the qualifications mapping and put those then in front of hiring managers."

However, both platforms have invested in continuous improvement of their training algorithms, reducing bias at data modelling level and providing transparency. It is fascinating to see how AI platforms help to break the biases that hold companies back from attracting talented employees while enabling prospects to find the position they are best suited for. Read more here

VI. BLOG : A Transformation Of The Learning Function: Why It Should Learn New Ways

By Nicolai Chen Nielsen, Faridun Dotiwala, and Matthew Murray, McKinsey

Organizations today are intensely cognizant of the significance of learning in the volatile business environment. They are also aware that technology is changing the nature of work and the roles within it and the ability of the workforce to learn new skills, model new behaviors, and adapt continuously is key to sustained success.

Organizations and functions that have undergone agile transformations have been shown to outperform in fast-changing operating environments, delivering higher customer and employee satisfaction, lower costs, and quicker times to market. Such a transformation entails adopting an operating model whereby every element of an organization or function—its strategy, structure, people, processes, and technology—becomes more dynamic, with support from a stable backbone that ensures efficiency and consistency where needed. The article from McKinsey shows how organizations can build both stability and dynamism into each of these elements of an L&D function. 

The transformation of an L&D function, which could take from 12-24 months depending upon the starting point, complexity ,desired speed etc , requires basic groundwork of setting the learning vision, assessment of current L&D capabilities and designing the operating model to align with the business objective to charter ahead. Read the full article here.

VII. BLOG: Here’s Why HR Is Critical For Digital Transformation Success

By Willem Sundblad, Forbes

As digital transformation initiatives accelerate, the Forbes article by Willem Sundblad presents a strong case for HR playing a critical role in the digital transformation success.

  • Digital Transformations Are About People and although digital transformation is heavily technology centered, it’s a mistake to only focus on roles and departments that are tech-intensive. Digital transformations are just as much about the people as they are about the technology. 
  • HR Can Provide Valuable Perspectives when building your digital transformation leadership team, HR and people operations should be considered as a crucial voice. These teams will help ensure your workforce is receiving the right training, and their professional development is aligned with the changes that are occurring throughout your organization.
  • Digital transformations are just as much a cultural shift as technological, which means preparing your workforce and leaders who understand culture - help pave the way for new ideas and ways of doing things, and set expectations for how workers’ lives and jobs will change.
  • Significance Of Change Management In Digital Transformation. The process of change management involves continuous improvement and a cultural shift contributing to successful transformations.
  • Building Alignment Around Digital Transformation to ensure that employees understand and support digital transformation efforts for them to perform to expectations and bring value.

Read the detailed article here.

VIII. BLOG: Blockchain in HR: Challenges, Applications and the Future of Work

Neelie Verlinden, AIHR Digital

Developments in blockchain technology can be of great use to HR in helping to get their organization ready for a changing workforce. As with any new technology, however, the starting point should always be: what problem are we trying to solve here? There are several blockchain solutions trying to solve different HR problems like qualification verification, work matching, paying employees, and information assimilation across the web. These solutions can be implemented in waves based on their impact and area of need.

For example, Etch helps reduce the time taken between working and getting paid to zero; R_Block decentralizes identity-proof hiring network ensuring authorized recruiters have latest CV copies, and TiiQu helps create digital passport as proof of individual’s professional trustworthiness, identity and qualification. There are other blockchain platforms for HR as well. It is important to assess the immediate need and select platform(s) that meet the need of the hour and help improve the maturity of the organization’s processes.

Read here

IX. 11 Critical Elements In Diagnosing Large Employee Turnover Numbers

Forbes Human Resource Council

It is no secret that employee turnover numbers are a watermark for how engaged employees are and how much they believe in the business they work for. High turnover is a sign of an unsatisfied workforce. A company with large turnover is likely to be affected by an ongoing issue that is negatively impacting hires.

There are several unique elements affecting employee turnover numbers across an institution. Some of them are,

  • Invaluable insights from the data collected through surveys about the company experience 
  • Managers data from employee survey responses correlated with attrition and exit surveys. Employees with a negative perception of their manager leave the company at a rate of 56% more than is usual
  • Employees self-evaluation, how each employee looks within to solve the problems before they become serious
  • Insights from Stay and Exit Interviews are best indicators of what current employees are feeling so there’s an opportunity to address the issues before they leave
  • Focus on Why Good employees stay to replicate good factors that motivate employees to stay to increase retention.
  • Employee Networks’ Inclusiveness through Organization Network Analysis it is easier to identify micro issues in engagement and remedy quickly
  • The Root of Disengagement. Employee satisfaction surveys, retention interviews, one-on-ones and even an anonymous suggestion box can all be used to determine the root of disengagement
  • Observing the patterns for departments/managers/feedbacks is key to identify issues early to mitigate any issues at grassroot, group or leadership level.
  • Performance, Recruiting Mistakes.
  • Employee Net Promoter Score. By reviewing eNPS score, HR leaders can get a handle on turnover before it happens and be in front of bubbling issues before they turn into an insurmountable problem
  • Side-by-side review of Retention Rate and Turnover rates can indicate if the issues are specific to a role or a department.

Read the full blog here.

 X. BLOG : 5 Ways ONA Creates Value in Mergers and Acquisitions

By Francisco Marin, Co-Founder & CEO at Cognitive Talent Solutions

As M&A activity resumes after a quiet period due to the pandemic delivering integration results as early and as quickly as possible has become vital to making an integration work in the current environment. Due to the high level of uncertainty, any delays are likely to increase integration costs and impact the timeline. In this context, companies implementing mergers and acquisitions are leveraging the capabilities of organizational network analysis (ONA) to accelerate and inform decision-making, reduce uncertainty and maximize the success of their deals.

The article explores 5 ways ONA creates value in mergers and acquisitions:

1) Enhancing due diligence during the pre-deal stage : With travel restrictions and other policies in place during the pandemic due diligence process has become especially challenging. ONA allows the acquiring company to understand the internal collaboration patterns of the target company, including the identification of organizational silos and bottlenecks. This is achieved by leveraging AI-powered algorithms for automated community detection and delivery of benchmarking insights on the company's organizational health.

2) Reducing top talent attrition : Due to high level of uncertainty during mergers, the risk of top talent leaving the merged entity is also higher. In this context, companies can leverage ONA to identify who are the informal leaders in the organization and prioritize their retention as they are in a position influence others. Loosing this talent will result in a significant loss of value, and negative impact on the morale, productivity, and overall engagement of the remaining employees, thus jeopardizing the success of the deal.

Identification of informal leaders. Source: Cognitive Talent Solutions

 3) Preventing cultural clashes : Cultural factors and organizational alignment are critical to success in mergers and acquisitions. Informal leaders identified through ONA can be positioned as cultural ambassadors to mitigate or prevent cultural clashes. When leveraged as early adopters, informal leaders can accelerate strategic change adoption in a significant manner.

4) Accelerating realization of IT synergies : By appointing informal leaders identified through ONA as subject matter experts and process owners of the new centralized systems, companies can significantly accelerate their adoption and mitigate these risks in a proactive manner.

5) Monitoring integration effectiveness : Finally, ONA enables companies to assess integration effectiveness at the organizational and team level after the post-merger integration has been completed. Companies can monitor whether employees are creating new connections, or they are sticking to their previous connections from the legacy organizations, and correlate this with performance metrics.

Monitoring collaboration between legacy organizations. Source: Cognitive Talent Solutions 

For a detailed read, click here.

XI. BLOG : Driving Business Performance with Relational Analytics

By Yusuf Raza, Co Founder at Panalyt

The article shines light on the potential benefits of relational analytics when combined with traditional sources of people and business productivity data, and can nudge you to get started with integrating these insights into how you think about your workforce. It is becoming increasingly clear to us that integrating relational network data with traditional sources of HR, productivity and commercial data, or people-enhanced data, is the missing link to solving a universally accepted problem preventing companies from bridging the people data gap.

The article details few use cases of Relational Analytics, including:

1.     Driving Customer-Centric Agile Transformations : As organisations focus on the customer experience as a key differentiator, Relational Analytics provides a unique lens on how companies can keep a customer-centric approach throughout the technology lifecycle. 

Source: Panalyt 

2.     Driving Sales and Operational Efficiency : Using Relational Analytics helps you close more deals by uncovering hidden relationship patterns in your sales team’s customer and intra-company networks enabling you to identify points of intervention and coaching.

3.     Accelerating Change Initiatives by identifying organizational influencers for successful change management companies leverage influencers/ micro-influencers to accelerate go-to-markets, drive revenues & brand recognition, companies can leverage relational analytics to identify which individuals can be leveraged as change agents to influence/nudge their peers to drive the adoption of the desired change in a hyper-targeted manner, rather than the conventional top-down approach .

Source: Panalyt

4. Accelerating Post-Merger Integration by foreseeing inefficiencies in the value capture, operating model implementation and change management processes required to ensure a successful post-merger integration

Read the full blog here

XII. Building a Stronger HR Industry to Drive Workforce Transformation

By Senior Minister of State, Zaqy Mohammad, HR Tech Festival HRM Asia

Covid-19 has caused significant disruption to businesses and accelerated the need for companies to transform their workplaces and workforce to be more resilient and agile in the face of future disruptions.

At the recently held HR Tech Festival Asia 2020, Senior Minister of State Zaqy Mohamad, shared the need for the HR community to be ready to meet new and changing expectations from business leaders and workers. He emphasized the importance of building a strong HR industry as HR professionals play a strategic role in helping drive business and workforce transformation.

Minister Zaqy gave examples of Singapore enterprises who have implemented HR initiatives to help employee mental wellbeing and dashboard to track employee sentiment (MatchMove Pay- FinTech startup), enhanced appraisal and promotion policies and org wide balanced score card( JUMBO Group- F&B) and implemented HR system and e-learning platforms to enhance digital competencies including their older workforce(Scanteak- Furniture retailer).

He also highlighted that HR Technology adoption as a key focus for HR capability building as shown in the recent study by Willis Towers Watson (for MOM and IHRP). The Willis Towers Watson’s study noted that almost 90% of HR job roles today will be impacted by technology. The increased availability of technology-enabled solutions and data analytics will elevate the value-add of many HR functions, creating new opportunities.

Showcasing the peer led IHRP Communities of Practice (CoPs) as an example, he highlighted the efforts of the CoP’s who share resources and best practices within the community. For example, the toolkits developed by the Covid-19 CoP and the curation of learning resources, series of webinars & learning events organized by the ongoing IHRP HR Tech CoP, to help the community better understand how technology and automation can enhance HR.

Find out more about the HRTAP recommendations and initiatives at mom.gov.sg/hrtap. You can find the Minister’s speech transcript here


Swechha Mohapatra (IHRP-CP, Associate CIPD) is a Senior Consultant – Digital HR at hrtech.sg and has over 7 years of global experience in various Talent functions. She is a passionate HRTech evangelist, a member of the member of the IHRP HRTech CoP Taskforce and an avid learner who is certified Six Sigma-Green Belt with a background of MBA (Specialization in HR and IT) and Master’s in Labor Laws and Labor Welfare. .


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