Jan 11 2021

Best HR Tech Articles and Resources - December 2020

““Best Articles and Resources on HRTech: December 2020””

by  Swechha Mohapatra, Principal Consultant - Digital HR, hrtech.sg



With COVID-19 impacting business operations and profitability, more organizations are beginning to adopt technology to reinvent and redesign jobs & tasks. The accelerating adoption of technology, Singapore’s unique Economic landscape driven by the Singapore Government underpinned by strong tripartism driving Digitalization, Productivity, Internationalisation, & Innovation as well as the Demographic shifts have workforce implications for businesses. These factors continue to present an opportunity for the HR function to redefine how it works to best address the evolving needs of the organization and workforce. A recent study by Willis Towers Watson, which was jointly commissioned by IHRP and MOM, on the impact of technology on human resources job roles and skills in three to five years’ time revealed that 90% of HR jobs will be impacted by technology.

The study analyzed 27 HR roles to understand the effect of technology on those roles, using three criteria: 1) extent of automation, 2) impact of technology on job scope, and 3) the impact of technology on skills. The findings of the study highlight the balancing Act for HR teams where on one side, HR will need to redesign jobs; upskill & cross skill talent, and leverage technology to deliver a more personalized employee experience. On the other hand, HR teams also must elevate their capabilities; upskill themselves to a data-driven decision-making approach, and continuously value-add to businesses.

The study highlighted five key themes that will transform the way HR will work in the future:

The study also shares Case studies from Singapore enterprises who have embarked upon HR transformation through the implementation of HR technology such as CapitaLand, Singtel, DBS Bank have adopted RPA and Chatbots as part of automating their internal and external facing HR tasks; DBS Bank is predicting flight risks reduced the attrition rate in Singapore by approximately 10% amongst others.

Access the study here.



In collaboration with the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities(LKYCIC), Singapore University of Technology and Design(SUTD), the Infocomm Media Development Authority(IMDA), and the PDPC released Singapore’s first guide to helps companies manage AI’s impact on employees and prepare for the future of work. A Guide to Job Redesign in the Age of AI adopts an industry agnostic and human-centric approach to show how existing job roles can be redesigned to harness the potential of AI, so that the value of employees’ work can be increased. Developed under the guidance of the Advisory Council of the Ethical Use of AI and Data, this Guide contains practical illustrations on how companies have addressed challenges and empowered their employees through job redesign and training.

The 84-page study will help guide organisations on transforming jobs by breaking them down into tasks, assess the potential impact of AI in these tasks and where AI should be implemented, involve managers and employees on which valuable tasks, steps organisations should take for communicating during “why”, “what” and “how” of transformation.

The study was conducted in collaboration with organisations in various sectors including advanced manufacturing, advertising, private banking and insurance on the occupations and job roles. The study also includes live case studies from Dairy Farm, Google, Grab & Microsoft, Norton Rose Fulbright, and Healthcare who have successfully surpassed the barriers of digital transformation.

Access the study here and the summary primer to the guide here.



In an era of technological change, demographic shifts, and economic uncertainty, companies are realizing the importance of building a flexible work model to develop a dynamic workforce that improves their competitive strategy. The on-demand workforce or the Gig economy is becoming popular as Organisations are embracing more flexible, blended workforce models, where they can tap the pool of specialized talent based on business needs. The abundance of digital technology platforms in the last five years has let companies to experiment with hiring freelancers or gig workers to create a new on-demand workforce model.

Covid-19 has only accelerated the move away from traditional, pre-digital-era talent models toward on-demand workforce models. To understand the transformational potential of the on-demand workforce on the future of organizations—and how they will work—Harvard Business School’s Project on Managing the Future of Work and Boston Consulting Group surveyed nearly 700 senior business leaders at U.S. firms.

The goal of the survey and the interviews was to better understand the pervasiveness of and practices around the use of new talent platforms and some salient findings of the study included:

  • The rapid growth of digital talent platforms from 80(in 2009) to more than 330.
  • Around two-thirds of business leaders reported using new talent platforms extensively (high usage 30% OR medium usage 30%)
  • Nearly 50% of respondents expected their use of new digital platforms to increase significantly in the future.
  • Almost 90% of business leaders reported talent platforms would be somewhat or very important to their organization’s future competitive advantage.
  • A full 40% of users reported that accessing highly skilled workers through new digital talent platforms helped improve speed to market, boost productivity, and increase innovation.
  • Similarly, 60% expected they would increasingly prefer to “rent,” “borrow,” or “share” talent with other companies.

Access the full report here.

V. MARKET REPORT: People Analytics Tool 2020


2020 has been a pivotal year for HR, with the pandemic and social justice movements, necessitating the need for Data-driven HR decisions to help business leaders understand the impact on their people on a much deeper level. Organizations and HR teams who had invested in regular employee listening strategies democratized data analytics products for broader organizations, and created a flexible and integrated tech stack were able to support their business leaders with information to deliver people insights at scale.

For PA leaders looking to invest in technology in 2021, the PAT research study by Redthread research focuses on 3 areas of market changes, vendor capabilities, and the considerations for making(or expanding) PAT investments.

People Analytics Tech Market Solution Matrix | Source: RedThread Research, 2020.

 The key findings of People Analytics Tool study 2020 included that majority of the people analytics tech solutions available in the market reported employee engagement, experience, D&I as their primary focus to address the customer needs in 2020; With over 121 PA technology solutions - the PA technology market, estimated at $2 billion, grew by over 35% between 2019 and 2020 alone; People analytics practitioners and HR teams are the key users today and a majority of vendors anticipate that HRBPs and people managers will be using their solutions more frequently in the next 3 years; and PA solutions capabilities include new-age tech use of advanced NLP, deep machine learning, and the use of new, unstructured data. Access the full study and tool here.

V. MARKET REPORT: HR Technology 2021


HR Technology makes up one of the most important markets in the world. The much-awaited "The Bible" on HR Tech covers 150+ pages of annual HR tech trends by Josh Bersin, one of the world's leading HR Tech Analysts. The comprehensive report describes the HR Tech market, its segments, and lists all the vendors and their strengths and weaknesses. It also gives an in-depth analysis of selection and implementation best-practices, and dozens of examples, covering major M&A deals in 2020, and an in-depth explanation of the new markets in HR Tech, including core HCM, recruitment, talent marketplace, learning and career management, skills taxonomy, engagement, and employee listening, wellbeing, performance and team management, and the new breed of tools for employee experience. 

The report includes dozens of case studies, examples, and best-practices for buyers, as well as Bersin's detailed assessment of leaders in each market segment with a focus on the big players (Workday, Oracle, SAP, ServiceNow) and the enormous role that Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others are playing. The report shares the “HR Tech Architecture for 2021” and is a must-read for Buyers, consultants, vendors, and investors who will all find this report the most authoritative study of the market.

You can access the Table of contents here and download the kindle edition here.

VI. SURVEY/ RESEARCH: What AI and Intelligent Tool Projects are being Abandoned?


Over the course of a 90-day period, HRExaminer collected survey responses from 542 individuals using a 28-question instrument to investigate three primary areas:

  • Which intelligent tools and technologies are being used and evaluated?
  • How new technology is acquired and evaluated in HR Departments.
  • The degree to which survey participants see new technology replacing existing workers

The chart shown above summarizes the study of AI and intelligent tools in HR. It shows the number of projects that were ‘tried and quit’ versus the number of projects currently in operation. The most important thing about the chart is that it shows that failure, actual failure, is a part of learning to use intelligent tools. The more sophisticated and intelligent the tool gets, the higher the likelihood for failure in implementation.

While anecdotal evidence is that things are getting better, failure is part of the transition to any new tool and failure produces learning for both the vendor and the practitioner. As the vendor accumulates experience, it learns how to solve problems with more grace and effectiveness. The practitioner learns to profit from mistakes and gains insight into reducing programmatic risk. Besides this, the survey also points out several key things. Depending on the technology, between 30% and 70% of the potential market either doesn’t see the value in the tool or don’t even know what it is.

Intelligent tools require new and different kinds of management including data governance. Most HR Departments are unprepared. The speed of market adoption and product refinement is astonishing. Most HR Tech markets grew at single-digit rates in their first several years. It looks like intelligent tools are accelerating.

Read detailed results here.

VII. TRENDS/INSIGHTS: The 'Future of Work' has arrived: 12 Predictions for HR in 2021


After the pivotal role HR has played during the crises of 2020, how is HR shaping up for 2021? David Green’s annual predictions for HR in 2021 include- how the pandemic significantly accelerated the “Future of Work” by 5-10 years as hybrid work becomes more commonplace in HR parlance, HR‘s unique role as companies need them to enable digital transformations while engaging & motivating remote employees and create fair, better and more humane workplaces; wellbeing finally getting its rightful place in the top priorities of business leaders and organizations as the levels of stress, burnout and mental illness was heightened by the pandemic, and organizations like Unilever who invested in employee wellness saw 2.5X returns; growing focus on people analytics & increase in investment in analytics technology means People Analytics is no longer a nice-to-have but an absolute essential for any organization.

David’s predictions do have some cautions for HR teams highlighting the need for strong governance which critical for people analytics with ensuring ethical use of technology( like employee monitoring tools designed to track what employees are doing)

He also sees increasing importance on EX as hybrid working picks up, THE RISE OF THE ‘TALENT MARKETPLACE’ as companies try to identify tools(like Gloat, Degreed) to bridge the skill gaps. HR would play a crucial part in helping leaders create transparent, inclusive, diverse, and psychologically safe workplaces built on trust, equity, and a sense of belonging. He emphasizes that HR must become more digital, more agile and more data literate to deliver greater business value.

He also includes the importance of the increased focus on business outcomes and which initiatives HR could invest in to receive maximum ROI from revenue spent on HR-related initiatives. Finally, As HR continues to grow its influence, how can it positively change things in the wider world? HR will be seen extending its role to impact climate change, support the Environmental, Social, and Governance priorities, and play an active role in policymaking.

Read the forward-looking predictions for the HR community in 2021 and listen to the podcast.



Deloitte global human capital trends for 2021, highlights the five key trends reshaping work, the workforce, and the workplace. The report explores the journey of "survive to thrive" through the lens of the five 2020 Global Human Capital Trends:

  • Designing work for well-being: The end of work/life balance
  • Beyond reskilling: Unleashing worker potential
  • Super teams: Where work happens  
  • Governing workforce strategies: Setting new directions for work and the workforce 
  • A memo to HR: Accelerating the shift to re-architecting work

Each trend in the report highlights the use of technology that can be adopted and implemented by the HR teams to make a “fundamental mindset shift: from a focus on surviving to the pursuit of thriving.” For example, the “Beyond reskilling: unleashing worker potential” for capturing the insights of worker skills gaps by implementing HR technology solutions that offer new approaches to skills graphs and skills engines. The report shares a converging set of workforce technology solutions such as Gloat, Degreed, Eightfold, Faethm, Ibbaka, ProFinda, and Pymetrics that are focused less on a top-down inventorying of skills and more on helping organizations reimagine the relationships between skills, positions, teams, and industries to seize opportunities presented by the future of work and help workers reach their potential. The report includes a pragmatic approach to how firms can position themselves and their workforces to thrive in a new world of work with the use of technology overarching the efforts of HR teams to support the business transformation to thrive in a competitive environment.

Access the report here.

IX. TRENDS/ INSIGHTS: 2021 Trends in Human Resources


G2’s 2021 Trends in Human Resources, part of G2's 2021 digital trends series shares perspective on digital transformation trends market research and other trends identified by G2 analysts, focusses on Reimagining HR tech for a remote workforce as HR professionals are tasked with keeping their employees engaged, productive and motivated remotely by turning to HR software and technology to help them navigate these challenges. The key HRTech trends/predictions for 2021 include:

  •  An increase in corporate spending as Leaders of many organizations will prioritize diversity and inclusion in 2021. G2’s Diversity Recruiting software category saw a significant uptick (300% increase in traffic), includes solutions that offer software to help companies automate the process of building diverse talent pools and reduce or eliminate unconscious bias in the hiring process.
  • Tools for employee engagement will become indispensable as organizations find ways to engage, motivate, and support their remote workforce.
  •  Companies will make use of innovative technologies to address high levels of employee burnout as it receives much-deserved attention. To address the remote working challenges companies might turn to corporate wellness software, to aid the physical, mental, or financial wellness of its employees, as well as engagement tools like surveys or gamified competitions.
  •  AI-assisted recruiting tools will see increased demand in 2021 as companies adopt remote recruiting tools that automate many aspects of the recruiting process, from sourcing to speech & AI enhanced platforms such as video interviewing software.
  • Chatbots will be a common way that employees access HR services as companies will deploy chatbots (powered by AI) to help with a variety of tasks, including recruiting, service requests, employee communication, and performance reviews. Intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs) go a step further, using natural language processing and machine learning to understand a wider range of inputs than scripted chatbots.

X. TRENDS/INSIGHTS: 21 HR Technology Trends for 2021 That Will Shape the Future of Work


As we look forward to 2021 and ready ourselves for the new workplace, top CHROs, chief people officers, and HR leaders discuss the 21 emerging HR tech trends for 2021 in this exclusive chat with Toolbox HR. Some of the key trends, across a spectrum of HR Tech space, are

  • Well-Being: Meditation and Fitness Apps Will Accelerate Employee Well-Being; HR Leaders Will Embrace Hybrid Workforce Models To Drive Diversity and Inclusion; Digital Healthcare Offerings Will Become a Necessity in the Workplace
  • Remote Working: Connectivity Platforms Will Emerge as Next-Gen Solutions in the Remote Work World; Employee Sentiment Analysis Tools Will Empower the Remote Environment; Data Security and Access To HRIS Will Be Pivotal in the Remote World
  • Talent Acquisition: Virtual Recruitment Technology Will Build a Competitive Edge for Recruiters; Gender and Racial Bias Decoding Software Will Find Its Way in Hiring in 2021
  • Talent Engagement: Employee Engagement Tools Will Drive Effective Goal Setting
  • Learning and Development: Self-Serve Learning and Development Tools Will Foster Employee Skills; Gamification Tools Will Be a Great Way to Promote Remote Learning

To read all the trends, please click here

XI. BLOG: If You’re Tracking Employee Behavior, Be Transparent About It


Empathy has become an important leadership quality amid the coronavirus crisis, with managers needing to focus more on their employees’ physical and mental well-being and pay a great deal of attention to their personal circumstances. This is even more challenging given all the interactions with employees are done using video conferencing tools and feeling and expressing emotions won’t be as effective in the digital environment as in the physical one.

It also requires an act of balancing between showing empathy for your employees and respecting their privacy. Managers should understand not just the elements of good leadership, including inspiring, connecting, and understanding their teams, but also the regulatory and moral implications of exercising it while virtually entering people’s homes.

With employees working from home, possibly sharing devices and technology with other family members, companies may be concerned about security and privacy along with productivity. But while deploying technology to safeguard a company’s data, it is important to look at things from employee’s perspectives and respect their privacy should technology or tools increase surveillance even if it’s legally allowed. This is particularly challenging when monitoring reaches into an employee’s personal activities — a distinction that is especially challenging to draw when personal and business matters are conducted in the same location, on the same devices, and potentially at the same time.

One approach is to remove the element of surprise. Corporate culture is increasingly recognized as a distinguishing feature, and it consists of factors relating to employee trust and corporate transparency. A balanced approach including clear communications with employees about the existence of and reasons for a corporate monitoring program is consistent with a transparent culture and a relationship of trust.         

Our goal should be to instill trust and create an ethical climate where fairness and transparency are the dominant currencies, and people experience safety rather than stress or anxiety.

XII. CASE STUDY: How tech can help HR, employees recover in 2021


Dan Sines, CEO, and founder of Traitify, a talent attraction and engagement platform, discusses how technology will help HR recover from unprecedented issues such as employee safety, engagement in a remote world, legal considerations, and the changing role of HR.

During these unprecedented times, the biggest mistakes were predictable: scrambling to set up telecommuting protocols where there weren’t any before, handicapping some business operations by furloughing too many or too few employees in the spring and summer. Not communicating effectively with employees, leaving them on edge about what was happening next with the business. HR leaders and executive leadership across many industries erred too much on the side of caution, rather than communicating clearly and looking at the pandemic as a time to invest in people.

COVID-19 highlighted the critical importance of the high-volume, hourly workforce. HR technology has been quickly adopted to assist with the talent acquisition duties of HR rather than employee engagement, but engagement and development are just as important for the long-term success of a business. Engagement technology that directs HR teams to invest time and resources in the development of these workers will be key in 2021. Platforms that deliver professional development content and provide clear channels of communication between high-volume workforces and management will be a clear focus over the next year or two.

Read more here

XIII. CASE STUDY: How Video Will Power Talent Intelligence In The Remote Age


Whether it’s for university students, job candidates, or remote working teams, talent interactions across the globe are now taking place via video, and interviewees and candidates alike are seeing the benefits of the virtual approach leveraging platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

However, interviews led by humans are inherently very subjective, as each person has their own conscious or subconscious biases and often the interviewers are not trained formally. Interviews when conducted virtually can leverage AI-powered tools to gather objective behavioral insights which can augment the decision-making process of the interviewer by highlighting any areas where judgment may be biased, providing an analysis of the interviewee’s characteristics and learnability.

Advanced video interview platforms can help evaluate interviewer performance, too. Organizations can also look at the data-aggregate level to get broader insights that help guide things like training and company culture. Managers can use this information to create guidelines on pointers such as time spent talking about certain topics like company culture and growth opportunities and or how much minimum time should be reserved for candidates’ own questions.

Looking ahead, we can expect to see technology evolve away from standalone technologies to an increased focus on creating applications that can work on top of existing, widespread remote work platforms. Recent forecasts also predict that the global online video platform market will grow at a CAGR of an astounding 17.5% between 2020-2027. Even after the pandemic is over, whenever that may be, widespread usage of the video within the talent ecosystem is here to stay. In this new paradigm, it is those organizations that put intelligence at the heart of their talent interactions that will see the benefits for years to come.

XIV. CASE STUDY: VR Changes the Game for Soft Skills Training


Mursion and Future Workplace surveyed more than 300 learning and development leaders to discover which soft skills organizations value most in today’s markedly more remote working environment, how organizations currently develop these skills, and what they believe will work best for soft skills training. The survey findings revealed that personalized, immersive virtual reality (VR) simulations are moving out in front especially in business-critical areas such as team management and collaboration; sales and customer service; and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The study covers other topics like VR for Soft Skills, Cracking the Code on Soft Skills Training with VR, H&R Block- Uses CASE VR Simulations for Call Center Agent Onboarding and Customer Service Training, T-Mobile Uses VR Simulations for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion etc.

The survey reported that 35% of respondents are currently deploying VR skills simulations to help employees navigate challenging workplace scenarios in customer service, peer conflict resolution, and sales, as well as timely and critical training for diversity and inclusion, and harassment. With VR simulations, T-Mobile was able to have 90% of managers show competency in real conversations and H&R Block’s Customer Data reflects a saving in hours (the equivalent of 3+ months of on-the-job learning) by simulation of 30 mins VR sessions.

Download the report to know more.

XV. CASE STUDY: How will technology support background screening in 2021?


When fulfilling background screening requests, machine learning has great potential for application in several areas, including natural language processing, text classification, and quality assurance. Conal Thompson, CTO of HireRight, a leading background screening solution shares how cutting-edge technologies like blockchain, cloud, and biometrics are increasingly finding their use in the background screening solutions.

  • Blockchain and verifiable credentials: Reduce delays associated with background checks through the use of game-changing technologies, including advances in cryptography, blockchain, and verifiable credentials – by creating an encrypted, tamper-proof digital wallet where the candidate can store their own pre-validated credentials. Their use results in faster turnaround times for these checks, reduce the risk of human error and creating a better candidate experience.
  • Cloud technology: In addition to new screening solutions, product updates can also be released at a much faster pace than would have been possible before cloud technology, ensuring any necessary updates can be swiftly made and deployed resulting in improved user experience, minimal downtime, and easy access.
  • Biometrics and identity proofing technology: Use of new technologies enabled by AI to verify sensitive documents, avoid tampering, and enabling additional biometric-based checks (such as face scans) to ensure authenticity. These will have a positive impact on the whole onboarding process, Improve candidate experience, reduce human errors and delays to reduce time-to-hire.

Read the full blog here.

Swechha Mohapatra (IHRP-CP, Associate CIPD) is a Principal 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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