How technology is disrupting the HR industry

According to the latest Ministry of Manpower report released in September, job vacancies in Singapore decreased but still outnumbered jobseekers. In this tight labour market, organisations have to stay competitive to attract and retain their share of talented individuals. This has prompted business leaders to look beyond usual corporate strategies, and explore disruptive technologies that will drive staff productivity and spur recruitment efforts.

Coined by Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen in 1995, disruptive technology is described as “an innovation that helps to create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network”.

While there are a number of such solutions being developed for the market, we will focus on three major ones that are set to impact the human resources (HR) industry. These are HR Management Solutions (HRMS), science-based data analytics, and network-based recruitment.

To start, HRMS are engineered to replace existing HR administrative models, and bring about a new phase of integrated HR and employee management.

Internal HR Management Solutions

The administrative arm of a HR department will be the first to go as core HR systems move towards becoming a fully “self-service” function. This means that all Internal HR Management Systems (HRMS) will be automated to ensure that data is always fluid and seen in “real-time”.

This change is inevitable as HR departments were wasting too much time and resources managing administrative duties and employee-related issues. To improve upon this, future HRMS will be embedded into an employee’s day-to-day work-flow. This will allow them to learn on demand, share work experiences in real-time, update goals on-the-go, and provide real-time data to line managers.

Examples of such integrated tasks include:

  • Clocking in/out
  • Goal setting and performance management
  • Feedback and engagement
  • Applying for benefits/leave
  • Applying for higher-learning courses  

Automated HRMS will also benefit organisations in terms of raising staff engagement and productivity levels. The system will also need to be transparent to both the organisation and employee, so that both parties are aligned on agreed goals.

Analytics-driven, Science-based Solutions

Future HR professionals can potentially function as data scientists with the help of analytics solutions. This technology looks at real-time labour activity and allows HR professionals to make predictive, data-driven business decisions regarding their human capital.

For example, insights drawn from staff characteristics, job experience and real-time work-related data can be used to predict retention rates, identify departments which incur high operational costs, and even recommend learning courses for staff.

Furthermore, HR professionals can also compare these trends over time, across business units or between key groups of employees. These insights will enable HR professionals to take a more calculated approach with employees, leading to better HR strategies at a lower overall cost.

Network Recruiting

In recent years, recruiters have placed more emphasis in the trusted tactic of word-of-mouth referrals from internal staff, acquaintances and fellow recruiters. This has remained a popular recruitment method as it allows HR professional to get a first-hand assessment of the intended candidate, and to make an initial decision if they have what it takes for the job.

To emulate this process, online platforms and applicant tracking systems have grown to offer recruiters almost all the information they would need to consider a potential hire. These could include candidate career profiles, employer testimonials and niche qualifications. 

Additionally, these solutions can also help HR teams construct a long-term recruitment framework by providing up-to-date labour market insights, and reports to track the performance of existing job ads, portals and individual recruiters.

To wield a solution like this, HR professionals will first need to get used to managing a highly-connected set of systems where information flows in from multiple sources. Only then can they fully utilise the power of networking to fill positions with the most effective candidates.

Disruptive HR solutions will bring benefits to businesses in the long run. However, organisations need to be ready to overcome migration challenges and understand that this change will take some time.

In the near future, the full automation of administrative processes, personnel management, and recruitment, will allow HR professionals to have a greater impact on an organisation’s overall business strategies.