Are we going to have fewer headhunters and more software driven talent acquisitions? How are we going to more effectively track job performance? Is the HR industry changing for the better or worse?
In an increasingly digitized world, industries that have been traditionally driven by work interactions, paperwork, and physical meetings continue to shift their attention to online platforms and software. Such is the case in the Human Resources industry.
Earlier this year, Google launched its own job search engine which utilizes algorithms to organize job listings from Linkedin, Glassdoor, and ZipRecruiter (among a long list of other third party sites). This move on their part integrates job search into the search engine, easing job-searching for potential candidates. Likewise, less than two years ago, Microsoft’s acquisition of Linkedin similarly brought to light a trend that may be indicative of a larger phenomenon: the replacement of existent traditions in the industry by technological software and platforms.
This phenomenon, however, is not limited to headhunting and talent acquisition. Payroll is now dominated by award-winning applications that are able to process and manage payments, generate payslips, and save faxes, as well as produce mandatory government forms. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms are able to better suggest types of training for employees to benefit a company. Better prediction models from performance tracking are able to drive more targeted and effective organizational decisions. It is evident that the very structure of the HR industry is changing.
The question is then, of course, how will the future of HR look? As a data analyst and tech writer, my answer is simple: I don’t know; after all, I am not a psychic. However, as I parse through the trends and patterns in the ever-evolving industry, there are three overarching directions that the industry is moving in. This article will outline the three overarching predictions in HR.
1st Prediction: HR roles are going to be increasingly digitized.
Having worked at an HR tech company myself, I have been a beneficiary of booming investments. This has led to strides in the development of products that increase efficiency in talent acquisition and performance management. In accordance with Larocque Inc., an HR analytics and consulting firm, more than $1 billion was invested in HR tech companies last year. It is thus to no HR aficionado’s surprise then that human resource roles are becoming increasingly outsourced.
With the emergence of HR products in the mainstream, tasks such as employee management, training and e-learning, performance management, and recruiting and onboarding, are becoming increasingly automated. With that in mind, existent HR directors may not necessarily be laid off as a result of the pervasive norm of HR software. Instead, employees in HR will be better trained to utilize HR software so that companies are able to thrive with its assistance.
2nd Prediction: Talent acquisition is changing.
It has been a longstanding tradition for recruiters to serve as the middleman between the company and candidate. Yet, with the emergence of artificial intelligence, it is likely that recruiters are going to be drowned out by the sheer ease and analytical benefit of talent acquisition with a click of the button.
In accordance with Hiremojo, a talent acquisition technology company based in San Francisco, artificial intelligence is more efficient and unbiased when making analytical decisions. Not only are HR technologies able to identify glaring biases in job descriptions, e.g. gender biases that may detract specific candidates from being less likely to apply to a job, AI is able to aggregate candidate data, assisting the pipelining process in the talent acquisition industry.
Integration of other tools such as applicant tracking systems is a trend many companies are taking in order to bolster candidates with a more compatible profile (with regards to a role). At the same time, candidates that are less suitable for a role are more easily arranged so that a talent acquisition manager is better able to organize the recruitment pipeline.
What’s particularly interesting is the place of social media in recruiting. In its inception in 2003, many have used Linkedin for different purposes: creating content, connecting with like-minded professionals, and even recruiting. Recruiters have capitalized on the available data on candidates from Linkedin and social media websites to reach out to possible candidates for specific roles or referrals to other roles. And in the ever-growing base of Linkedin users (there has been an increase in over 100 million users since Microsoft’s purchase of the company in 2014), it should come to no HR expert’s surprise that this platform is used alongside the wide array of HR applications that aid talent acquisition managers.
3rd Prediction: Role Changes for HR Managers
As a result of the increased digitization of the HR industry, employer branding is more important now than ever. A quick search of x company on Linkedin or Glassdoor and a candidate will be able to see the types of people working at the company and understand the general environment that the company cultivates. This will immediately influence whether or not they are attracted to the environment and culture of company x, and may ultimately influence one’s decision to join a team.
At the same time, given the ability of previously mentioned software to send out mass emails or messages to potential candidates, the dynamics between HR manager and candidate changes. In the age of mass messages on Linkedin and desperate outreaches, recruiters are often given the advice that “people want to speak with people." The increased digitization, hence, begs to be balanced out by talent acquisition managers who are able to humanize the automated messages presented by HR software. If not, companies may risk losing talent.
The same notion can be extended to the structural changes in companies as more millennials enter the workforce (and by extent, management, and c suite jobs). Many millennials are reaching their 30s, and HR managers will indeed have to take into account their unique perspectives on workforce culture and interactions; one that may, on occasions, conflict with baby boomers or traditionalists. With the help of feedback management at the right frequency and time, HR managers may collect data and AI to reconfigure and reorganize companies to allow them to fully thrive.
While the velocity at which the HR industry is changing is unclear, one thing is for certain: the HR industry will be increasingly digitized, and individuals who work in HR will definitely be impacted.
From the use of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to Payroll software, the roles in which HR managers take on will shift with the pull and push of HR ingenuity. With that said, it would be naïve to think that HR managers are non-essential. To humanize candidate-client relationships, employee-employer relationships, in-house HR managers are necessary to the success of any company.