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Themes and trends of the future HR market in HR Tech World Spring’16


HR tech start-ups competition at HR Tech World Spring one of the world’s most cutting edge congresses and is widely recognized as leading and unique event on the future of work. London had welcomed us with some exceptionally interesting speakers, great information exchange and brilliant networking opportunity of its` own kind — more than 2,000 delegates and some of the most advanced startups competing against one another, surely, we are certainly going to be the ones, who will create the future of tomorrow.


The Congress focused on the main themes and trends included:


  • Software is Eating HR


John Sumser declared “The end of the HR enterprise software era” at HR Tech in Amsterdam 2013,  we have now automated pretty much all we can.  Software continues to feast on HR, starting with the horrible bits we don’t like and leaving the tasty morsels to our managers and HR people and change superstars – well that’s the theory anyway.


  • Rethinking Organisations


Josh Bersin summarised Deloitte’s research “92 percent of companies believe that redesigning the organization is very important or important, making it No. 1 in ranked importance.  Companies are decentralizing authority, moving toward product- and customer-centric organizations, and forming dynamic networks of highly empowered teams that communicate and coordinate activities in unique and powerful ways.”

As we move to new business models and organisational structures, we will need to redesign HR, and the software that supports this.


  • The winners will be those that embrace diversity



Diversity was a theme from this conference, as good reason for diversity is fairness, allowing all member of society to flourish (Heidi Spirgi from the Marcus Buckingham Company presented her research Women & Technology, highlighting the gender underrepresentation in IT) and is a source of  greater competitiveness for the companies, who expand their horizons in search of creative problem solvers.


  • Challenges with People Analytics



There were some presentations showing success in the use of people analytics to solve business challenges such as determining office location, retention, absenteeism and successful recruiting in the Smart Data stream.


  • Startups disrupting HR?



The start-ups seemed to be even busier than previous conferences with well attended sessions and stands.The main areas were in employee engagement, recruiting, learning, employee feedback, onboarding & employer branding.

Numerous inspiring speakers and shared experiences through discussions, led us to some key takeaways from the HR Tech World Spring, every prospective company should take a note of and prioritize in its policies:


  • Digital is changing everything…


The pace of change has never been so fast, yet will never be so slow again. The digital revolution is changing every single business model and the ramifications of this were clearly articulated by most of the speakers on the main stage. The excellent Peter Hinssen convincingly argued that companies need to focus not just on today or even tomorrow, but also the day after tomorrow otherwise they may find that they cannot transform fast enough. Given that over 50% of the Fortune 500 have disappeared since 2000, this seems sound advice to me.


         …and that includes HR.  Josh Bersin applied the digital revolution to HR as he walked through Deloitte’s recently published Global Human Capital Trends report. His key message was that the traditional way in which companies have been organised, managed and led is no longer fit for purpose. The implications of this for HR are significant and arguably entail a complete refresh of how the function operates, how it delivers services and the way in which it engages with the business and its employees.


  • Are our leaders up to it?


In a passionate and powerful opening keynote, Simon Sinek lamented that too many leaders get it woefully wrong. Sinek explained how bad organisations and leaders are hazardous to employees because they induce the stress hormone cortisol. In other words, bad leaders are literally killing their people. As leadership models and organisational structures evolve, the winning companies will be those that have leaders who can adapt and put employee experience and well being at the forefront of their strategies.


  • People Analytics – heading for orbit?                                     


Judging by the popularity of the Smart Data track, recent studies by IBM (see CHRO Study) and Deloitte (see here) suggesting that adoption of people analytics is increasing are right on the money. Those delegates seeking inspiration found plenty to choose from as speaker after speaker explained the benefits their organisations had reaped as a result of the work of their people analytics teams.


  • Employees as consumers – the changing world of employee engagement


Speaking of analytics, the shift in measuring employee engagement annually to continually was a common theme that threaded the conference together. Employees have adopted a consumer mindset and organisations will have to apply similar effort to what they already do with consumers. Analytics is the means to generating the insights that will enable business leaders to take appropriate actions to not only optimise employee experience but consequently customer loyalty and profitability too.


  • Diversity and inclusion as an indicator of business success.


News that studies show that inclusive companies statistically outperform their peers will hopefully inspire many others to follow in their wake. There is still a long way to go as Martha Lane Fox highlighted in her inspirational conference closing speech. Of the many worrying statistics she highlighted here are two: i) over 90% of investors, owners and developers of the Internet are male, and; ii) that bastion of modernity – the House of Lords, has a better record on gender diversity than the tech sector.


Sources used:

Andrew Stetsenko Tech Talents Relocation

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