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HR Technology Trends 2016 versus 2017



Personally, I love the end of the year for blogging.  You get a dose of “the best of last year”, and you get the “predictions for the coming year”.  What is missing from this yearly summary is the results of what was predicted for 2016 and what happened in 2016?  How accurate were the individuals and companies that created the predictions?

I decided to conduct my research on predictions for 2016 and how accurate the predictions were.  Please note this is not scientific, more my personal point of view and having worked in HR and HR Technology for almost 30 years.

First I Googled HR Technology Predictions for 2016 and used a few notable names and publications such as Josh Bersin and Forbes (as examples).  The publications had to be published in December 2015 or January 2016 to qualify as a prediction.  No good predicting the future half way through the year.  And the predictions could not be in aid of selling a particular software product.

Based on that research here were the top predictions and in many cases, I have simplified the language from the original writer to consolidate the topics and ensure they were in plain English.

-  Data and the use of data in HR increase – whether it was called people analytics, data-driven decisions or just plain analytics.  In 2016 HR will increase data drive activities and decision making.

-  Performance management is transformed from a yearly event to little and often to not at all.

-  IOT and wearables will start to become a primary data source for HR.

-  Talent management platforms will be reinvented including more social and mobile and increased use of blind CV’s and other methods to reduce bias and increase diversity and inclusion

-  Engagement surveys change, and the “C-Suite” becomes more focused on culture and employee feedback

-  More open source and freeware HR technologies become mainstream

While these are not all the HR Technology predictions, they represent the consolidation of greater than five, and when I started to see a pattern, I decided I had enough data points.

As will all predictions there were a few “outliers” that no one else mentioned – such as: -

-  Organisation charts disappear

-  Someone gives LinkedIn a run for their money.

-  HR starts to destroy bureaucracy

-  HR adopts VR

-  HR as an agent for change

If this is the list of the main predictions what were the results for 2016? I determined that best way to assess if the prediction had been right was to see what the same writers and organisations predicted for 2017.  Did they roll forward the same prediction?  If yes then you could argue that the forecast for 2016 was not accurate or if they came up with 100% new predictions for 2017 you might be suspect of a “bait and shift”.  Something in the middle might give an indication of which predictions were more or less valid for 2016. 

In reviewing the same writers and organisations (along with adding a few others) what were people predicting for HR Technology in 2017.  Here is the summary of those predictions: -

-  People Analytics

-  HR shifts from individuals to teams including re-organising the business

-  Culture and engagement technologies are top of the shopping list – companies need to create a better candidate and employee experience.

-  The market is ripe for new performance management tools

-  Recruitment software is ready for massive disruption

-  Open source and cloud still making headlines

-  AI and VR in HR

-  Mobile applications increase

-  Employee well-being applications are in demand

-  Demand for more creative benefit programmes and tools to support them.

-  Millennials meet Generation Z

-  HR as a Change Agent

It is not yet 2017, so I am sure that other predictions will come out but based on this sample set I would conclude that most of the trends predicted in 2015 for this year will be repeated this year as trends for 2017.   The biggest ones being: -

-  Analytics (people and HR)

-  Transformation of the recruitment process and technology

-  Performance management continues to move from annual to more frequent – the trend continues

-  Employee engagement is more important than ever and tools to get employee feedback are critical to HR (and the rest of the business).

These trends are core to transforming HR it should not be unexpected for the trend to last for several years.  The trend that I would like to see take off is HR as a change agent.  Here is to an exciting 2017.

Data Sourced 2016 Predictions

10 Predictions for HR in 2016

6 Essential HR Tech Trends in 2016

Forbes and Josh Bersin - 2016 Predictions

2016 HR Tech Predictions

2017 HR Technology Predictions Data Source

10 Predictions for HR Tech in 2017 - note this is the same author as the one with the same name in 2016

2017 Predictions by Josh Bersin

Forbes - 2017 Workplace Trends

Article by Mary Sue Rogers

Posted On : 27-12-16

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