Josh Bersin: The big reset in HR Tech

Speaking exclusively at the HR Tech Fest Connect, Josh Bersin discusses how the HR technology market will evolve in this new world of work.
By: | May 18, 2020

There is no question about it – the world of work has changed forever following the COVID-19 pandemic, which has propelled the global workforce into an era of remote working.

And as employers grapple with the changes overnight, the question on every HR professional’s mind is – how do we manage our workforce and teams during this time and how has the HR tech market evolved to support this?

There is no better person to answer this than Josh Bersin, Global Industry Analyst and Dean of Josh Bersin Academy, who spoke on Day One of the inaugural HR Tech Fest Connect 2020 on May 12.

During his keynote exclusive presentation, he laid out some of the biggest challenges that the HR industry is facing in the new world of work:

  • Difficulty coordinating response across teams, business units and geographies
  • Two-way communication not as effective as it could be
  • Not adjusting fast enough to help our customers
  • Lack of agility to respond to rapidly changing situation

He added that the biggest change in HR is turning from a Responsive (efficient) model to a Resilient (adaptive) function as it keeps pace with the rapidly changing world of work.

“We have to keep business highly empowered, trained and coordinated with data and information so that as policies and protocols are changed, people know what to do. And that has been the biggest change to me in turning HR into a resilient function,” he said.

HR Tech to Work Tech

Technology will play an integral role in supporting the transition. And with the pandemic transforming the way we work and with remote working here to stay, Bersin believes there is a shift from HR Tech to Work Tech.

“HR professionals are doing things and asking their technology to do what we were not expecting three months ago, so the HR Tech market is going to be forced to adapt,” he explained.

“HR has moved from talent retention and recruiting to keeping people happy, productive and safe. The pandemic is something that is asymmetric, and we do not know when it is going to stop.

“I think the era that we are entering is what I would call Work Tech, where a lot of the technology that was built for business functions that HR departments need are adding features that used to be ‘nice to have’ such as photo sharing, chat functions and events.

“So, what is going to happen this year, particularly because of the pandemic and people are working at home, is we will see more of the HR tools manifest themselves,” he added.

Technology to grow around well-being, employee experience and learning

One of the areas that has come to the fore of HR leaders’ minds is the well-being of their people as the line between work and life continues to get blurred while they work from home.

And Bersin expects technology to evolve to cater to the changing needs of employees such as well-being, safety and productivity and urged HR leaders to be involved in the decision-making process of the tools that their organisations implement.

“In the world of talent applications, we are in a management philosophical era of trust, growth, purpose, support, health and safety. So, we really need tools that can manifest that and being redefined around the areas of well-being, personal growth and personal productivity,” he explained.

“And HR professional have to get involved in deciding which tools to use when the company implements big initiatives such as work-from-home arrangements, because whatever you decide will impact the way people interact and work.”

Bersin also expects the Employee Experience (EX) and Corporate Learning market to grow and evolve this year as employers will have to change the way they engage and upskill their people in this new world of work.

“Another area of the market that is going to grow a lot this year is the EX market. EX goes back to psychologists doing engagement survey to pulse surveys over the last decade. And in the last two or three years, it has moved to become intelligent analytics tools and now these are becoming what I call action platforms.”

“The learning space is also on fire. In fact, it has been growing even during the pandemic. And now the volume of online learning has skyrocketed as people are home and they have more time,” he concluded.