Bersin Sees HR Tech Integrating Into Core Aspects of Work

Looking Ahead

HR technologies are blurring the line between workforce-focused areas and activities that involve work itself. Meanwhile, vendors pay increasing attention to how their products contribute to employee experience in ways that go beyond simple interface design. In the words of industry analyst Josh Bersin, this all adds up to a shift from HR tech to “work tech,” and highlights the importance of technology tools to most anything that’s work-related.

In his annual report on HR technology, Bersin predicts the industry’s emphasis this year will be on improving the employee experience through apps that are easy to use and integrate with existing tools. This “EX layer” includes communications, surveys, case and knowledge management as well as platforms that simplify the building of new workflows, chatbots and portals.

Josh Bersin's 2021 report sees #HRTech continuing to blur the line between workforce functions and core work capabilities. #HR Click To Tweet

This represents a significant change in the HR tech landscape, Bersin said. The bloom is off the idea of systems that consist of siloed payroll, benefits administration and LMS platforms tied into talent management solutions. Instead, vendors will work to develop single interfaces that access learning, communications and collaboration.

“The overall strategy is to make more and more HR technology ‘disappear’—that’s to say, make it useful to employees, managers and leaders, and improve your overall employee experience,” Bersin said. “If it fits into our day-to-day work life, we’ll find it valuable and HR will benefit. If employees find it to be an interruption and we have to learn how to use it, the verdict is simple: companies won’t gain as much value from it.

Covid’s Impact on Work

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a major impetus behind this shift, Bersin believes. As the crisis’s full impact became evident, employers recognized that their survival, and growth, depended on the workforce’s health, well-being and productivity. That realization turned employee experience into “a company-wide value,” Bersin said. Turmoil in the labor market and remote-work arrangements were factors, as well.

The report also noted:

  • The emergence of in-house talent marketplaces that facilitate internal mobility, gig project work, mentoring and job sharing. “Companies in every industry segment now realize that a marketplace model for talent is far more powerful, useful, and engaging than relying on managers to make all job decisions,” the report said.
  • An “explosion” of features and tools to help companies with their efforts toward diverse hiring, diversity programs, confronting harassment and ensuring fairness at work.
  • An “explosion” of features and tools to help companies with their efforts toward diverse hiring, diversity programs, confronting harassment and ensuring fairness at work. Bersin found that higher-performing companies were almost three times more likely to use a platform to manager their contingent workers.

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