Recently, analyst Josh Bersin released his annual report, HR Technology 2021: The Definitive Guide. First and foremost, I really enjoyed reading his quote about HiBob as “one of the darlings of smaller [and mid-size] HCM players.” Bob is indeed the darling people management platform supporting more than 1,000 customers. 

With so many changes in the last year to the way we work—the overnight shift to remote work, fluctuating health regulations, and the more recent move to hybrid work as countries begin re-opening—its safe to say that HR tech has had, and will continue to have, a huge role to play in keeping companies on the right track. 

In his report, Josh talks about how technology vendors are scrambling to meet the new needs of a remote and global workforce. He also covers the move to “work tools”, the need to personalize the employee experience, and how HR tech needs to integrate with other productivity tools such as Slack and Microsoft Teams. All things we believe in deeply at HiBob, and were part of our vision before Bob was founded.

In fact, when we surveyed 2000 full-time workers across the US and UK about their tech stack for working from home we found that, during the height of the pandemic, companies who added HR tech to their remote tech stack saw higher job satisfaction and a more productive work from home experience. 

Putting employee and manager experience front and center

When we look at modern, mid-size, and global companies and think about the employee experience, we’re talking about every interaction an employee has with your business’s HR function—from pre-boarding to offboarding (and everything in between). However, this isn’t limited to standard HR tasks like time and attendance, payroll, and feedback. While these core tasks are vitally important, we also think about culture, inclusion, productivity, and wellbeing.  

This means that employees and managers (along with HR) have access to the information and documents they need. It means that in a remote/hybrid work environment where employees work across the globe, either on-site or elsewhere, they get a sense of belonging, their experience feels local and personalized. Finally, this means meeting employees where and how they work while also fostering collaboration, recognition, and culture.  

Manage (and empower) people

HR tech tools allow HR and managers to communicate easily with employees and track important data from afar. For example, whereas HR or managers may have once sat in-person to go over important documents during the onboarding process, HR tech allows HR, managers, and employees to access and complete all of their important documents in a single, secure platform. Especially in a hybrid and global work world, this functionality is essential for onboarding.  

Not only that, but these documents then live in the platform indefinitely, giving everyone the power to access them whenever they have questions. 

You can apply this thought process to every part of the employee experience and any data an HR person, manager, or employee may want. As Josh points out in his report, Bob “is designed as a management platform first and HR platform second. Its entire design is focused on what information managers, employees, and executives need.” 

Think global, act local

Virtual, global, and remote teams are no longer unique—they are an essential part of almost every growing business. While companies employing HR leaders may already be working with HR systems supporting multiple sites, that’s not necessarily true for smaller organizations. The lack of flexibility and personalization that are unfortunate hallmarks of traditional HR solutions make it nearly impossible for growing companies to support multiple sites—and multiple cultures.

In his report, Josh says that when considering an HR tech tool, it’s important to ask, “is it flexible enough to accommodate GDPR and employment contracts in Europe, rapid changes in pay and work practices in Asia, local small business needs in India, and the many other regulatory issues around the world?” The new, globalized world of work needs tools that transcend borders. It needs multi-time-zone calendars, workflows built to engage remote workers, customizable communications, and practices that adhere to localized laws and regulations. Without this functionality, not only is your HR team slowed down but the employee experience takes a major hit in making employees feel welcome and included. 

Foster culture and collaboration

Today, when mental wellbeing and wellness at work is front and center, higher job satisfaction is a testament to better HR work, company communication, and strong company culture. Whereas you might have once learned about a colleague’s promotion standing around in the office kitchen, it’s now the responsibility of HR and managers to communicate to employees working remotely around the world. But how can you do this while meeting employees where they spend the majority of their time? 

HR tech tools need to integrate with other tools in the tech stack, like Slack and Microsoft Teams, so that employees can be looped in on exciting and important announcements and react in real time (no matter what timezone they’re in). Josh points this out in his report, saying, “These conversational interfaces are the most natural ways to communicate now (even email feels more like a real-time system), so we must make sure all our HR-related applications are designed to operate in the flow of work.”

The evolution of HR tech

As we all continue to maneuver the pandemic and its impact on the way we work, two things are clear: hybrid work is here to stay, and HR tech must evolve to support it. I believe to do so, HR must invest in modern tech tools that support their interests as well as the needs of employees. Companies who do so will see employees who feel seen, included, and cared for, which can only benefit your bottom line.

Ronni Zehavi

From Ronni Zehavi

Ronni has over 25 years of experience in multinational, hi-tech companies. Prior to setting up HiBob, he was an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Silicon Valley based Bessemer Venture Partners. He's the strategic advisor and co-founder of Team8 Cyber Security and CEO of Cotendo, a content delivery network which was acquired by Akamai for $300m.