For two years, the pandemic has dominated the news, the business world, and almost every area of life. Now, people and organizations are looking beyond to what’s coming next. And that includes HR professionals.

So, what does the future hold? We expect several key changes to become even more entrenched in the coming years:

  • The career progression of people from under-represented backgrounds tends to stall in mid-level and senior leadership roles. With 36 percent of HR leaders lacking accountability tools for DE&I outcomes, it’s incredibly difficult to track and effect real change.
  • Despite the uptake in hybrid working models, 49 percent of HR leaders do not have an explicit future-of-work strategy. A further one-third have a strategy that is solely focused on remote/hybrid work. As talent needs shift, businesses would benefit from developing broader future-of-work strategies.
  • Managers with high empathy have three times the impact on their employees’ performance, but hybrid and remote work makes connecting difficult. Effective HR platforms can equip managers with the tools they need to connect and lead.

(If you want to take a deeper look, these statistics come from Gartner’s HR Leaders Survey.)

But what do these numbers actually mean for HRIS and management, and what changes should you be making today in preparation for the future?

The three essential qualities of modern HR platforms

Looking at these three primary trends, and the dozens of other changes we’ve seen in the workplace, we know modern HRIS functions need to be global, flexible, and intuitive.

1. Global at the core

The modern workforce is global and your HR tech stack should enable your business to find, recruit, manage, develop, and retain valuable people, wherever they are. Used correctly, a powerful HRIS can facilitate key outcomes for your people:

  • Self-service functions let staff manage their own details, timesheets, and payroll, wherever—and whenever—they work.
  • Future-proof HRIS functions use engagement and social tools to build community. After all, connecting people is a big part of effective employee engagement.
  • A DE&I strategy that values and celebrates the cultures and contributions of people on a global scale particularly benefits an international workforce.

And these are just some of the ways an effective HR platform enables a global workforce. Without it, companies may find themselves struggling to compete without full access to the wide pool of talent they need for success.

2. Flexible

Work is becoming more flexible and your HRIS functions should too. The very best HR software adapts to the needs of your organization, rather than imposing restrictions on how you operate.

To explore how this evolution has progressed, take a look at Josh Bersin’s article, HR Technology 2021: The Definitive Guide—which highlights the changes in HR software over the past few decades.

These fundamental changes aren’t going to go away. Instead, they’re only going to become more important. So HR platforms and processes need to increase their own flexibility to meet specific new challenges. For example, your tech needs to:

  • Support the different languages and currencies used by a global workforce
  • Have the power to localize onboarding workflows for different teams, roles, and locations
  • Be able to integrate and share data with other HR point solutions
  • Allow managers to express empathy and support for their people—even when working remotely

These challenges can only be met with an increased emphasis on flexibility. Truly flexible HR information systems boost productivity by incorporating customizable ways of showing appreciation and recognition, even in small gestures.

And forming HR systems based around people and outcomes allows for the better coordination of projects and outcomes.

3. Intuitive UI and UX design

Modern UI design creates intuitive experiences. Your next HRIS should be easy to use, attractively designed, and still powerful enough to do everything you need.

Let’s think about interfaces. Forty years ago, computer interfaces started and finished with a blinking cursor, and accomplishing anything important meant learning an entirely new computer language. Then, Windows and Apple opened up the world of the visual user interface. The mouse and keyboard became obvious ways to make software work.

Yet developers were able to take us even further still: by incorporating touch. Now, thanks to the simplicity of touch, children can do things with tablets that adults could only dream about 40 years ago.

Similarly, your HR software should be evolving to become more and more intuitive.

Training people to use HR platforms shouldn’t have to take months or years. Just like those touchscreen tablets, some things should be obvious. New HR staff, managers, and employees should be able to look at the interface and easily see how to do what they want. And that’s where design becomes so important.

So, what does intuitive design look like?

  • Key functions look and work like common social media platforms.
  • The right information is immediately visible on every page, with simple designs that make the next step obvious.
  • People can easily connect without leaving the platform, thanks to integration with communication tools like Slack and MS Teams.

Now doesn’t that sound like a breath of fresh air?

The tech foundations behind future-proof platforms

As we’ve seen, today’s most effective HR platforms are truly global, flexible, and intuitive. But to achieve all these things, they require a solid tech foundation on which to perform.

Although technical details are primarily the domain of IT departments, it’s important for HR leaders to also know which basic requirements to look for in a future-proof HRIS. Here are the main features that mean your HR platform will be ready for the years ahead.

1. Cloud-based instead of on-premises

Running HR tools from the cloud reduces costs and increases flexibility because cloud service providers can scale up and down as the company needs more or fewer resources. Cloud services also remain accessible at all times, even if your workforce is remote, and thanks to built-in redundancy at the server end, these services are also far less likely to experience service disruptions. That means your systems stay up and running, wherever your people are.

2. Privacy and security

As companies track and store more information about their employees, the importance of digital encryption and data protection to shield employees and companies from fraud, theft, and damages increases.

3. In the flow of work

HR platforms can fit into your established flow of work by being mobile-capable, location-agnostic, and accessible from multiple access points.

4. Self-service configurability

Adding new capabilities—provisioning—can happen faster when the tech foundation allows HR professionals to configure services as needed, without having to call in technical support every time.

5. Integration framework

Apps and services are multiplying—think Slack, payroll providers, or LMS, for example—so an HR tech stack must be able to integrate with existing and new solutions.

Building on the right tech foundations and aiming for the best puts your company in a position to achieve the best possible outcomes for your people—which is the real goal of HR professionals.

Three ways modern HR tech impacts the bottom line

The details, processes, and data involved in HR work can come together to produce a great experience for people as well as increased productivity and profitability.

Now, here are three key outcomes an effective platform can provide for HR leaders:

1. Increased HR efficiency

Streamlining your HR processes can save your team a vast amount of time. An effective HR platform will include tools and techniques that increase your efficiency and boost the output of your employees too. Here are five core HR functions that modern tech can help you with:

1. Workflow automation

Repetitive tasks can eat up as much as 25 percent of HR leaders’ time. Automation can be used to enhance recruiting efforts, onboarding, training, and management. This gives HR managers tools to help them focus on their work instead of data entry or approval processing.

  1. Absence management

A simple thing like a day off due to illness could create a small mountain of paperwork. Instead, an HRIS that provides self-service functions can streamline absence recording, approvals, and tracking. Saving time for HR managers increases productivity by eliminating unnecessary work.

  1. Payroll

Payroll can be one of the most time-consuming HR tasks. A platform that compares and gathers ever-changing data streamlines this crucial process, and can help companies create the right payroll systems to process data accurately and efficiently—facilitating the growth of the business. 

  1. Organization management

Managing your company used to be about an org chart with really clear lines and hierarchies. Now, effective organization management requires flexibility because working is now grouped around projects and teams instead of departments. HR platforms can help leaders with their organization management through flexible structures and responsive personnel grouping.

  1. Reporting and analytics

Understanding what is happening with people through clear reporting helps employers make solid plans to promote talent, reduce attrition, and create a healthy working environment. Insights about working time, engagement, and teamwork help maintain visibility to ensure employee success.

Boosting productivity requires the right people to fill each role. HR platforms can help companies engage and retain the best talent.

2. Engage and retain people

With a global talent pool and remote workforce, engaging and retaining employees is an increasingly complex task for HR leaders. But an effective HRIS provides at least five tools to help engage and retain the best people, wherever they work:

  1. Performance management

Tracking and reviewing the work of your people is essential, but with large dispersed teams this can become an unwieldy task. Your HR platform can frame performance reviews that happen on customizable cycles, are built on employee data, and build people’s trust through genuine career progression opportunities.

  1. Onboarding

Creating a healthy company culture starts from the first contact during recruitment. Your HR platform could start building engagement and community through automated onboarding, a new hires welcome area, shout-outs, and customized paths for different specialties and skill sets.

  1. Surveys

Listening to employees is essential for employee retention. Conducting employee surveys and flash polls and gathering feedback regularly will help HR staff identify concerns. Then, they can be proactive in addressing any issues coming up on the horizon.

  1. Culture

Every company has a culture, but successful companies intentionally nurture the culture they want to build. HR platforms help you keep people engaged through shout-outs and social features that foster connections beyond project teams.

  1. Compensation planning

Compensation is broader than money and made more complex with global and remote workforces. A great HR platform presents clear compensation information at every level so your HR team and managers can make equitable decisions for the people in your company.

These are the tools your HR software can provide to engage and retain the best talent available. Once you have the best people, there is another goal to pursue, which is growing and expanding your workforce.

3. Grow people and expand the workforce

If the past two years of pandemic experience have taught us anything, it’s the value of being both flexible and prepared. A great HR platform can help you plan for the year ahead, while retaining the ability to flex and adjust in order to keep your talent bench full.

It can help you with your:

  1. Workforce planning

Great HR systems help you measure your bench strength, retention, time to fill roles, diversity, and career paths. Offering your employees a clear vision of how they can grow with your company starts with using an HRIS to plan this succession, and builds loyalty.

  1. Recruitment

The recruitment and onboarding process is the beginning of your (hopefully long-lasting) relationship with new hires. Your HR platform can communicate your values, allow for customized onboarding flows, and give you social tools for welcoming people into your organization.

  1. Skills and development

Finding high-value people in a global marketplace is a challenge. Once you’ve found them, letting them stagnate is not good for business. Instead, your HR platform can help them develop by setting personalized goals, evaluating their skills, and offering professional development programs tailored to their individual growth.

These tools help accomplish what modern HR is all about: better outcomes for people.

Modern HR tools connect people to others

Businesses are still coming to terms with the “Great Resignation” and its aftermath. A common theme is the need for flexibility. A recent HiBob and Fiverr survey of 1,000 HR professionals and managers about the effects of the Great Resignation included this insight:

“We can’t ignore the Great Resignation. Today’s workplace is transforming, and HR leaders and hiring managers must adjust and align with the market to reduce turnover and grow.”

Let’s conclude with some simple questions that you should be asking yourself:

  • Does your HR tech stack offer the tools you need to accomplish the best outcomes for people?
  • Are its tech foundations built for the future or stuck in the past?
  • Is it global, flexible, and intuitive?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, then let us introduce you to Bob, the modern HR platform for modern businesses. Bob is powerful, yet easy to use and intuitive. Your organization will feel the benefits of an HR system that automates common tasks, provides actionable data and insights, and fosters engagement and inclusion at every level.

Meet Bob

At HiBob, we’ve built a modern HR platform designed for modern business needs—today and beyond.

We focused on building something robust yet intuitive and easy to use, which has led Bob to be the platform of choice for thousands of fast-growing modern, mid-sized organizations. 

For HR, it automates many common processes, allows greater oversight and visibility of the business, and centralizes all people data in a secure, user-friendly environment.

For managers, it provides access to data and insights to help them lead more effectively and streamline processes.

For employees, it’s the tools and information they need to connect, develop, and grow throughout their journey.  

In a short time, Bob can be deployed to enable communication, collaboration, and connectivity that drives stronger engagement, productivity, and business outcomes.