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The HR landscape is undergoing going a radical shift. Accelerated by the new ways of working driven by the pandemic, technology that helps facilitate remote working has gone from being something of a novel experiment to “essential for survival”.

While over the course of the past 12 months, workforces have undergone many changes, the biggest reset of all is the move from HR technology to work technology. This means that everything an organisation purchases should be a tool that is geared for getting work done. 

The report also contends that HR tech has gone way beyond payroll and employee administration.

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These are the findings from this just-released comprehensive report, HR technology 2021: A definitive guide, from John Bersin Research.

“The big shift in 2021 is something that has been coming for a long time: A focus on employee experience (EX).  Employees just do not have the time, interest, or attention span to log into an HR system, poke around looking for the right page, and then enter their vacation schedule,” the report states.

“At most, employees would be willing to chat with the system – but ideally, this would be an easy-to-use app that just fits right into existing tools at work.”

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The report goes on to point out that the hottest part of the HR tech market involves tools for communications, surveys, case management, and knowledge management and for building new workflows, chatbots, and portals. This includes the likes of ServiceNow, Microsoft, Workday, SAP and Oracle.

The report adds that the expensive and complex employee portals developed by organisations are – to a large extent – being replaced by these tools.

Fundamentally, what is taking place is that HR software is no longer being developed with HR managers specifically in mind, but rather to make work easier.

“HR software used to be designed for HR managers. Today, it is designed for employees. That means that if it is not easy to use, easy to modify, and embedded into the flow of work – it won’t get used much at all. This is not an ease-of-use issue – it is a total redesign,” the report states.

Hence the shift from HR tech to work tech.