5 Powerful HR & Recruiting Tech Trends in 2016

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The market is booming. I predict unemployment numbers will dip below 5% for the first time in Q1 of 2016. We’re experiencing a strong holiday retail season which points to a positive economic outlook for 2016. HR and recruiting technology purchases are on the rise as businesses and their senior leaders scramble to hire faster, retain employers better and ride the wave in the bull market we are experiencing. Laurie Ruettimann pointed out that 2016 is an election year. History shows for the last 75 years tthat when the market is good, there economy maintains during an election year. I’m happy to ride this economic wave and commit to not being pulled down by all the election trolls and banter especially on Facebook and Twitter from people who are driving me crazy.

In looking back at 2015, and now forward in 2016, I remain optimistic about the market and about the advancements, improvements and evolution I’m seeing, not just in HR and recruiting technologies, but in the entire HR industry.

#1 – Data Protection and Privacy

Given the recent Samsung hack, Target and Home Depot’s recent security troubles, human resource technology should be a priority for information technology professionals especially when you consider HRIS and ATS have a ton of personal data including social security numbers and bank data for employees who have their paychecks direct deposited every week. Confidentially, I’ve heard from a handful of practitioners who have experienced security breaches in recent months. Typically, it’s a recently terminated employee, however, hackers will get wise to the treasure trove of data contained within your HR technologies.

#2 – Mobile

A number of recruiting and employment branding technologies are finally offering mobile applications including mobile apply, employee engagement tools and messaging. While I don’t discount mobile HR technologies and tools, they just aren’t as sexy as mobile recruiting. However, I do see an increased demand for mobile employee communication platforms especially with Facebook@Work moving from their beta and being available at more companies. Flexible work schedules are increasingly common as more employees are working from home. Add in the increased focus on employee retention and employers are looking for ways to increase candidate touch points, leading to more candidate conversions which makes the decision to go mobile easy.

#3 – Machine Learning Growth and Evolution

I’ve had a love affair with machine learning and have enjoyed watching it evolve in the human resources and recruiting space. Machine learning software learns your preferences, interests and habits in order to save you time using the software. In doing so, the software is learning about what’s important to you and is able to react to problems and present you options, information and resources that you are likely looking for or would benefit you in some way. Machine learning has an obvious use case in training and gamification, and is something you use every day on LinkedIn through their suggested contacts feature. Machine learning is growing in the HR sphere, with technologies like PhenomPeople, a mobile candidate analytics and engagement technology. Also watch out for Saba’s Ted Technology and Simppler, two more machine learning HR tech products. There are a host of coding and test evaluation technologies that use machine learning as part of their offering.

#4 – Focus on Retention and Perks

A week doesn’t go by in the media where some Silicon Valley technology giant is receiving accolades and praise for their unlimited parental leave, breast milk delivery service or free lunches. Perks are good media and blog fodder. However, media doesn’t make for happy, engaged and retained employees. Many of these perks don’t provide a personalized approach which is why I’m seeing a new group of technologies which are providing a more personalized approach to perks and retention programs.

With the increase in HR data and analytics now available to practitioners through the use of analytics dashboards, data scientists and new reporting technologies that go far beyond an Excel Spreadsheet, we are able to better identify, understand, prepare and react to changes in retention. The data helps us identify how widely adopted the breast milk delivery service is, for example, and then directly correlate it to our decrease in turnover. As a mother who breastfed her daughter for the first six months after I returned from maternity leave, I love the perk in theory. I made do without the service with an office refrigerator and some careful planning.

#5 – Pre-Candidate Engagement

We’ve moved from talk of talent pipelines and networks to a new breed of HR and recruiting CRM. SalesForce, the CRM giant has partnered with several HR technology companies including TalentObjects and JobScience. These aren’t exactly the same as the customer relationship manager but similar in format. They are a candidate-relationship-manager hybrid that helps elevate an employer’s existing recruitment marketing activities and employer branding.

In 2015, I outlined the new era of personalization. The CRM helps organize and automate our candidate engagement as the recruiting and hiring cycle is longer and more complex than even 2 years ago. Employers, especially those who are aggressively hiring in markets like tech, healthcare and finance, are focusing on the long tail relationship with candidates to make better hires and more quickly which is critical especially in this marketplace where all employers are competing for global talent versus who’s residing in their own backyard.

Where does 2016 have in store for us? I’ve never been more excited about the future of HR and recruitment especially with the likelihood that the economy will at least maintain if not continue to improve. This is our chance as HR and recruiting leaders to take action and lead an organization during a time of focus on retention, development and business growth. Doing so will finally give HR and recruiters the opportunity to cement their importance in the organization.

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