2021 in HR: Increasing Adoption of Technology


Cloud-based HR technology has increased in usage across industries for several years, as it provides HR teams with the ability to provide timely and accurate information, automatically calculate data and performance, and alleviate manual work done at the hands of physical HR teams, writes Matt Thomas, president, Worksmart Systems, Inc.

Going into 2021, leveraging cloud-based HR technology will become not just a great complementary component to HR teams, but essential for HR functions as companies continue to manage hybrid and remote workforces.

HR technology is vast in capabilities but serves one ultimate purpose: to optimize the many facets of HR operations. This is a desperately needed capability in a time when teams may be limited, and responsibilities are overflowing. 2020 provided organizations with a glimpse at what they needed to ensure success in the next year, and one of the most crucial components was the faster integration of technology.

I have tapped additional industry leaders to share their perspectives on how HR technology will play a major part in company success in 2021 and beyond.

Technology Will Improve Job Alignment

The more unique strengths and abilities an employee has, the more essential they will become in the 2021 work environment. Traditional job titles and responsibilities are decreasing, while the need for personalization and an array of interests and strengths is increasing. As 2020 showed companies, we can never fully prepare for future changes. Having a team equipped with an arsenal of different interests and skills can provide a safety net for many potential situations.

Identifying the set of skills, strengths, and interests of employees may be challenging, however technology solutions, such as performance management software can help organization leaders and even the employees themselves identify the areas and skills best suited to them.

Summer CrenshawOpens a new window , CEO of CAYPRO expands on the rising importance of uncovering employee strengths and how companies can gain that insight. She says, “As more companies dip their toes in the contingent workforce, we will see a shift in how companies view contingent labor. More focus is going to be placed on the individual to create their own path within a company. Companies will do more with technology solutions to better leverage people’s strengths and place them in roles that better match their interests and expertise.”

Learn More: How Technology Changes Job Prospects and Hiring for People With DisabilitiesOpens a new window

Software Automation Will Streamline Processes

The hiringOpens a new window and onboardingOpens a new window processes are notorious for being lengthy and requiring countless hours of work –– including candidate screeningsOpens a new window , interviewsOpens a new window , setting up payrollOpens a new window , distributing materials for training and filling out paperwork. For companies to maximize the opportunity for success in 2021, HR teams need to prioritize their time on processes requiring physical attention. Where HR teams can utilize automation, they should. In fact, Traitify’s CEO, Dan SinesOpens a new window says, “Our industry has seen significant developments in automation over the last few years, but 2021 will be the year every HR team will streamline at least one major process —screening, assessment, onboarding — through software automation.”

Technology Will Maximize Collaboration

In 2021, organizations will likely see a blended workforce, with some or maybe most teams working from remote locations. Without the ability to reinforce company culture and employee engagement efforts in person, companies need an alternative option. Technology provides the opportunity to continue building relationships and bonds with our team members; ensuring their wellbeing is a top priority despite the lack of physical interaction. Employee engagement can be supported by technology solutions such as video conferencing platforms, gamification, and collaboration tech tools like Slack. Prioritizing employee engagementOpens a new window provides several benefits not only for your employees but for the company itself. In fact, a recent Gallup pollOpens a new window reported higher engagement rates lead to higher productivity, better retention, and 21 percent higher profitability.

Jennifer SchwalbOpens a new window , CPO of Ceros says ––

“Leaders will be more focused on employee engagement. Being intentional in finding moments to collaborate, engage in conversation, and provide opportunities for virtual activities. It’s more important than ever that we are deliberate in providing moments for inspiration, creativity and some light-hearted fun into our workdays. Whether that’s virtual gaming, bringing in experts to discuss relevant topics that we face today, or leveraging new software where collaboration is better, we need to continually evolve. We also need to ensure we are hearing our people, whether it’s through more pulse surveys, engagement surveys or just honest 1:1 conversations. This will ensure we are receiving regular feedback and able to adjust to what our people are yearning for, whether it’s from an engagement standpoint, communication or learning. It’s imperative that we provide space for everyone to be heard, to lead with empathy, and to show that our people are first.”

Learn More: 5 Ways Collaboration Can Solve the Challenges for HR and Payroll

Remote Work Is Reshaping the Employment Landscape

With employees growing accustomed to the ease of working from home, it is crucial to understand a shift in needs and priorities is occurring. Because of technology and its vast capabilities, employees are beginning to see the benefits of remote work — no commute time, more flexibility and more independence.

Laure FisherOpens a new window , COO, and Co-Founder of CallTrackingMetricsOpens a new window says –

“In 2020, companies had to quickly adapt to the idea of employees working from home. Almost instantly, finding ways to manage productivity became a top priority for leadership. For example, with call centers, before the pandemic, they didn’t allow employees to have their cell phones on their desks. Now, with the ability to work from home, those employees feel empowered in their own environments without the constant looking over their shoulder. In 2021, we will see more productivity and management tools become available in the market to better manage employees in an effective and not overbearing way.”

On the flip side, we are seeing traditional workplace priorities, such as company culture and team relationships becoming less important to employees. In fact, Mark McWattersOpens a new window , VP, Sales at AmbitionOpens a new window says, “If the economy recovers, turnover will skyrocket because company cultureOpens a new window is harder than ever, people were scared shitless in March/April and are less loyal now. People can take interviews, search, be approached, etc. much easier from home. And the intangibles like ‘I will miss working with X person at my company’ are less obvious. It will be all about how can I maximize my money while having an actual life with my family/friends.”

Learn More: 5 Must-Have Remote Work Tools to Use After COVID-19Opens a new window

As organizations prepare for the year ahead, it is crucial to use technology to maximize your business operations. Although 2020 is over, the new workplace environment and changes it created will follow us into 2021. Stay ahead of the upcoming workplace evolutions by turning to technology now.