Viewpoint: HR Systems of Record Have Evolved Considerably

Over the last decade there has been a
tremendous change in HR technology as we have shifted from licensed software to
cloud-based systems and now to mobile apps.


As this technology architecture has changed,
the needs of businesses have changed as well–leading to a new market for HR
technology, one being reinventing itself before our eyes.

Decades ago, we used to think of HR systems as
systems of record. They were mainframe or client/server systems that stored all
the vital data about our employees; they were supposed to be kept for decades
into the future; they held critical financial data, including salary histories,
job histories, and benefits and bonus histories; and important compliance data
for payroll, tax, anti-discrimination and other government policies.
As the Internet evolved and we started using PCs and web browsers to access
systems, the HR software market shifted toward systems of engagement. During
that period, we saw an explosion of growth in talent management software, as
companies needed help dealing with the war for talent.

that phase we saw hundreds of software companies building applicant tracking
systems, learning management systems, performance management systems and,
later, compensation and integrated talent management systems. All these systems
were designed to be used by employees (the prior generation of systems was
primarily used by HR) so they had to be easy to use. Vendors and HR departments
focused on buying systems that employees would find attractive and easy to use.

As this shift occurred, we tried to buy and
build systems that employees found useful. We deployed lots of learning
management tools, user profiles, social systems, goal-setting systems and
tools for employee screening and interview management—all with an intention of
making employees’ work easier. I’d say that we were somewhat successful in this
effort, but what we discovered is that most employees don’t really like doing
“HR stuff” that much, so they only used the software when they
had to. In a Bersin by Deloitte 2014 study of performance management software,
for example, we found that 86 percent of companies felt that their goal-setting
systems were “not worth the time they put into them.”

Companies eventually reached a point where
mobile apps, video and consumer-based systems became so popular that people
just stopped using these older systems. (For example, most companies claim that
today their learning management system is only used for compliance purposes.)

This created a new market, the one we are
seeing today: a market for HR tools that drive productivity and actually make
work easier! This third wave, which is built largely around mobile apps
that recommend actions and present easy-to-use data, is a huge change for HR.

We are in an amazing new time for technology:
New tools like Slack, Workplace by Facebook, HipChat and dozens of other
innovative new tools are starting to change the way we work. These
are tools that make collaboration easy, reduce the constant flow of noise that
comes from e-mail and are more familiar to people who grew up on social
networks. And, yes, they can do lots of HR things, too (often through plug-ins
or embedded apps).

The future of HR software is now very clear.
We need to build and buy systems that make work easier; make life better; and
help us learn, give feedback, collaborate and get aligned. These new systems
are built as mobile apps, they require little to no training, and they are so
engaging you can use them while standing in line at the coffee shop. If your
new tools do these kinds of things, you’re in good shape. However, if
they’re "easy to use" but not very “useful,” you
probably have some work to do.

To be successful in the business world, you
need to have more than a strong work ethic and dedicated employees. You need to
give your company the capabilities and tools to grow along with the rest of
your competitors. The next big move in HR is utilizing technology to
communicate and collaborate effectively. This change can be scary to tackle at
first; these systems create a whole new market that businesses must adapt to at
a fast pace. If you’re unsure where to begin, or want to consult a team of
trained HR professionals, Converge HR Solutions offers a wide range of
services. We understand the changes coming your way, and we are here to help. Visit our website for more information Contact us directly at or 610-296-8550.



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