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Which hot new tools in HR technology are working and getting employees' attention? CedarCrestone, a consulting firm that focuses on future technologies, recently released its annual HR Systems Survey, which suggests how companies should invest HR-tech dollars — and identifies the most valuable tech tools HR teams are using today. 

According to the report, companies of all sizes are looking to spend more on HR technology: nearly half (49 percent) of large companies (10,000+ employees) are increasing their spending, while 41 percent of small companies (200-2,500 employees) and 46 percent of medium companies (2,500-10,000 employees) are increasing HR tech budgets. The problem for companies — no matter the size — is where to spend the money and on what. Lexy Martin, vice president of research and analytics at CederCrestone, recommends some technology options that companies should focus on:

Strategy Trumps Administrative Processes

By replacing paper manuals and outdated systems with new HR technologies, a company's Human Resources team can focus more on strategic planning and less on administrative duties. "Increased HR cost efficiency is most strongly correlated with an increase in service delivery applications: employee and manager self service, a role-based portal, and for some, an HR-oriented help desk application," writes Martin.

As employees begin to use these HR management systems, social and mobile functions can yield greater business value and return:

  • Social: Tools like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter continue to be powerful for employees and recruiters. Employees use these sites to learn from and communicate with one another. The survey found that 48 percent of recruiting staffs and 17 percent of hiring managers use these tools in as part of their hiring process today.
  • Mobile: Employees are turning to mobile — up 67 percent since 2012 — to complete tasks through HR portals. Mobile apps are now being used by employees for payroll purposes (to change exemptions and view paychecks), to recruit and for performance management activities. On-the-go access has never been so appealing.

Put Data in the Hands of Top Executives

Companies that have already adopted certain HR technologies can best leverage the value of these technologies by providing managers with more workforce data. With the data, top executives can make better decisions about salaries, training and recruiting. Martin suggests: "Focus on either adding discrete business intelligence/workforce analytics solutions or on ensuring that any new HR technologies have superlative embedded analytics capabilities." 

While data provides great potential, there is still room for improvement: only 28 percent of managers are directly accessing HR data at high-performance companies, compared to 18 percent at other companies, according to the survey.

The survey also identifies two emerging technologies to keep an eye on:

  1. Big Data: Twelve percent of respondents use Big Data to meet business outcomes — a seven percent increase from last year. While it's still slow to grow, Martin writes, "We believe Big Data will have legs for the long run, but we do not see it as mainstream for at least three years." 
  2. Gamification: Only 30 percent of respondents have adopted game-based tools. Like Big Data, gamification is slow to get off the ground, but in the future, Martin hopes to see higher user adoption and therefore greater employee engagement. 

 

Download the full survey.

 

Photo: Can Stock