Technology has been radically changing the way we work and the way we perceive work. It makes sense that technology has been also transforming the way HR attracts, retains and develops talent with their constantly evolving skills and needs. As we kick off 2019, I sat down with Scott Mills, who is heading to the HR Directors Summit, to discuss what three HR trends he hopes to spot at the show this year.
Ania Osińska-Bulloff: Both of us were at Unleash 2018 not so long ago, where pretty much all keynote speakers focused on engagement, productivity, efficiency and digital well-being. It’s always interesting to visit shows like these, because they look at what’s been happening in the HR and Tech industries, but also forecast the future of workplaces, or working in general. What stuck with you at Unleash?
Scott Mills: Three things are clear to me after Unleash. First, the future of HR is moving more and more towards automation and streamlining processes even further. This was evident from the amount of companies providing software to streamline all processes from recruitment, to engagement, and feedback.
Second, recruitment software was heavily represented at the show. It seems necessary going forward, especially software that takes the bias out of the process, software that proofreads CV’s/applications, and puts the best ones forward.
Third, technology is being embraced in all aspects of HR, and there seems to be more and more companies providing similar solutions. Meaning, businesses have to not only offer a superior product, but must also offer the best user, or employee, experience.
Ania: Agreed, Employee Experience was certainly one of the buzz words, and humanizing technology, or keeping HR tech human, was discussed equally often. Like you said, tech entered the HR world mostly for automation purposes, to remove the mundane tasks. Then slowly, it became the system of records, helping digitize HR files, etc. But it’s pretty clear that tech in HR has since progressed to become the system of Employee Engagement. That’s quite the journey! An interesting take away for me was the fact engagement is so closely tied to productivity. One of the speakers defined engagement as the energy to get stuff done.
"One of the speakers defined engagement
as the energy to get stuff done."
Scott: I agree with this definition. I believe Employee Engagement is such an important subject in recent times as companies are becoming more aware of the fact that happy employees = higher productivity = happier customers = everyone benefits!
I believe that nowadays companies are more aware of the cost of unhappy employees, the cost of replacing them, and the cost of recruiting and training new employees. They realize that by creating a better working environment, where staff feel more engaged with their company and colleagues, they are not only working towards keeping these initial costs down. They are also improving the company environment as a whole, which will result in things like a lower turnover rate, higher productivity, and ultimately an increase in revenue when all is said and done.
Ania: You’ll be traveling with your team to the HR Directors Summit in a few days, do you think Employee Engagement will continue to be the number one focus of the show?
Scott: I think it will definitely be up there in the top three. Quite a few sessions at the HRD this year are devoted to this topic. I see speakers making the connection between happy employees and happy customers, discussing how to improve happiness and productivity, and connection being the foundation of a healthy company culture. If companies want to retain and improve their current staff, whilst also harboring ambitions to scale-up successfully, then Employee Engagement is a subject that first needs to be understood, then mastered!
Though, I see that this year it's employee well-being that also takes centre stage.
You can meet Scott at the 2019 HRD Summit. He'll be happy to schedule some time to grab a cup of coffee and discuss other HR trends.
Ania: The digital well-being was definitely thoroughly discussed at Unleash on many levels.
I saw a fascinating presentation from the author of ‘Homo Distractus’ who talked about managing tech, without completely giving up tech, improving focus and well-being. Her presentation was part of the larger trend to disable (most) notifications, use a Snooze button, or a Do Not Disturb button we know here at Speakap.
There was also a broader look at the topic, from health and wellness, to productivity and energy, all the way to discussions around time off and flexible workplaces, as well as employees’ financial well-being.
Scott: I have no doubt we will hear a lot about championing employee well-being at HRD as well. As I mentioned earlier, happy employees = higher productivity = happier customers = higher revenue = everyone benefits!
Ania: Happy employees are engaged and feel empowered and energized to get stuff done. There is one more trend that drives Employee Engagement, and is also part of the Employee Experience package. Mainly, learning, micro-learning, development and career models of the future.
Scott: I think we are going to see and hear a LOT on this subject at the event. And in general, when speaking to HR Directors and Engagement Officers in the coming weeks and months.
I think it definitely ties in with the Employee Experience as a whole. Employers want to improve the whole experience in every aspect of work for their staff, including providing a platform for self-improvement during working hours, and if that can be done using tech, why not?
Meet Scott Mills at the 2019 HRD Summit on Tuesday, February 5th and Wednesday, February 6th, and check out Speakap Managing Director UK & Ireland, Guy Chiswick’s presentation on “HR Perceptions vs. Employee Realities: How to Bridge the Internal Communications Gap” on day one at 12:55 pm.