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Reflections from HR Tech World: what does the day after tomorrow look like?

By John Kostoulas | November 13, 2017 | 0 Comments

HCM TechHR transformation

Autumn is the time of the year for events, and HR Tech World (now Unleash) has been for me one of the anchors during the last few years. In Amsterdam this time, I enjoyed great conversations with HCM technology vendors, startups and HR/IT leaders – not to mention the numerous presentations.

In his Future of Work keynote, Peter Hinssen emphasized the fact that leaders are focusing very much on today, a lot less on tomorrow and almost not at all on the day after tomorrow (where most the value is). Is this true for HR? How would we then define today, tomorrow, day after tomorrow?


Image credit: 20th Century Fox

Today goes to employee experience. My first thought after HR Tech World was that employee experience has now become a lot more of an objective than an aspiration (or even worse, a wish). Many organizations presented related plans and projects, and many technology vendors seem to be approaching employee experience as a horizontal element to get consistent across their design processes and functional product lines.

Tomorrow goes to AI applications. AI applications were numerous, with AI-mania being a consistent phenomenon across HCM technology events this year. Chatbots in recruitment was the most populous new use case, as there seems to be a lot of activity in the last 6-9 months. But AI applications still have way to go. The many startups have to prove themselves as businesses (or exit/disappear early). Buyers have to become more sophisticated and distinguish real AI  from “AI-washed” applications. Vendors and buyers alike need to realize the importance of data, in terms of both quality and quantity, as the core factor towards AI applications’ accuracy and effectiveness.

What about the day after tomorrow? The Future of Work track at HR Tech World  showcased the fact that technologies are evolving alongside profound changes in the business and the workforce; and this is a two-way relationship. Although HR teams are piloting a good deal of the latest technologies, they are slower in realizing that technology adoption alone won’t save the day. Tomorrow’s business cannot be done with the organizational structures, the behavioral norms, the workforce composition and the decision-making ways of the past and present. Agility, autonomy, trust, inclusion, insights are some of the keywords to apply in the extended workforce of employees, contractors, freelancers (and robots). This is no easy task, for the typically process driven, employee-focused HR function, to wait for tomorrow.

Do you agree? How would you define the day after tomorrow for HR in your organization?




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