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HR Tech 2016 recap: millennials, digital technology, and agility

HR Tech focused on an exciting new set of trends this year, including millennials in the workforce, the pervasiveness of digital technology, and the increasing need for agility. At the outset of the conference, Barry Libert, CEO at Open Matters LLC, and co-author of The Network Imperative: How to Survive and Thrive in the Age of Digital Business Models, kicked off with a keynote highlighting how digital networks are changing the way HR teams operate. Libert specifically pointed out that while most companies still lag behind the current consumer advancements of technology network leaders, strong workforce planning technologies are emerging that solve for the trend toward dynamic networks of individuals and teams across the organization. The disruption of HR is upon us—a theme that echoed throughout the course of the conference.

The new industrial revolution—reinventing HR

Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder at Bersin by Deloitte, presented on “Reinventing HR: A Radical New Approach to HR Technology and Solutions,” where he continued with the disruption theme and laid out the state of the new industrial revolution: People are working more hours, but U.S. productivity has slowed to a crawl over the last 10 years. This slowdown is surprising in a world where people are more connected than they have ever been. To address this fall in productivity, HR technologies need to catch up. Employees and teams must be equipped to keep up with the pace of business change. Most organizations, according to Bersin, are focused on a strategy supporting the traditional view of HR programs that serve the organization, rather than a strategy that focuses on the individual employee’s satisfaction and engagement.

Generally, employee investment needs to be a continual process—simply doing a performance review once a year isn’t enough. Additionally, to drive optimal performance, HR leaders must find a way to pull together and integrate information from multiple HR systems so they can track, for example, employee performance and flight risk. Proactive HR departments are leading the charge by investing in technologies that enable constant learning, feedback, and engagement at both the individual- and team-level. Simply put, the strength of the social network within a company impacts the strength of the company.

Is the social network really that important?

The impact of employee networks was reemphasized by Shakti Jauhar, SVP, Global HR Operations & Shared Services at PepsiCo, in his session, “Performance with Purpose—A Global HR Transformation Success Story in the Cloud.” Jauhar acknowledged that the demographics of the company’s employees are changing from individuals who plan to invest a large percentage of their careers at one company to millennials who will easily switch companies if they are unhappy. The strength of their ‘stickiness’, or loyalty to the organization can be correlated to the strength of their social network, or reach. This has become an increasingly important measure of leadership and employee engagement. With over 250,000 employees, PepsiCo’s HR team knew they needed to move fast and collaborate with team leaders to identify and retain top talent. While the team still continues to build its investment in digital technologies, the success of its initial investment was so successful that it has been able to shift its focus from finding top talent to instead invest in growing top talent from within.

Choosing the right workforce planning solution

Companies are embracing the need for HR technologies, but it is just as important to choose the right technologies. Mike Brown, Vice President, Talent Acquisition at Siemens America, highlighted key features in his presentation, “Transforming HR: Leveraging Cutting-Edge SaaS Tech for Strategic Talent Acquisition.” Brown explained that HR teams need to focus on insights and set new, higher standards—and an integrated user, candidate, and recruiting experience is key to achieve those standards. Additionally, the flexibility of the technology is crucial. As organizational changes are made, the technology should adjust to the needs of the people. This in stark contrast to the old days of requiring a change in the organization to fit a technology. Finally, analytics and planning are required to retain and acquire talent effectively. Overall, Brown believes these prerequisites for HR technology evaluation enable your team to set up a strong environment for HR operations that benefit employees.

Investing in knowing and measuring the value of your organization’s network—and knowing who the influencers and followers are—is necessary in order to acquire, maintain, and retain the best talent. With technology like Anaplan, you can focus on aligning your people and operational plans in one place—like Tableau did. Working in a single cloud-based platform enables your HR team to collaborate, align to business priorities, optimize talent needs, and adapt to change.

Reinvent your HR strategy through an investment in your people and technology. Check out Anaplan’s an upcoming live workforce planning demo to help you optimize for HR success.