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Digital trends in human resources for autumn 2015

Human resources departments are resorting more and more to technology and digital tools to achieve their objectives. These tools are evolving constantly, which means HR departments have to anticipate the trends to make the best use of their current resources. For candidates, it is just as important to stay up to date with the latest developments so that they can adjust their personal branding and their job applications. With this in mind, here is an overview of digital trends in human resources for autumn 2015.

Digital HR trends for autumn 2015: anticipating transformations in training

Companies are more aware than ever of the importance of training: of more than 3,300 HR and business leaders from 106 countries surveyed on behalf of the audit firm Deloitte, 85% considered the question of learning to be “important” or “very important”, a rise of 15 points compared with 2014. Training is certainly the HR sector that has been most affected by digital technology in recent years. And yet very few companies so far have a mature approach to these new resources.

Faced with this challenge, Human Resources departments must reinvent the learning process and take the plunge into digital technology and online training. The stakes are high: companies that have successfully transformed their training strategy have not only accelerated the skills development of their staff, but also significantly increased their level of engagement.

As an example of the successful integration of digital technology into HR training, imagine someone asking questions in a room of studious learners. Perhaps, the person in question is a Google employee talking to other employees. Thanks to the “Googler to Googler” programme, the staff take on the role of teacher.

HR trends Googler to googler

With the “Googler to Googler” programme, employees train other employees

The Mountain View-based company aims to share knowledge, helps colleagues make progress with their skills and give them the experience of being a teacher. Digital technology, in the form of the software, computers and tablets used during the sessions, provide appropriate support in the transfer and acquisition of knowledge.

While Google uses the power of its employees’ expertise, other examples demonstrate the benefits of digital technology for HR training.

For example, employees are as keen as ever on Moocs, digital training, teaching videos and cloud-based training platforms, offering more personalised learning with on-demand content that is easy to assimilate and also available on mobile devices. Free, easy to access… the benefits of these systems are multiple. The market is still relatively untapped and rich in promise, even if, according to Deloitte, only 25% of organisations feel comfortable with this new digital training environment.

Deloitte survey training tools

Results of the Deloitte survey on the use of training tools (source: Deloitte)

Another area where digital technology can contribute to training is blended learning. Autumn 2015 is likely to see an acceleration in these programmes, which combines e-learning with traditional learning methods.

Nestlé recently set up a programme in which teams from varied backgrounds carried out product development while gaining the opportunity to take greater responsibility for the design and development thanks to digital technology. To facilitate this, Nestlé produced presentation videos for online and offline use. The goal was to lay the foundations for training to become a lever able to transform the company in the digital environment.

Digital trends in human resources for autumn 2015: the development of SaaS

This autumn is also likely to be marked by the development of SaaS (Software as a Service), which will gradually replace ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and tools developed in-house. SaaS represents a set of complete services offered by a supplier and accessible over any Internet connection which, unlike ERPs, does not need installed softwares.

Convinced by its benefits, companies are building more and more HR information systems based on a talent management framework in SaaS mode. Thanks to the SaaS, the HR function can free itself from technical constraints and its dependence on IT to refocus on its core activity. The use of software also enables employees based in different places to exchange information. Another benefit of SaaS systems is their flexibility in adapting to constant evolution in HR practice, creating an ecosystem of exchange.

Talent management solution SAAS mode

Talent management solution in SaaS mode (source: tehms.com)

As a result, SaaS systems are growing steadily: according to a recent study, 82% of managers declared themselves familiar with cloud-based tools in 2014, compared with only 42% in 2011.

Major corporations already have strong positions in cloud technology, such as the so-called GAFA companies (Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple), Microsoft and Salesforce.

Acclaimed for its flexibility and efficiency, the technology appears to have promising times ahead. However, although they sense the need to put new HR solutions in place, 54% of the professionals surveyed by Deloitte feel paradoxically unready to launch this kind of project, due largely to a lack of “user experience”, which is one of the conditions for the adoption and deployment of SaaS-type solutions.

Digital HR trends for autumn 2015: company scoring by employees, nurturing the employee and the company

The emergence of sites where employees can score their companies, such as the very successful Glassdoor, demonstrate that employees are claiming the right to speak. HR quality labels that do not pay enough attention to employees’ opinions will see their image suffer.

Where Human Resources departments previously liked to promote the company as being perfect in every way, they now have to reflect these transformations and place employees at the heart of the business.

This new corporate sensitivity to employees’ expectations will enable HR departments to focus more on the company’s image as an employer. For Marianne Laigneau, HR director at EDF, “employees must be repositioned at the centre of the company, which includes giving them the opportunity to express themselves and make a contribution”.

Why not use these sites to gather feedback that might not have been available in the past? The comments and scores also enable candidates to be better informed, and thus more likely to correspond to the company’s real needs. HR departments need to take all these factors into account in order to negotiate the digital revolution successfully.

Digital HR trends for autumn 2015: new rules of the game

In this constantly shifting panorama, certain trends are only just beginning to emerge and others are more firmly established. One thing is certain, however: the changes introduced by digital technology are more than just a passing fashion; they represent new rules for the game that HR departments have to play.

For Deloitte, the sizeable investments in new technology made in recent years have not yet paid off. The expenditure has not been sufficiently matched by investment in developing the team’s skills and managing change. If the transformation is to be a success, it is important to put the issues of learning, engagement and the working environment at the heart of the project.

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