Human resources technology (HR tech) continues to be a booming industry. According to data compiled by CB Insights, investors poured more than $2.2 billion into the market, continuing a steady growth trend that reflects a 175 percent increase when compared to 2012’s investment totals.

All of this funding, in turn, has fed a steady stream of new vendors and products that have revolutionized how HR processes are managed — from the types of technology used to how businesses relate to the individual worker.

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How Are These Innovations Impacting HR?

1. Curated learning

Back in 2009,77 percent of businesses relied on instructor-led training for their employees. By 2016, that number had dropped to only 32 percent. In its place, collaborative, virtual, and video-based training programs have risen, and 26 percent of current businesses now provide massive open online course (MOOC)-like learning experiences to their staff.

These new platforms encourage an employee-driven educational experience, allowing users to browse and choose not only which courses to view but when they are consumed. And smart platforms can now push out microlearning courses— short, single-topic modules — to keep critical information in the minds of workers or to enable just-in-time education for infrequent processes.

2. Flexible management

With the advent of Agile methodology— particularly as it moves out of the programming arena and into project management — supervisors and HR staff are shifting their focus to proactive, team-based management. And these teams frequently change as employees shift from group to group.

Similarly, companies are leaning more heavily on freelance support. In fact, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that 40.4 percent of the national workforce is comprised of contingent employees.

As traditional management hierarchies and annual worker reviews become less common, companies are moving to HR tools and enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms that can track both project and worker performance dynamically via a goal-oriented framework. These offerings frequently feature easy-to-use team and project templates along with built-in survey and feedback mechanisms to streamline communication.

3. Employee analytics

Effective information management and use has long been a challenge for HR departments, and many businesses are finding new ways to drive increased value and knowledge share from their stores of employee data. In fact, research conducted by Deloitte found that the percentage of companies using predictive modeling in their HR processes nearly doubled between 2014 and 2016.

These analytics tools can help identify process bottlenecks that undermine performance and deliver useful predictions into future employee behavior. Some products currently on the market can:

  • Identify factors (e.g., commute times, pay scales) that can impact employee turnover
  • Analyze email and other communications to find potential security leaks
  • Recommend employee job changes that could result in increased productivity
  • Determine which communication methods and time management policies are most likely to meet with success
  • Predict which employees will likely become non-compliant in mandatory training certifications

By extension, pulse-based and event-based survey processes are also on the rise. Frequent touches — be they weekly, monthly, or quarterly — allow businesses to keep their finger on the pulse of company culture and gather more data to feed into analytics efforts. Similarly, by triggering surveys after a training or education session, learning management teams can track the effectiveness of current programs and identify knowledge gaps.

4. Cloud computing

Facing the constant challenge to do more with less, several firms are relying on cloud-managed HR solutions to cut out costs while adding new, innovative functionality. In fact, in 2016more than 40 percent of businesseshad transferred or were in the process of transferring at least one core HR process to a cloud-based platform.

5. Mobile devices

Given that American workers access their mobile phones in aggregate8 million times each day, these devices offer HR departments an unprecedented tool to connect to and communicate with employees both on and off the clock.

Not only does mobile access to employee benefit and support systems make life easier for workers, but it also fits seamlessly with self-guided learning programs. In fact, one study found that67 percent of eLearning studentsaccessed their courses via mobile devices.

The Next Step

There is no stopping innovation or human ingenuity. New products and vendors are constantly entering the market, and if your business doesn’t find a way to capitalize on these trends, you may quickly find yourself trailing behind competitors that do.

To learn how we can help streamline your education processes and work with your organization to build an innovative training program, check out a demo ofour compliance coursestoday.