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Think MarTech is the only landscape that deserves a massive infographic? According to Capterra, with 547 HR software products identified across 17 categories like benefits, training, recruiting, talent management and others, the HR technology landscape seems to be following a similar growth spurt as its marketing sister.

However, no matter how tall that HR stack grows, there’s always one question that HR leaders need to ask themselves when it comes to technology, advises Dominique Jones, chief people officer at Ottawa, Ontario-based Halogen Software:

How can the technology enable what’s going on in my business?

Dominique Jones
“I see a big change with respect to alignment in business and to the business from a technology standpoint,” said Jones. “It used to be that business happened on one side of the fence, and technology happened on the other side. It’s no longer that way.”

Jones noted that this push for alignment of HR and business objectives is prompting several trends that leaders should pay attention to this year.

4 Trends to Know

1. HR Tech Will Become More Flexible and Agile

“HR technology is becoming more and more woven into the fabric of what happens every day in an organization,” said Jones. “Whether measuring productivity, engagement or managing performance, it’s much more part of day-to-day operations than it ever was before.”

Because of this changing role, Jones believes that technology will need to be more flexible and agile to accommodate the ever-changing needs of the organization.

“Business requirements and the challenges placed on employees change all the time,” she said. “Technology needs to follow and support that.”

2. Technology Will Shift from HR to Everyone Else

Jones believes that this year, we’ll see HR technology move beyond the walls of that functional unit, to become valuable tools for business leaders, managers and employees across the organization.

“HR technology used to be something just for HR, but it’s becoming less and less for HR, and more and more something that can help leaders manage things on a daily basis,” she said.

She added that this shift is putting much more ownership and accountability on employees than we’ve seen in the past.

“The reality is that I see our leaders doing a lot of things that HR would typically do for them,” said Jones. “Now they’re doing it themselves.”

3. HR Tech Will Facilitate Feedback and Coaching

Because technology is more accessible, Jones expects we will see more leaders providing guidance to their teams on an ongoing basis.

“Because it’s at your fingertips, you can have those conversations and record them, plan your one-on-one agendas in real time, and give feedback in real time at the click of a button,” she said.

“Think about mobile and HR technology being flexible – leaders doing performance and development activities from iPads and iPhones,” she continued. “That didn’t happen before.”

4. Data-Driven Conversations Will Bring HR More Credibility

Finally, Jones believes that reporting and data will help HR professionals base their conversations and positions on actual facts and hard numbers, which will result in increased credibility.

“Great technology has helped the HR profession gain that credibility and take conversations on par with others going on within the business,” she said. “Whether it’s predictive or not, it really strengthens the conversation.”

And, rather than technology replacing HR professionals, Jones noted that technology has helped good HR people get smarter, as well as kept them around.

“This shift helps us think more strategically, proactively, and understand how the dots connect. Technology really helps us do that.”

Title image "Resume building?" (CC BY 2.0) by The_Gut