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Trends in HR Technology for 2022

The trends in human resource (HR) technology continue to be affected by the shift to remote work during the pandemic and the need to support essential workers.
Young business man video conference calling using computer working from home office.

In the midst of an ongoing pandemic, HR technology continues to serve as a key asset for HR leaders. The ability to disseminate information to a remote workforce is made easier when the proper digital communication channels are in place. Small businesses may also realize that now is the time to capitalize on trends in HR tech and upgrade their systems to help remain in compliance with applicable employee-related laws and regulations, effectively track time, process payroll, and maintain employee information. For larger corporate structures, advances in human resource technology are helping HR leaders become even more engaged in their company's overall strategic objectives.

According to the results from the 2021 Paychex Pulse of HR Survey, 98% of HR leaders reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed their role. With this transformation comes an even more critical focus on technology — for the first time ever, HR technology has emerged as the leading focus for HR professionals (with 81% of HR leaders having reported it as their top priority). More than 85% of professionals surveyed reported that technology "allows them to be more strategic in their roles" and "improves the employee experience." In a time when retention challenges are at an all-time high, this strategy-first approach can bring a critical competitive edge to effective employee management.

What Is HR Technology?

This broad term can encompass support for a wide range of complex business functions — payroll, time and attendance, benefits, talent acquisition, and more — served by software and other forms of technology in human resources. From a new generation of employee self-service to continued learning tools, the use of technology in HR management allows professionals to take on a more strategic role within their organization.

What Are the Latest HR Technology Trends for 2022?

A variety of HR technologies are helping HR professionals manage their biggest challenges today, with other technologies likely to appear in the future. Here's a brief look into the future trends in HR technology:

Widespread Availability of Employee Self-Service Tools

Increasingly, employees want to access and manage their personal information. With an employee self-service (ESS) system, employees can perform a range of HR-related tasks without filing paperwork with HR. Depending on the specific ESS system, employees can:

  • Confirm employer-initiated employment status updates, rate of pay, and other changes

  • Update personal information

  • View federal, state, or local tax withholding information

Self-service technology may also allow leadership to communicate changes in health plan coverage, company holidays, and other time-sensitive information. It can also be useful in assisting employees who want to expand the range of their skills and knowledge through an online learning management system.

The rise of self-service technology can be attributed, in part, to changing demographics within the workforce. According to research from the Paychex The Future of Work report, millennial and Generation Z workers are increasingly requesting more options regarding accessibility to HR functions through self-service tools. An ESS system can provide HR information faster and more efficiently. The implementation of this HR technology can result in a rise in employee engagement, thus benefiting the entire organization.

Emphasis on Employee Wellness, Safety, and Support

Another significant trend in HR expected to continue in 2022 is employee wellness, safety, and support. Providing employees with a safe and healthy work environment is critical to maintaining a strong workforce, especially amid labor shortages and staffing difficulties. Programs addressing employee health and work/life balance are widespread, with momentum building to meet the physical and emotional needs of growing numbers of remote workers (and those who serve the company on a flexible work schedule).

The stress of shifting routines both at work and home may also prompt the need for additional mental health resources. Companies may want to allocate benefits dollars toward an employee assistance program (EAP). When adopted, managers throughout the company can refer employees to this important benefit.

Video resources such as Skype, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams are proving to be highly effective resources for sharing wellness-focused webinars and updated safety guidelines. Remote employees can also be updated via social media feeds on new in-house wellness initiatives and related efforts. This is a useful way to inspire and encourage remote employees to participate in team challenges, leaderboards, and other social options.

Expansion of HR Capabilities

Technology can be a great resource for everything from recruiting new employees to recording time worked by employees and pushing out communications, but some areas of HR will always require trained professionals. Salary negotiations, conflict mediation, and strategy setting may be areas of focus for HR personnel, while ramping up the use of HR technology can help automate much of the work involved with new-hire training, time tracking, and benefits administration. HR teams are continually expected to do more, so technology can help bridge any potential labor gaps, and allow HR professionals to have more time to focus on strategic tasks.

Embracing Hybrid Work Environments

For many companies, the pandemic caused an immediate shift to remote work. This illuminated gaps in technology services, where further investment was often required. For example, job interviews and much of the hiring process may have previously taken place in the office. When this was not possible due to lockdowns or travel restrictions, many companies embraced technology, which enabled them to complete the interview process virtually.

With an investment in technology to support remote operations, companies can now leverage hybrid capabilities to build in additional flexibility for employees. New-hire training and onboarding are HR functions that might now take place in hybrid environments, with some employees on-site and others joining remotely. Organizations can also leverage technology to communicate with remote employees more seamlessly, allowing for expanded hybrid schedule offerings. By using technology to embrace the hybrid work model, HR professionals can stay more competitive in today's current hiring landscape.

Increased Focus on Strategic Initiatives

In the future, HR technology can help guide further shifts in company strategy by identifying critical skills that may be needed. For example, manufacturing companies may have shifted away from their traditional products to help meet the demand for personal protective equipment for healthcare workers. If a company must quickly adapt a business line, HR technology can help identify and leverage the versatile skills of current staff members to help take the business in a new direction. In this way, a business may have a greater chance of long-term success.

Future HR Technology Challenges

In 2022 and beyond, HR professionals may continue to face challenges from both organizational leaders and the employees they serve. When elevating new investments, consider technology that supports both remote workers and those onsite. Using technology to facilitate faster, more informed decision-making throughout the company may be even more urgently needed in the next few years.

Hiring and Retaining Workers

Due to changes in the hiring landscape as a direct result of the pandemic, HR professionals may find themselves struggling to hire and retain a full staff. Dubbed "The Great Resignation," many workers in the past few years have quit their jobs or have searched for new pursuits in search of better pay and benefits, increased flexibility, and more job satisfaction overall. These shifts have left employers scrambling to refill their labor pool and fighting for high-quality candidates.

Unfortunately, this shift in the labor market has only added fuel to the fire, with many candidates demanding increased compensation packages, large hiring bonuses, and expanded benefits offerings. Applicants have the upper hand in today's job market, which affords them the ability to be extremely selective when accepting an offer.

To remain competitive in this environment, employers may need to rethink their benefits programs, and HR technology is one way to gain an edge. For example, technology can help employers and HR teams quickly compare benefits program costs and offerings, and identify benefits that resonate most with today's current job candidates.

Helping Employers Reach the Right Candidates

Today's competitive hiring landscape makes it more critical for employers to identify the right candidates quickly. A key resource for successful recruiting and hiring is a customized applicant tracking system. This technology is often designed to ensure that qualified candidates don't slip through the cracks. It can streamline the process by making it easier for job candidates to submit their materials online, which in turn can enable hiring managers and HR professionals to better access the information they need from a single interface.

An applicant tracking solution can also:

  • Standardize the processes for job postings, interview scheduling, and hiring workflows for more efficient, consistent results.

  • Improve accuracy and time savings for HR and applicants alike (potentially saving employers more money with each new hire).

  • Enable job seekers to submit applications anytime through a mobile phone or from a desktop computer, and then log into the system for an update on their application status.

Advanced recruitment software can also strengthen a company's internal application process, so more candidates have an opportunity to find your open position.

Demands for Faster Decision-Making

Increasingly, companies depend upon data to make key operational decisions. With HR analytics, businesses can identify areas of exposure to risk and help devise effective solutions. Investment in analytics technology also eases the process of linking company data to critical decisions made around staffing, compensation and benefits, scheduling, and so on. It paves the way to a deeper understanding of which processes work well and where improvements are needed. The ability to ingest new information, predict its effect on the business, and make the necessary changes may ultimately be keys to some companies' survival.

A Data-Driven Approach to Administering Benefits

Even in the best of times, benefits administration can be an area where the abundance of data can feel overwhelming if it's improperly structured. On the other hand, effective benefits management technology can efficiently provide and monitor all types of benefits packages, better positioning a company and its HR team for success. Technology can also help to identify which benefits are currently being used and viewed as desirable by the workforce, and which benefits are underutilized. A data-driven approach helps companies gather the information needed for effective compliance reporting and benefits administration.

Performance Management and Continued Learning

New performance management techniques are transforming the way businesses conduct employee reviews and goal-setting. These changes reflect the ongoing need to prioritize employee development, ensuring that skills are up-to-date and that employees continuously learn and better understand the culture in which they operate. As the workplace changes, HR technology provides a more efficient means of adjusting performance management metrics.

Learning management software can be a solution to providing access to online courses that enable businesses to achieve their performance management and continued learning objectives. This learning management system (LMS) technology often incorporates:

  • Advanced digital user interfaces for online training courses for both on-site and remote workers

  • Selections from training course libraries customized for specific industry or workplace demands

  • Enhanced content such as easily imported videos and valuable third-party content from other providers

HR technology that reinforces employee training as a top priority can help ensure that all employees, regardless of their physical location, remain engaged, focused, and are continually honing their skills. This in turn often leads to improved employee retention for a business.

Using HR Technology To Help Fuel Success

As change continues to impact businesses, HR professionals must identify and implement solutions that can help address challenges affecting both the workforce and the company at large. Learn more about how effective HR technology can help in organizations like yours.

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* This content is for educational purposes only, is not intended to provide specific legal advice, and should not be used as a substitute for the legal advice of a qualified attorney or other professional. The information may not reflect the most current legal developments, may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct, or up-to-date.