New role for HR Operations?

With the fast changing HR software market towards HR apps, the HR function is confronted with new questions and challenges including a new role for HR Operations. 30th, August 2016   by Frank Roebroek.

HR Tech developments over the last 25 years

The HR Tech landscape is changing rapidly as experts are pointing out. Traditionally HR technology focused on providing expert systems that helped and supported HR in executing their tasks. The first focus was on payroll and systems of records. Later on this shifted towards add-on’s in various talent applications. The last decade or so the focus is on integrated talent suites, preferably in the cloud, fit for mobile use and focused also more on the end-user with self service possibilities for employees and managers. But again the HR software market is changing radically. The latest trend is towards HR apps which almost completely focus on employee and managerial needs.

New trend in HR Tech is in apps

As I stated earlier some expert’s claim more than 200 HR tech start ups are established in the US every quarter. The fast majority is designing and developing HR apps. The apps are designed for employees and aim to support employees in their daily challenges. The applications focus on a wide variety of areas, such as On-Boarding, Health & Wellness, feedback, productivity, learning, engagement and so on. Several applications such as Impraise, Nuklius, TruQu were mentioned in earlier posts but the list of Apps is endless. Some companies have already created an “all mobile” environment in which all applications that employees use are in one environment: “The app of apps”. The new HR Tech world will be app based and employee-centric ( see also “The HR Software Market Reinvents itself” from Josh Bersin)

New role for HR operations

Employers start to understand employees want the same experience inside as outside the company. Employees want everything ready and available at their fingertips, simple and intuitive. Therefore employers are seriously looking into this new arena. Today the expertise in many organizations on these developments is limited. At the same time there are serious questions to be answered. How do we leverage these new developments? How do we ensure the HR-IT landscape can cater for these new trends? And so on. These developments are also not just technical IT issues. They empower employees in areas that are now strictly the domain of HR. Implementing these apps will have direct consequences for the current ways of working in organization. Policies and processes will need to be reviewed and changed to be able to leverage these new and exiting innovations.

How to organize for these developments?

In most larger organizations HR Operations manages HR IT and HR processes, so they do not only have the technical skill-set but also the required HR knowledge. They also have the oversight to understand what needs to be changed in the organization to leverage the new developments. In addition they have strong working relations with the other HR environments, which allows for fast changes that are required in policies and ways of working. Therefore I believe, for the larger size organizations, HR Operations is in the best position to take on the new role in following these trends as well as supporting the implementation of these new HR apps.

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