HR Tech ‘Seismic Shifts’ You Need to be Aware of

Analyst Josh Bersin shares his insights in a new report for HR Tech premium-pass holders.
By: | January 25, 2019 • 2 min read

The HR technology market has made huge advances in recent years—and if industry analyst Josh Bersin is correct in his predictions, featured in his latest research report, the pace of change and innovation isn’t going to let up anytime soon.

Earlier this week, on January 22, Bersin released a 55-page report titled the 2019 HR Technology Market, which was exclusively produced for attendees of the 2018 HR Technology Conference who are premium-pass holders. In it, Bersin details 11 “seismic shifts” that are taking place in the field today.

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Bersin begins his report with some striking figures:

12 million employers spending over $5 trillion on payroll, benefits and other employee programs;

more than $250 billion market for recruitment, advertisement, assessment and interviewing;

roughly $220 billion being spent per year on L&D; and

an HR tech market that grew by an astounding 10 percent last year, according to Sierra-Cedar’s 2018-2019 Systems Survey.

Bersin, who will be producing a 2020 report for premium-pass holders at the 2019 HR Technology Conference, cited a number of talent issues driving changes, ranging from the push for greater fairness and transparency (as well as diversity and inclusion), to the increasing role gig and contract workers are playing in the economy.

One of the shifts cited in the report is the evolution of core HR platforms from “systems of engagement” to “systems of productivity.”

“Twenty years ago,” Bersin writes, core HR systems “were back-office systems designed to be used by HR managers, payroll clerks, and HR administrators. Over the last decade, they have become useful for employees, with interfaces that let employees use self-service functionality to manage their information, benefits, and various other tasks.”

Today, he adds, “vendors are struggling to evolve again and make these systems into productive management and workforce tools that help employees actually get their work done. While most of us work in teams and on projects, none of these systems really supports team- or project-based work yet, so vendors have lots of work ahead.”

Another trend Bersin cites is the arrival of “innovative, creative and often AI-based” tools for talent management.

“These new talent applications … are focused on improving the employee experience from top to bottom—aiding recruitment, performance and goal setting, learning, career management, rewards, well-being, and ultimately work itself,” he writes.

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Bersin points to innovations in this area by vendors such as Xander, Compass, Pymetrics, Zugata and Butterfly.ai, just to name a few. (The report is chock full of examples of how leading companies are beginning to apply some of the innovations today.)

A third shift involves the reinvention of the learning-technology market.

The learning-management system has gone the way of the mainframe, Bersin writes. “It has not disappeared,” he says, “but it’s now in the basement doing the things it does well. It processes compliance training, tracks and stores learning completion data, runs business rules and management approvals, and handles certification, customer training paths, and revenue generating training. In other words, it’s like a learning and training ERP system.”

Now joining them, he says, are a new range of systems, including learning experience platforms that use machine learning and aggregate content from any source; program platforms that walk people through an entire curriculum and actually deliver you at a point where you have truly learned a new body of knowledge; and micro-learning platforms offering adaptive learning paths that deliver relevant and appropriate learning based on one’s learning history, job or some other work-related activity, just to name a few.

“I believe this will be explosive and fundamental going forward,” Bersin writes.

David Shadovitz is editor of HRE. He is also co-chair of the HR Tech Conference and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. He can be reached at [email protected]