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HR Tech Check, a new column from our new HR Tech Editor

Jill Barthhttps://hrexecutive.com/
Jill Barth is HR Tech Editor of Human Resource Executive. She is an award-winning journalist with bylines in Forbes, USA Today and other international publications. With a background in communications, media, B2B ecommerce and the workplace, she also served as a consultant with Gallagher Benefit Services for nearly a decade. Reach out at [email protected].

It’s been about a month since I joined Human Resource Executive as HR Tech Editor and I’m excited that it’s an ideal time to cover tech growth in our industry. The level of innovation is high, rising to address the needs of HR practitioners. 

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The world is watching how HR is using AI right now, with headlines that acknowledge the efforts of tech companies working double time to soothe employment pain points. This is a topic with wide impact, and HR leaders are poised to influence how AI makes the workplace more efficient without hampering human expertise and vitality. I’m looking forward to hearing about this topic at HR Tech this fall—where dozens of excellent speakers will share insight. Meanwhile, here are notable topics that caught my attention this week.

HR tech in the news

HR tech check logoGoogle is funding cybersecurity training to funnel young professionals into the field. Also, Google Calendar now has a feature that allows users to share where they are working. Is this a sign of support for hybrid or multi-location workforce tools? It also has new AI features being released on the regular. 

Perhaps most fascinating to me, as I was poking around the Google site, is the fact that email is more than 50 years old. For this Gen Xer, that comes as a surprise, considering my memories of coveting that AOL disc. Speaking of the early ’90s, I enjoyed reading a piece from The New York Times: Gen X Is in Charge. Don’t Make a Big Deal About It. It comes with a fair warning not to pigeonhole people based on their date of birth, and that generations change as they mature. (i.e.: Don’t make assumptions about tech adoption.) The story quoted Jason Dorsey, a workplace researcher: “Just because you’re born in a certain year doesn’t mean someone knows everything about you.”

Finch, a platform that connects HR apps, services and systems, raised $40 million in a Series B round. “Our direct competitor is the current status quo in the industry,” co-founder and CEO Jeremy Zhang said in this interview published by TechCrunch. Put a pin in that because I get the sense that challenging the status quo will continue to be a goal in the HR tech space next year.

Workday burnout gets comfort from HR tech solutions

I recently sat in on a webinar produced by Mercer | Leapgen called The Big Shift: HR Tech is now Work Tech, led by Jason Averbook and Jess Von Bank. Averbook seemed impressed by a stat from a recent Coveo report revealing that workers spend an average of three hours per day searching for information

According to him, burnout is linked to time-waters and being overwhelmed with too many tools and systems. This seems to be where we are at—what can truly build efficiency and which spaces are ripe for a clean-up? 

In a June seminar, Zendesk’s Mental Health Strategy to Reduce Workplace Stress & Burnout, presented by Calm Business, I learned that being overworked is the “top culprit” of workplace stress and burnout, in reporting from Harvard Business Review. According to the State of the Global Workplace 2023 Report, over half of the workers in the U.S. and Canada had stressful feelings most of the day before completing the survey. Gallup identified this as a record high. Its report noted that “managers play an outsized role in the stress workers feel on the job.” Is it possible that HR leaders can hire technology to help with this burden?

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Jack Berkowitz, chief data officer at ADP put it to me this way: “People want to work with people, not mundane tasks.” He says that new AI-equipped products and functions in the ADP pipeline are designed to help people get back to the work they really want to do. He also warned me that strategic roadmaps (those that used to look three or five years out) now exist on a condensed planning horizon. Expect at most six months to a year lead time for most feature releases and changes. Hopefully, AI helps HR leaders throw cold water on stress and burnout.

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