These are the ‘revolutionary changes’ coming HR’s way

Josh Bersin previews his HR Tech keynote on the HR disruptions the pandemic is creating.
By: | September 25, 2020 • 3 min read
Industry leader Josh Bersin, speaking at the 2019 HR Tech conference, will deliver the opening keynote address at the virtual 2020 HR Tech Conference.

The word “disruption” has been a near-constant in HR circles since the COVID-19 pandemic started sweeping the nation this spring. From making remote work an overnight reality to redefining flexibility, HR leaders are working to keep up with the changes, relying on tech along the way.

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Those many shifts that have already happened—and the countless more to come—will be the focus of industry analyst Josh Bersin’s keynote address at the HR Technology Conference & Exposition®. The event, held from Oct. 27-30, will be virtual and free of charge.

Related: Here are the top speakers coming to virtual HR Tech

Josh Bersin

Bersin will kick off the conference Oct. 27 with his keynote, “Dealing with Disruption: How the New Normal Is Shaking Up the HR Technology Market,” one of eight keynotes and among 55 hours of content on HR trends, much of which will explore how current events are shaping the industry.

It was an industry, Bersin says, that just last year was going “gaga” about AI. Now, AI has become more of a “feature” of HR tech, with the market instead shifting to simplifying HR tech—and transforming it to “work tech.”

“In other words,” Bersin says, “more and more of the HR tech that people want to buy looks and feels like work productivity tools, not HR applications.” That, he adds, is opening the door for Microsoft Teams, Workplace by Facebook and other companies to disrupt the market.

When it comes to the issues HR leaders will rely on tech for, Bersin predicts a significant shift in management philosophy that will have more employers focusing on wellbeing, productivity and health. Many organizations are also reimagining talent management and L&D by considering the company as a “talent marketplace,” which—in tandem with the focus of employee wellbeing—are forcing “revolutionary changes” in HR.

See also: How health, safety and ethics will become the heart of HR

“Some of the sexy things like AI, skills clouds, experience platforms and analytics are also very important,” he adds, “but not as disruptive as these other bigger management-related topics.”

To keep up with these transformations, HR leaders should build out their team with an HR technology architect, as every facet of the HR function is being reshaped by technology, necessitating someone with deep expertise. Also, Bersin advises, the HR tech strategy should align with changing roles, organizational models and management philosophies, meaning that HR leaders need to be keyed in to rapidly changing business strategy.

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“These are big topics but, if you do them well, you’ll be a hero in the years ahead,” he says.

To learn more about the speakers and sessions at HR Tech, and to register for the free event, click HERE.

Diane Gherson, senior vice president of IBM and a former HRE Executive of the Year, noted the significance of the moment the HR industry is in and the value of being attuned to the transformations happening.

“We are living through a historic disruption—like the advent of the factory or the end of the World War—this is a moment to reimagine how we work,” she says. “As HR professionals, it’s about accelerating AI, digitization and automation to deliver the outcomes our organizations need and the experiences our people expect.”

Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at hreletters@lrp.com.