From gamification to talent management - where technology will boost human resources...
Human resources technology has evolved far beyond mere electronic employment records. It is becoming the catalyst that allows HR leaders to contribute to their organisation's strategic success - from identifying and meeting skills requirements to keeping the organisation's star performers happy.
Here we explore some of the key HR technology trends for 2011.
1. Talent management
After several brow-creasing years, 2011 promises to offer a glimmer of respite, with the downsizing pressures easing and, in some quarters, economic optimism returning.
According to consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, over a quarter of firms plan to boost staff numbers in 2011. But for many of those would-be employers, the recruitment landscape has undergone a tectonic shift since they last embarked on a serious recruitment campaign.
Naturally, the age-old fail-safe of hiring headhunters is one option for attracting serious talent in to the business. But the expense and reliance on third parties to locate and attract the very best candidates can be off-putting.
That's where social networks can help. Sites such as LinkedIn have become an essential part of the recruiters' toolset, where peer networks provide a mechanism for spotting and attracting talent.
But forward-thinking firms such as Dow Chemical are using peer networks to extend their talent-management initiatives beyond mere recruitment. By tracking existing and former employees, they've devised a skills-management system that is able to match the expertise required to individuals - even if they've moved on.
Such talent-management systems use social-media type tools overlaid with knowledge-management capabilities, enabling firms to anticipate and meet their needs for human capital.
However, few vendors in this field can yet offer products that cover both recruitment and skills management. Expect that to change over the coming year.
2. Employee engagement
One of the imperatives for the HR function is to find ways to get the most out of their staff. While soft management skills, such as the ability to motivate, are hugely important, there are always some humdrum tasks where even the most inspiring leaders can find it difficult to shift staff from their inertia. Perhaps technology can help.
While many firms actively discourage staff from playing games such as FarmVille on work time, there's a growing body of consultants and academics drawing inspiration from those titles to improve motivation, engagement, collaboration and even leadership skills. Welcome to the world of gamification.
Essentially, gamification aims to understand the psychological tricks deployed by video games that encourage players to complete in-game tasks. Those are then applied to work situations.
While some early examples of gamification such as Badgeville have focused on rewarding website visitors with badges, start-ups Rypple and Moxie Software have focused on...