With today’s workforce being a fluid one, and employees rarely staying in their roles beyond five years, the emphasis that businesses place on staff retention has grown. The better a company’s talent is managed and developed, the more engaged the employees become and the longer they will remain to contribute towards business growth and profitability. In the last few years technology has played a vital role in effective talent management, and this use of software to manage staff development looks set to continue and grow in 2014. In particular, we see the following as trends to watch.
The mobile revolution
The ‘youth of today’ have become known as a mobile generation, and when surfing the internet they often shun the desktop in favour of their smartphone or tablet. In 2014 we will see a raft of new cloud-based technologies taking advantage of this, while companies will begin adapting their application processes in order to make them mobile-friendly. Doing this will help them to attract the best fresh talent to their business.
Closely linked to the ongoing mobile revolution is bring your own device (BYOD). In 2014 this will further increase in popularity, the direct result being that more companies will begin developing BYOD strategies. Though BYOD can cause major headaches for HR and IT departments, it also contributes to staff engagement and productivity as staff effectively carry their work with them. The trend in 2014 will be for companies to begin formalising their BYOD policies in order to improve data security and manage any sensitive information stored on devices.
Data and analytics
The term Big Data – meaning a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process - has entered the business consciousness in the last 12-18 months. The most successful companies will make the most of Big Data by analysing and using it to support the decision-making process, both in talent management and across the rest of the business. As this happens we will likely see an increase in the number of data analysis technologies hitting the market.
While some companies are wary of introducing flexible working in their business, most now acknowledge its benefits – including a happier and more productive workforce. From April 2014 all employees within the UK will be given the right to request flexible working from their bosses, meaning that HR departments will likely come under pressure to develop mobile working policies. This again leads back to the cloud as businesses begin migrating solutions online in order to allow employees to access company systems, wherever they are stationed.
I see the bond between HR and technology strengthening even more in 2014. The BYOD trend, flexible working and the use of tablets, as opposed to desktops, are all intertwined, and it will be these that drive the release of new cloud based software packages. In fact I would suggest that will be little or no call for hardware in 2014, and by Christmas next year we would be surprised to find any such products hitting the market.