Ahead of HR Tech World Amsterdam, taking place on 24-25 October 2017, we spoke with CEO and Founder Marc Coleman about the technology trends he is most excited for and their implications within a rapidly evolving HR landscape. Find out more and buy your tickets here for HR Tech World Amsterdam – one of the fastest growing HR shows in the world.
Jamie, Editor, HRZone: You've seen HR technology grow and change over the last 5 years. What's most exciting you about the next two years?
Marc Coleman, CEO and Founder, HR Tech World: Technology continues to develop and move at huge speed – chatbots and AI are really livening up the space at present, not only in terms of what it means for the future of work and jobs, but also the implications it has for HR technology solution providers.
It changes the very nature of work for employees, and at the same time it is totally disrupting the way HR will engage with employees and the organisation; the current approaches to recruitment, talent management, learning, HR services etc.
The large support systems that have been installed since we started HR Tech World back in 2011 are now starting to look obsolete in the face of AI and intelligent bots. In our HR Tech World Start-up Competition this year, two of the five finalists have AI solutions for recruiters that can potentially save on costs, and they are significantly faster and more efficient than either people or existing technology.
Further cloud adoption and the rise of platforms provides a far more sophisticated experience for employees. As such, the consumerisation of HR, technology and work makes life at work better and faster, allowing the workforce to naturally upskill themselves for the jobs of the future and not be tied down to admin jobs that machine learning will very quickly strip away.
Jamie, Editor, HRZone: Where are the most cutting-edge enterprises spending their technology budgets at the moment?
Marc Coleman, CEO and Founder, HR Tech World: Many organisations are still struggling with the digital transformation process, but I believe the more cutting-edge ones have realised that this is a perpetual process and that flexibility and agility is the key.
That means creating a culture that is able to respond and adapt quickly to the introduction of new technologies so that culture and engagement remain top priorities especially as markets reach full employment.
It is user adoption that most often leads to the failure of new systems and processes inside organisations, and the really innovative companies not only know this but create environments where people are excited to use and embrace new technology.
We are fast moving into an era of workplace transparency, which is breaking down traditional silos and creating organisations that are way more open.
Real-time feedback, analytics, next generation performance management tools and employee wellbeing are all area’s in which technology has much to offer. The more forward-thinking organisations are adopting and proposing apps for employees that can help them improve their performance and overall wellbeing.
Arianna Huffington is a huge proponent of this and she will be attending HR Tech World to share her perspectives on the topic. Employees with real time performance feedback, alongside healthy and well-balanced lives, tend to be fitter and happier, with the obvious knock-on effect for the organisations in which they work.
Jamie, Editor, HRZone: What do you think are the most exciting trends in HR technology at the moment?
Marc Coleman, CEO and Founder, HR Tech World: As previously mentioned AI and chatbots are among the most exciting trends we are seeing in the space at present. But let’s not forget that this has big implications for those involved in analytics, performance and talent management, learning, payroll and so on.
Just as the introduction of the smartphone in 2007 has revolutionised society and disrupted established business models, I think the development of intelligent, or even super-intelligent. technology has the potential to rapidly change everything once again.
It’s for this reason that at this year’s show we have invited Nick Bostrom, who founded and heads up the Oxford University Future of Humanity Institute, to keynote on the Future of Work Stage and tell us all about the new era of machine intelligence and the capabilities and prospects that hold for us in the near future.
Perhaps too much emphasis is given to the risks that new technology brings and not enough to the hugely positive impact this can and will have.
Another trend is one that has been born out of social collaboration tools: transparency. We are fast moving into an era of workplace transparency, which is breaking down traditional silos and creating organisations that are way more open, and with employees and teams that are becoming more cross functional than ever before.
That in turn has huge implications for leadership, management, engagement and the way organisations are structured.
Jamie, Editor, HRZone: Why are you optimistic about the future of people in business? And why are you pessimistic?
Marc Coleman, CEO and Founder, HR Tech World: We are living in a very exciting period of our evolution as technology develops and starts to impact every aspect of our lives and brings about massive societal change.
Perhaps too much emphasis is given to the risks that new technology brings and not enough to the hugely positive impact this can and will have. People, societies and organisations have successfully adapted to change throughout history and have learned how to make it work to their advantage; what we learn from the past will help us to adapt and enable us to create a brighter and better future.
The pessimism I feel lies in more of the same, with the naysayers or pessimists and the concerns they had about the phone, the computer, email, social media, smartphones, etc.
My fear is that society may not take intelligent action in a timely fashion; for example, the skills gap of the past 10 years compared with the next 10 years allows for a sobered experience on issues such as universal basic income and the reality that literally all job functions lay bare to the disruption of machine learning and super intelligent software.
About Jamie Lawrence
Jamie Lawrence is editor of global online HR publication and community HRZone.com. He is committed to driving forward the HR agenda and making sure that HR directors have the knowledge and insight necessary to make HR felt across the whole organisation. He regularly speaks to audiences of 250+ and has interviewed key HR industry names, including Daniel H. Pink. He has worked previously as a small business journalist and a copywriter and has published non-fiction that reached #2 on the NYT Children's Bestseller List. In his spare time Jamie likes writing fiction, films, fitness and eating out.