Best Articles and Resources on HRTech: July 2020

Best Articles and Resources on HRTech-July

Best Articles and Resources on HRTech: July 2020

by Swechha Mohapatra, hrtech

I. Successful Digital HR Strategy for a Sustainable Transformation


The global COVID-19 pandemic has challenged companies to manage their enterprises in new ways forcing them to transform their business, organization, and way of work for their survival and existence. Thus, it is becoming important for organizations to be resilient and adaptive to deliver economic value by employing a digital mindset. Organizations embarking on digital transformation need to continuously realign business models, technologies and organizational culture to effectively manage business in a digital age.

Since any transformation involves people, engaging and empowering workforces is also crucial. In the current scenario, digital HR focus should broadly include:  

  • The use of digital technologies to resolve business issues and add value-creating opportunities for the business. 
  • A complete rethinking of the organization, with respect to culture, strategy, and operations.
  • Emphasizing human-centric experience, collaboration, and a new way of work for the workforce.
  • Continuous improving the process of excellence.

On similar lines, HR digital transformation needs to be posed with the right journey phases, depending on the digital maturity of an organization. These phases can be divided into three, keeping short, medium, and long-term benefits in mind and help to create the roadmaps accordingly.

Fig 1: Digital HR Strategy by Soumyasanto Sen

 To know more on how a successful digital HR strategy can lead to sustainable transformation, read here.  

II. How Can Text Analytics Measure the Voice of the Employee?


As traditional organizational structures fade away, leading the way to open work cultures conversation between the workforce and leadership is becoming crucial – and valuable. For decades already, employee surveys have been used to enable this conversation between employees and leadership. In the last few years, unstructured data: text, images, audio, video and even comments, or open responses in a survey have been adding to the explosion of data.

Organisations are now using text analytics to unlock insight from surveys by converting unstructured, qualitative data into quantitative structured data. This provides an opportunity for organizations to tap into a wealth of rich data and turn around insights quickly.

The blog also shares the example of Rabobank, that used text analytics and employee listening, during Covid-19 lockdown, to gather feedback from employees and understand how the organization could support employees even better. Andrew Maritt shares more about developments in the employee voice space, text analytics, and how it can be used to measure employee feedback. Read the detailed blog here.

III. How HR tech can help improve culture during pandemic

By SKYLER ZUR, HR Executive

With COVID-19 changing the workforce so drastically, many HR leaders have turned to new technology to adjust to the new normal and to improve company culture. In an HRE Twitter chat , Joey Price, founder of Jumpstart HR and HR Tech Influencer, explained the importance of steering positive change in the workplace, particularly around diversity, equity and inclusion. Joey said that now that #remotework is the new normal, there are plenty of recruiting, payroll, employee self-service, and performance management tools for virtual teams.

 Small and medium-sized businesses have had to quickly make changes as employers adjust to the COVID reality, and HR technology can play an important part in helping businesses overcome some of these challenges, he added.

He also added that the next #futureofwork includes combatting virtual chat fatigue, helping employees manage childcare/school, managing anxiety pre-Covid cure. Therefore, there is a need to expand the definition of #HRTech and also leverage apps that help employees manage #mentalwellness.

Fig 2: ROI of HR Tech projects, IHRIM HR Software Study . Ref HRExecutive

Read more about some of the insights that were shared in the twitter conversation here

IV. Starmind Takes Deep Dive into AI as an Answer to Talent and Skills Gaps

By DAVID RICE, HR Exchange Network

As artificial intelligence (AI) gains traction in the world of business, conversations around AI’s relationship to things like automation, analytics and human capital heat up, businesses around the world find themselves asking how AI is going to help them answer a variety of questions.

With AI gaining traction in HR too, there are a number of areas where it can be deployed from talent recruitment to learning & development. For effective implementation and use of AI in HR it is key to understand the human asset, and how AI can help both the business and the employee.

One such solution, Switzerland based firm Starmind, offers an AI platform that uses neuroscience principles to attempt to unlock insights for strategic workforce planning by capturing data created as employees work as they normally would. Over time, Starmind creates a skill profile for each employee that looks at what they’re doing and how and why they’re doing it with the goal of unlocking employee potential by understanding who knows what within the organization. It pulls data from different systems like Chat and collaboration systems (Slack, Teams, etc.); Document Management Systems (Dropbox, Google Drive); HR Information Systems (Workday); Calendar systems (Outlook, Google Calendar); Role and industry specific systems (Salesforce, Jira) to find employee connectors and use these as inputs to the skills intelligence platform to assess what employees are capable of.

Read the blog, to learn more about how AI can be answer to Talent and skill gaps.

V. The HR technology trends that are defining 2020


With the increase in remote working trends during and post pandemic, experts have noted several HR tech trends, including increased use of artificial intelligence in hiring and recruiting, growth of employee tools for financial wellness as well as physical and mental health, and increased automation.

Some of the key trends and their effect on employee experience include:

  1. Growth of AI and machine learning, as more HR professionals find their use in recruiting and hiring. A study by Sage People suggests that the use of AI and ML is likely double in the next 12 months(from current 24 percent), as 56 percent of businesses plan to adopt it within the next year. These technologies are finding footing beyond tactical uses to strategic uses, such as relationship management.
  2. Employee wellness tools, as more employers are taking an interest in their employees’ well-being amid the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, by offering financial, mental and physical wellness programs and tools which will help their workforce .
  3. Multiple tools for remote work, through use of self-service employee experience portals that let people handle HR functions on their own is another way that technology can serve remote work. Remote tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom also are dominating interviewing, hiring and recruiting during the pandemic through automation, remote interviewing and virtual assessments that are gaining prominence in the hiring process.
  4. Learning, training and development, with more employees to pursue training courses online as employees spent 150% more time learning in the March-to-May period than in the December-to-February period. The need for customized and employee-focused learning is leading the way for HR tech solutions that monitor and evaluate the work people are doing, and then offer personalized learning solutions.

Clearly, the coronavirus pandemic has changed how HR departments think about and use technology. As remote work becomes more mainstream, it will be interesting to see these HR tech trends gather steam to better serve employers and employees alike. Read the detailed blog here.

VI. How Virtual Reality Works to Help Create a More Inclusive Workplace


The Black Lives Matter movement has forced more organizations to take diversity and inclusion seriously. And while diversity and inclusion (D&I) are mentioned in the same breath, there’s a massive difference between giving a marginalized group of people a room to be in, giving them the space to be themselves, and including them in important conversations. A recent McKinsey study in partnership with Glassdoor and MIT Sloan, ran sentiment analysis over employee reviews of their employers on job-posting websites to gauge their sentiment about diversity and inclusion, suggests that even the most diverse companies struggle with tackling inclusion.

The D&I tech industry is growing, with its overall market size pegged at approximately $100 million, according to RedThread Research in 2019. Virtual reality(VR) as a method of training specifically for inclusion is also making inroads in this space. VR offers an immersive experience: in empathy training by creating a simulation that presents an individual as a victim of everyday bias, microaggressions, and racist behavior.

This can be helpful for organization to practice inclusion than just promoting diversity; enable leaders to empathize, take real measures and provide an inclusive workplace; elicit empathy and forces participants to introspect on their approach toward inclusive behavior in a safe space.

DDI, a leadership development and assessment provider, also provides a VR training program for inclusion. Product manager for inclusion and diversity and immersive learning solutions at DDI, Sage Krombloz shares her insights around tech readiness, impact of VR-led Inclusion Training, how are organizations Approaching VR as a Method to Improve Inclusion and the challenges they experience in deploying training.

According to Krombolz, creating an inclusive work culture is the first step to creating a sense of belonging in an organization. And the real success of a VR-led inclusion training, can be measured in terms of behavior change, engagement in the learning program, and the time spent in formal training. Read the more here.

VII. Applying product thinking to HR

By DIVYA AMARNATH (Associate Director, Flipkart), People Matters

As HR leaders, we sometimes hear from business leaders that it looks like HR is trying to launch initiatives and push business to drive their adoption. Have we heard anyone say “Mark Zuckerberg is launching Facebook and is pushing us to sign up to Facebook and drive adoption”? What is different in the two is the approach to taking a journey from a problem of users to solution space of business that bridges the gap between user’s need and business value. Product Thinking as it is called.

Simon Sinek lays out in his Golden Circle – Start with Why, know about How and then arrive at What.

This should not be any different for HR professionals too. The initiatives we anchor wouldn’t need a push if we have clearly identified the “Why” and the needs of its user personas. With a clear articulation of purpose, features of the product can be designed, tested (with different variations), validated with users prior to deployment. This methodical approach (How) helps any Product to create a pull for users and thereby bringing them closer to generating business value (What).

Nir Eyal’s Hook model clearly lays out on how successful products get the users “Hooked” through a methodical approach that involves creating successful triggers to get the users to adopt the product, use these triggers to shape their behavior and nudging them through the positive and negative reinforcements to ensure users willingly invest effort into the action.

The Hooked Canvas by Nir Eyal. Ref Divya Amarnath- Product Thinking in HR

The usual approach HR professionals end up taking is to have some workshops/trainings for the managers so they can drive adoption. The result is sometimes not that encouraging especially when managers go through this exercise year-on-year for different programs. Hence it looks like HR is pushing for initiative whose success is initially limited to %participation and thereafter to % change in pre-post scores.

As HR leaders, when devising any programs, we need to identify a genuine trigger, plan an action, provide a variable reward and look at what needs to be done (i.e. invested) to increase the likelihood of return. During the implementation, to ensure there’s progress, it is also important to identify lead indicators and lag indicators. These provide valuable feedback on next action – the next features to be incorporated into our product (aka, our program)

More about it here.

VIII. Mental Health Awareness At Work” – Need Of The Hour!


According to a recent Qualtrics study, 41.5% of employee respondents said that their mental health has declined since the COVID-19 outbreak. With the pandemic contributing to the surge in mental health issues, the side-effects and after-effects of the pandemic on mental health is likely to be a longer battle: fear of job loss; financial strain due to mass retrenchments; social isolation during quarantine & lockdowns; work-life imbalance due to remote work; social taboo of those affected with the virus; excessive workload on certain segments (such as frontline health workers).

With more employees facing a blurring line in the “work-life” balance there is an immediate need for Enterprises and HR Teams to take immediate action as employees experiencing distress need professional support. HR teams can now leverage both technology and professional expertise to retain an engaged and productive workforce, while being supportive of their real-time mental wellbeing.

Mental Wellness HR Tech segment is emerging with popular players for large user base like US (Headspace) and India (WysaYourDost). Across the South East Asia region, start-ups like Aarooga (Philippines), Kalm (Indonesia), Ooca (Thailand) Riliv (Indonesia), are entering this space with a huge focus on mental health. The article by Sriram Iyer and Adrian Tan, sheds light on Singapore-based start-ups MINDFI Safe and JOYE.AI amongst the list of home-grown apps in the Mental Wellness space that are slowly garnering attention.

Read about their features and offerings in the article here.

IX. INSIGHT: There will be a greater reliance on tech infrastructure post COVID: Priyanka Anand, Ericsson

By SHWETA MODGIL, People Matters

Priyanka Anand, Head of People, MOAI (Market Area South East Asia, Oceania and India), Ericsson in her discussion with PeopleMatters very succinctly describes that organizations are transforming digitally by enabling the workforce to work remotely; providing remote learning opportunities; automating operations more and more as well as leveraging digital tools and platforms to increase productivity.

Ericsson already had work from home facility to their employees prior to COVID and while the fundamentals remained same, the real test during COVID times was in how they enabled a smooth transition to an effective working model for their global employees. With growth mindset, their teams focused on new ways of working to keep the essential services up and running so the world could have seamless network connectivity in these times. However, while maintaining excellence at work, empathy was the key pillar in supporting their employees. The organization launched Virtual Coaching for leaders to ensure they practice empathy and have the required tools to support their teams.

A greater reliance on technology has emerged in COVID times with an increasing amount of time spent online. Apps related crisis, remote working, education/e-learning, and wellness have seen a surge in the usage. This technology wave is expected to continue post COVID as well as the facts suggest that 6 in 10 US workers are expected to leverage video conferencing tools post this crisis.

Read more.

X. Insight : Technology is key to thrive in the new normal of work: Global Head of HR, Bank of Singapore

By MASTUFA AHMED, People Matters

Jeffrey Chiam, Global Head of Human Resources, Bank of Singapore, in an interaction with People Matters discusses about Bank of Singapore’s measures to keep employees safe, how technology is re-defining the new normal of work, and upskilling of remote workers. The interaction throws light of how a global organization looks at technology being the enabler in these testing and uncertain times.

One of the key challenges Mr. Chiam discusses is to engage employees in this new work environment. With lack of face-to-face interactions, it is important yet challenging for managers to understand what their team members are going through to balance their daily chores and the new work styles. Constant communication on work and social level, coaching, counseling, learning and development have become especially important. Technology has been a critical enabler in all these aspects. It is important, as HR leaders, to still maintain regular face-to-face time with our team members through video conferencing to identify the engagement of employees and provide required support. Employees, on the other hand, have this opportunity to pick up new and relevant skills to make them more effective in digital world. Bank of Singapore has enhanced their online learning and development initiatives to include, professional development, leadership, new joiner induction and product training. What was done on desktops and computers is now done on mobiles and tablets. This enables employees to do work anytime and anywhere bringing in agility and improved productivity. Leveraging AI based technology has improved automation landscape especially in the areas of screening CVs and onboarding process. However, there is also a need to balance between the digital and human touch. HR teams, at Bank of Singapore, remain visible and proactive in communication, engagement and coaching to ensure every employee is well taken care of.

This right mix of technology and human touch, fair assessments of overall productivity of employee, accomplishments of KPIs, agility, in line with the core values of organization are the qualities of a forward -looking organization.

Read the full article here.

XI. WEBINAR: Managing Employee Goals, Productivity & Digital Learning in the New Normal


The current pandemic has caught many organisations off-guard. Short & Medium-term plans have been completely ambushed, forcing them to take one day at a time.

“People First” is the resounding focus of governments and enterprises globally, and HR departments are fighting hard to ensure that balance is maintained on People Service Delivery & Employee Engagement. But what is critical though, is the need for Enterprise HR teams to have an eye on the evolving needs of the workplace and the workforce. In this webinar, we will discuss how Enterprises that focus on HRTech as part of their transformational agenda are creating sustainable economic value, better workplace experience and creating a competitive edge for the future.

In the Webinar, Ankur Sehgal(PeopleStrong) showcased emerging trends in Employee Performance Management, and Learning & Development, and how Tech can help Enterprise HR teams in making this transition to the New Normal. He also shared case studies of organisations who have adopted HR Tech solutions and the impact they have seen in their HR service delivery.

 Some of the key insights shared in the webinar were:

  1. The pandemic has triggered the forced experiment on remote working in Singapore and across the world. Overview of the current issues being faced by companies. 
  2. What are the key trends at the workplace from a HR technology perspective in this new normal?
  3. How HRTech tools can solve collaboration, engagement, and productivity challenges?
  4. How do we integrate features to complement the growing trends of remote working?
  5. Why do some HRTech implementations fail? What should HR teams keep in mind?

Watch the On-demand webinar here.

XII. CASE STUDY: How Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group Uses Beekeeper’s Employee Communication Platform to Deliver Superior Service

By ANDRADA PARASCHIV, Hotel Technology News

Ms. Andrada Paraschiv, Head of Hospitality at Beekeeper, has a candid chat with Mr. Anja Luthje, Group Director of Rooms and Quality for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, on the communicating for agility. Through their webinar, they discuss myriad range of topics such as impact of technology, dealing through the pandemic, change in SOPs, expectations of guests and employees, and specifically how MOHG ensures agility in these demanding times.

Mr. Luthje has highlighted the importance of technology, through Beekeeper, has played a vital role in communicating change right from the onset of the pandemic. Digitization of communication platform has helped employees remain up-to-date with information published by Center for Disease Control (CDC), alerts from “We Care Program” anchored by the hotel, evangelizing the new SOPs, and implementing digital checklists. This helped ensure everyone is working together for safety and is building a safe environment not only for the guests but also several members of MOHG who have relentlessly prevented the spread of virus.

Through the churn of time, one thing we all have realized is that collective effort and learning from each other helps prevent the spread of virus. To foster this principle, the Innovation App, that promotes best practices and ideation amongst colleagues, helps improve the programs and keep the company culture strong. The change implementation cycle shortens thereby. Read the detailed blog here.

About the author:

Swechha Mohapatra (IHRP-CP, Associate CIPD) is a Senior Consultant – Digital HR at and has over 7 years of global experience in various Talent functions. She is a passionate HRTech evangelist and an avid learner who is certified Six Sigma-Green Belt with a background of MBA (Specialization in HR and IT) and Master’s in Labor Laws and Labor Welfare.

Continue Reading: Best Articles and Resources on HRTech: June 2020


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