3 technology trends impacting HR skills

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The speed of digitisation across organisations is accelerating, which means HR leaders and their teams must stay relevant.

This isn’t just our view. According to research from IBM, more than three quarters of organisations are planning to double their HR upskilling in the next two years.

That’s because HR’s traditionally admin heavy focus is no longer relevant to the aims of business digital transformation, where repetitive manual processes are automated and business strategy is only as effective as the data that fuels it.

The focus of HR skills development is shifting, absolutely powered by this trend, and by the increasing demands from business leaders that every department be able to demonstrate how they contribute value to the bottom line.

So where should HR leaders focus their efforts to ensure their team is fit for the future of the profession?

Business strategy

The digitisation trend is a two-sided coin for HR. Not only must the profession adapt to the changing skills of an increasingly digital role, but it must also be cognisant of its responsibility towards the human elements and ramifications of wider digital transformation.

According to Gartner, 60% of HR leaders report pressure from business leaders to ensure their workforce is adequately skilled for the future. As such, HR’s upskilling objectives have subtly shifted from being better at processing, to being able to guide and influence successful business strategy.

This entails the implementation of digital employee experiences that enable personalisation and accessibility in line with the experiences people have become accustomed to in their everyday lives.

This HRMS technology exists, and while HR doesn’t necessarily need to be able to explain its complex inner workings, they must be comfortable articulating its essential components and justifying its value to employees and stakeholders across the business.


No surprises to find data on the list. LinkedIn’s 2020 Global Talent Trends report places People Analytics as one of the top two trends likely to impact HR.

Our experience working with HR professionals across every sector has revealed a common barrier to their becoming more strategic with data – confidence. This is reflected in research that suggests fewer than half of HR professionals are comfortable having a conversation about data, and less than a quarter would be comfortable using analytics (Insight222).

Analytics is not an area that HR qualifications have covered until the recent past, and while many of us are more than adept at running reports (sometimes arduously, unless you’ve got the right tools), HR teams must now develop the confidence and ability to apply data analysis to people strategy.

For more on how to get started along this road, try this: Kickstart your People Analytics

HR must become data scientists. Modern People Analytics tools are increasingly user-friendly and intuitive, but HR must become able to hold stakeholder conversations that leverage data insights as justification for strategic recommendation.

Employee experience

Recent global events have made people look more closely at working life and how it impacts their wellbeing. Combined with the cultural trend for employees today to be more willing to ‘call out’ practices and conditions they feel are unfair, it’s a trend that can be seen manifesting most recently in mass resignations and highly public collective action.

According to Mercer’s 2021 Global Talent Trends Study, five aspects of employee experience to have changed the most as a result of the pandemic are: How to work flexibly, how to manage, onboard, work and collaborate remotely.

Technology has a role in addressing employee experience challenges, where individuality and personalisation are increasingly valued modern workforces. That personalisation can be delivered at scale by HRMS solutions like XCD, without committing exhaustive HR administration resource. But HR professionals need the confidence to choose the right solution, and then the skills to harness data to power successful EX strategy.