Futurism – what a word.  Chock-full of mystery, excitement, intrigue…  It promises a world where technological advance triumphs over the status quo. In support of this ideal, humans engage in a relentless pursuit, constantly pushing the technology envelope – learning, inventing, exploring.  Case-in-point, NASA’s Mars Exploration Program recently landed a rover named “Curiosity” on the crimson planet.  Outfitted with the absolute latest technological innovations, Curiosity’s simple goal is to explore and learn. As fun as it would be to name your next great HR technology project “Curiosity”, most of us do not have this luxury. We can’t afford to pursue technology purely for interest’s sake.  We need a more pragmatic approach grounded in clear business outcomes. Given this stated “governor”, what does the future hold for HR technology?


To date a lot of attention has been placed on automation and standardization – driving efficiency by streamlining processes using “best practice”. It has a distinct “Borg-like” feel to it: HR technology designed to pursue an “unemotional, mechanical perfection” controlling individual actions through standardized technology used the same by everyone. This is set to change dramatically. A number of trends are emerging that will transform HR Technology from a “systems-centric” focus to an “employee-centric” focus.


Prolific advances in Internet technologies, mobile devices and social applications are changing the way enterprises engage with and manage their workforce. Employee expectations for enterprise applications are being driven by experiences in the consumer world. Is the system easy to use? Is it engaging and interactive? Is it the trusted source I can use to get answers, connect with my peers and get my job done in a manner that is better than the alternatives? Ultimately, what is the value it presents in my busy day-to-day work?


The next-generation workforce application environment will be a truly unified environment from an employee-centric viewpoint. Applications and functionality will align around the employee’s day-to-day work and the enterprise’s business objectives, not be dictated by the individual tool/application. They will be agile. They will be personalized. They will first consider what the employee is trying to accomplish and then apply the technologies that best support that activity.


In this model, you will start to see a world characterized by:


  • Just-In-Time Experiences: Role-based hubs delivering just-in-time access to relevant information, system tools/processes, and experts dependent upon the particular job, location or project you will be working on that day.
  • Next Generation Work Processes: Ask an expert and embedded knowledge centers will be available as you complete work processes.  Knowledge, processes, and experts will be continually updated through user-driven social contributions.
  • Making New Connections: Browse to find colleagues with expertise/interests aligned with a project you will be working on, learn about the person behind the name, start a conversation with someone you haven’t met before, build a personal network, recognize a peer for a job well done. Find previously unknown experts that will be currently available, on-shift and consult with them in real-time.
  • Easy To Use Yet Engaging: Delivering interactive, relevant, and productive experiences without the complexity. A unique combination of the latest technologies creates a new kind of employee experience that isn’t only interactive and engaging but one that also drives adoption and increases productivity for the company.

As my dad likes to say – “The times they are a changing son.”  He is right and I can’t wait!  My own “Curiosity” is getting the best of me.  Who knows – maybe we’ll also find out soon that there was life on Mars.


Who’s The Guest Aristocrat?


Cary Schuler is the Co-Founder and CEO of cfactor Works Inc. (@cfactorworks)


Entrepreneur passionate about leveraging technology to redefine the way companies and their employees interact.  Since its founding in 1999, cfactor Works has rapidly expanded its operations, currently serving clients across North America. You can connect with him on Twitter @CarySchuler or on LinkedIn. 


*The Aristocracy of HR” does not endorse the product/company listed above. This guest post is purely for informational purposes.

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