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2019 HR Tech Predictions: How Are They Coming Along?

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There’s never a shortage of predictions when it comes to the impact of technology on the world of Talent and Resourcing, but here TMPW’s Rowena Bach takes a look at two major themes – mental health and candidate experience – and shares her observations on the impact technology is having in these areas.

When it comes to mental health, technology is a double-edge sword – blamed in part for our declining mental health and on the other hand, as Rowena details, broadening access to support more than ever before. And when it comes to the recruitment process, the journey continues to finding the right balance of human and technology to nail the perfect candidate experience.

Let’s hear more from Rowena.

The drive to transform the workforce will continue unabated during 2019.

– HR Magazine, Jan 16th 2019

Years always start with predictions of what will stay, what will change, what’s new, what’s not.

This year was no different. Alex Arundale, Group HRD at Advanced, forecast 2019 to be the year of automation, alongside the recruitment process becoming fairer, businesses being more agile, tech being used to support employee wellbeing, and “more of us working alongside robots”.

Half a year on these feel more like admirable hopes and wishes than reality. Yet there are changes happening and technology is at the heart of them. Let’s look at a couple….

Mental Health

I learnt recently, via Milkround’s 2019 Candidate Compass Report, that 1 in 3 students are experiencing the adverse effects of mental ill health which is higher than the national average.

Student Minds, the charity, shared that 15% of students have depression, anxiety, or both. It’s a myth that people with mental health problems can’t work.

There is a role for technology to play, particularly in supporting mental health in the workplace.

New Accenture research shows how “companies can tap the power of technology as part of a holistic approach to improving employee health and wellbeing”. 

Whilst understanding and acceptance of mental health issues are becoming more common, it remains undiscussed and trapped in the domain of stats and research rather than role models and normalising life examples.

One of the reasons that technology is increasingly being deployed is because it is available at night, when other sources of help are harder to access or not available.

Talking with a large multinational tech firm this week, the HRD commented that “we have these resources but we don’t actively share them”.

Fig 1. Technology used, or consider being used, to support mental wellbeing (Accenture, Supporting mental health in the workplace: the role of technology)

Recruitment processes and candidate experience

As companies rely more on machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to find the right job candidates, is recruitment in danger of losing that personal touch?

This question was asked by the BBC in 2018 which, on the one hand, isn’t long ago, and on the other perfectly demonstrates that while technology is progressing at lightening pace, when you’re in the centre of the change it can feel like moving through molasses.

A recent substantial research report from Deloitte highlights how few organisations are truly embracing the technology potential in HR and Talent activity. Those that do will start to see an unfair advantage in attracting top talent particular in digital skills and cyber.

There are pros and cons of using technology as part of the recruitment process.

In our increasingly digital world, we need to engage with jobseekers using tools that make their experience (#candidateexperience) really smooth and easy.  The current platforms many recruiting organisations use sadly fail the candidate.

Yet recruitment technology is the key to landing a direct hit, solving your company’s talent challenges. Just 20% of respondents in Futurestep’s global survey research use mobile tech for recruitment, 45% use Video Interviewing and 36% using online assessment tools.

“The reality today is that candidates expect to be able to use the technology they are used to utilising in everyday life to get through an application and interview process” says Jan Mueller, Managing Director, talent acquisition solutions, EMEA, Korn Ferry.

Without a consumer grade candidate experience you will be losing vital talent, particularly individuals from diverse or deprived backgrounds.

You can use technology to humanise the candidate experience67% of candidates expect personal contact during recruitment be that personalised auto responses, online chat, or a call at the point they’re most likely to dropout or struggle (just before an assessment intervention).


In practice even progressive, innovative HR leaders can find themselves hampered in their efforts to implement successful HR tech.

Day-to-day transactional demands and employee relations challenges often dominate the people agenda. Plus as this HR grapevine article explores, it is difficult to make the case for investment without proof that it works. Classic Catch-22.

To break this cycle, start small with laser focus on results. For example:

  • Use AI to rank and match applications
  • Use chatbots to ease pressure on frequently asked questions
  • Use VR to reduce travel time and expenses for assessments and interviews
  • Mobile apps streamline performance management
  • Agile management systems to make flex working really effective

For more help and guidance on HR tech, download the Top 5 most read and shared HR Tech resources in one handy doc from TMP:  HR Tech for Future-Focused Leaders

By Rowena Bach, Entry Level Talent Strategy Director, TMP @rowena_bach  07885 983552

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