As investments in HR technology continue to increase the HR Tech market is expected to be a $34 billion dollar industry by the year 2021, with $3.6 billion worth of the business expected to be based out of the APAC region, especially India.

Clearly then, the new era of HR technology is upon us. It is no longer about digitizing standard HR processes, but enabling tangible business outcomes like, productivity, innovation and collaboration. Organizations need to look at addressing these challenges with the use of latest as well as emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), robotics and blockchain throughout the employee lifecycle and pave the way for newer opportunities, which call for new skills, new strategies and new possibilities.

So, it is now up to organizations to pay close attention to their human capital and developing innovative and disruptive HR strategies with the help of HR-tech to drive future growth.

To shed more light on the topic, I participated in People Matters’ latest tweetchat, titled “The next frontier of HR technology: More Opportunities, More Impact” scheduled on 11th July from 7.00 – 7.30 PM IST, along with global thought leaders, HR Technology partners, and innovators, where we discussed the key priorities for shaping the workplace of tomorrow amidst a slew of new technologies, changing environments and shifting business models.

Here are some of the more pressing issues that we explored, and tried to answer few of the most important questions facing worldwide organizations today-

1.What are the most critical business challenges that HR & Work technology can help organizations solve today?

Employee engagement continues to be a major pain point for global organizations. According to Gallup, the employee engagement crisis is rising by the day, with the State of the Global Workplace report suggesting that 85% global employees are actively disengaged. I believe HR-tech can be a great enabler of employee engagement, especially those solutions that leverage innovative AI technology.

With poor engagement comes poor performance, and HR-tech has the potential to offer intelligent performance supportto further boost productivity and performance. Organizations can do this by using AI-enabled solutions to know and understand their employees better, and offer instant and tangible solutions to their problems, including one of the major issues of ‘human biases’ in the performance review process.

2.What will help accelerate HR & Work technology adoption, change management, and business impact? (Share two, three tips from your own journey)

Gleaning from my own personal experience, embedding systems in the flow of work pays greater dividends in terms of accelerating technology adoption.

Let’s face it, purchasing and implementing any new HR-tech solution takes lots of time, effort and money, and if the employees don’t use that new solution, it is a huge setback in terms of ROI. Regardless of its innovative features, if the new solution doesn’t make the employees’ work simpler and more efficient, they’re just not going to go for it.

The solution really needs to be easy and effortless to drive adoption, and has to be highly efficient and augment intelligence and smartness in order to make real difference. In addition, HR-tech solutions providers need to develop tech solutions not only to automate the processes but also to enhance performance.

3.How can leaders ensure a better alignment of HR & Work technology investment and business goals?

It is crucial for business leaders to know that all technology solutions must have a clear, solid and tangible business goal and (if possible) a measurable metric.

To ensure a better alignment of HR and work-tech investment and business goals, business leaders must ensure that the solution is being considered as a ‘business solution’ and not an ‘IT solution’. Timely analysis and review of the HR-tech solutions is also warranted to gauge the output and desired results.

4.Among the new-gen technologies (AI, ML, robotics, blockchain), which one are you most excited to use and why? Share examples of used cases too.

I am certainly most excited about Artificial Intelligence as it has real potential to enhance productivity, performance and remove human biases to a large extent. For example, an AI-enabled solution can map SWOTs for employees without the human bias and give meritorious reviews; whereas Machine Learning (ML) technology can make the systems and the solution smarter and feed into AI.

AI truly has the potential to bring about a positive shift in the approaches organizations take towards managing their workforce, helping them incorporate agile processes across their HR, L&D and other functions to provide a wholesome workplace experience.

5.What is the one thing you would suggest to enable a digital mindset among HR teams?

HR, with the help of HR-tech, has a major role to play in shaping the future workforce. Organizations are increasingly turning to AI-powered platforms that will be intrinsic to our workplaces in the near future. Likewise, the future workforce will require the right skill-set and the expertise to collaborate with such advanced AI systems, and this can only be achieved through increased awareness and adoption from and by the HR function. And, as I mentioned earlier, the number one lookout should be on technology as a business solution and not strictly as an IT solution.

Although, the fear of job-loss and unemployment is quite understandable, especially for those working in software development, data science, manufacturing and engineering, who view digitization and automation and AI as a threat, it will be quite counterproductive for organizations to invest in new and emerging technologies and not invest in their human workforce, which will essentially further empower the HR and L&D functions.

You can also view my full TweetChat here.