As we look back at the most popular HR trends and topics covered in 2014, a few issues rise to the top.
1. Affordable Care Act
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), compliance was and remains a hot topic.
Key employer mandates will hit in 2015, and avoidance is no longer an option. Companies are looking for help to understand the challenges of ACA and for vendors to help them.
Most vendors are providing reporting tools and capabilities for the new year-end statements, but few are enabling customers to manage employees in accordance with the law.
The most effective vendors will be those who are able to offer a single HR application that combines workforce management, payroll and benefits on a single database and one rules engine.
2. Big Data
Big Data dominated the technology conversation again.
HCM vendors touted their forays into Big Data to mostly echo chambers. Research and conversations with customers show that unless vendors can articulate how Big Data helps them in their jobs, they don’t want to hear about Big Data.
In fact, I have argued that most HR departments are not quite ready for Big Data just yet.
3. Recruiting and engagement
As usual, recruiting and engagement were on the docket as they should and will be for a long time.
One of the most interesting developments is the fade of traditional job boards as spelled by Zappos’ move to stop relying on them, as well as their own career portal, in favor of a more social community. Moreover, talks about “systems of engagement” became more prominent in the latter half of the year.
Vendors and pundits talked about ease of use, mobile, social and consumer-like interfaces for HCM systems to drive usability, ROI and insight as to whether users are leveraging the system as intended.
It’s all good conversation
While these conversations have been productive and fruitful for the space, my biggest takeaway is for the first in time in nearly two decades, HCM technology providers have caught up with clients and users, and are even ahead in areas of analytics and user experience.
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And that’s a good thing.
Innovation has gone beyond streamlining the process and is now pushing into new frontiers where HR can truly enable the business. HR business partners, perhaps the fastest growing occupation in our industry today, are now afforded tools to affect how operational managers are running their business and align to the overall goals of the company.
HR is now starting to solve problems, and in the near future, most HR functions will be able to identify problems before their effect on the business takes a toll and solve them. This will be possible by evaluating and understanding how we currently do things, automating and relieving some of the administrative burden on our staff, then turning transactional and workforce data into action.
More partnering will be key
Partnering with trusted vendors that help articulate the business case, teach best practices from peers, and managing that change throughout the journey will be paramount.
Recruiters should stop saying that onboarding is Payroll and Benefits problem, Payroll should stop saying that retention is not our responsibility, and so forth. Better enabling the business is everyone’s prerogative – and clean actionable data is the goal.
That data is captured across all processes; and all of HR needs to work together with trust – and that includes Payroll, whether or not they happen to roll up to Finance.
Stay tuned for my next blog post on what I expect to be the top HR trend in 2015!
This originally appeared on Ceridian’s HCM blog.