Top ten e-HR trends for 2002

Human
resources technology trends in the coming year will be driven largely by the
need to control costs, as companies look to optimise their e-HR investments and
gain greater returns.

So
predicts global consulting firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide which has compiled a
"top ten" list of trends for e-HR in 2002:

  1. Enhanced workplace
    portals and intranets.
    As enterprise portals evolve into worker
    productivity tools, several HR domains will benefit from new online
    solutions, including e-health tools, defined contribution health care
    models, compensation systems and performance management tools. Other
    personalization features will continue to expand, with a new emphasis on
    web services that provide data that organizations and their employees
    need.
  2. Increased technology
    access to more workforce segments.
    Companies will continue initiatives
    to get more employees web-connected, allowing greater access to corporate
    systems and HR information from home or travel.
  3. Greater reliance on ROI
    (return on investment) tools. Top management will exert more pressure on
    HR to justify investments in HR technology through ROI analysis and
    business case development.
  4. Growing focus on
    optimising current HR systems
    . Sensibility will be the key factor as
    companies seek system optimization and integration solutions. Optimisation
    trends will include improving legacy systems and connecting existing
    disparate systems.
  5. Increased use of virtual
    workplaces
    . With an eye toward increasing worker productivity,
    approaches such as online meetings, project team workspaces, web
    conferences and video conferencing will continue to gain popularity, with
    the added benefits of controlling costs, employee safety and time
    commitments.
  6. Decision support tools.
    Traditionally the province of financial departments, HR departments will
    begin using analytical tools to measure the success of their HR practices
    and to predict future results.
  7. Business continuance
    planning
    . The 2001 terrorist attacks spurred a new understanding of
    HR’s critical role in helping companies get their people back to work by
    providing space, systems and support that employees need to be productive.
    Look for sharpened HR involvement in employee communications and disaster
    recovery plans.
  8. Increased
    standardization of XML
    (extensible mark-up language) data schemes and
    structure. Growing cooperation between organizations will continue the
    trend of standards that are usable for HR domains. The HR-XML consortium http://www.hr-xml.org has already
    completed schemas supporting recruiting, benefits enrollment, and time and
    expense reporting, and plans more in 2002.
  9. Attention to small
    cost-saving measures that add up
    . Following the substantial
    cost-cutting measures many companies implemented in 2001, HR will focus on
    the cumulative effect of additional process improvements and cost-saving
    initiatives, such as technologies that improve data accuracy and ease data
    access.
  10. Demand for better
    integration and collaboration between vendors
    . HR will carefully
    select technologies to meet overall business needs and examine how vendor
    services can be bundled. Vendor performance measurement and ease of
    integration with other solutions will be critical factors.

Jeff
Novak, senior e-HR consultant with Watson Wyatt, says that there will continue
to be significant innovation and application of HR technology, but companies
will do so sensibly.

"For
the near future, optimisation of existing HR technology investments will take
precedence over new technology purchases after the recent period of heavy
technology innovation by most HR organizations," he concludes.

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