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Five Lessons from HR Tech

I’m finally settled back in here at Oracle HQ, with my mind still buzzing from all the sessions at HR Tech in Las Vegas. Clearly, digital transformation has taken ahold of organizations and the message is clear to HR leaders: It’s time to adapt to a new normal, or face an upward battle to attract talent and retain existing employees.

Were you unable to make it to the conference? Here are five lessons we took away from our week.

Lesson 1: Artificial Intelligence Is Here, and We Must Be Careful

A common thread in most of the sessions I attended centered around the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and its ability to change recruiting. Use cases for AI-focused on increasing recruiter efficiency and streamlining the hiring process for a more people-centric approach. However, AI is still developed by humans, which means that bias is a concern. If not addressed early on, this can accelerate already existing problems.

Other insights concerning AI included its impact on existing jobs, with many speakers agreeing that more work will be created. Ravin Jesuthasan, managing director at Willis Towers Watson shared a case study from a leading oil and gas firm that successfully leveraged AI to transfer humans drilling in dangerous conditions to safer back-office roles in maintenance and monitoring. The firm’s adoption of AI also led to the creation of new jobs in engineering and analytics, resulting in a 45% increase in profitability per oil rig.

Lesson 2: Digital Transformation Still Requires Human Input

HR Tech was a good reminder that digital transformation requires leadership buy-in and end-user adoption, despite a larger focus on technology selection and business value. As Robin Schooling stated in her Thursday session, successful HR technology adoption requires the ability to develop a cohesive plan, identify champions and naysayers, provide hand-held training, and consistent communication. Even after implementation, communication and training must continue to ensure the solution actually sticks.

Lesson 3: Employee Experiences Matter

Conventional wisdom says that most people work to pay their bills, but prevailing trends suggest that the employee experience matters too. HR Tech featured several sessions addressing employee experience, where speakers championed referral programs, talent management best practices, and multigenerational approaches in the workplace. It was quite clear through these sessions that the most attractive employers will be those that offer their workers more than just a paycheck.

Lesson 4: The HR Ecosystem Is Strong and Growing

No HR conference is complete without a session from industry researcher and advisor Josh Bersin, and he delivered in his day 2 keynote. In a fast-paced hour and a half, attendees learned just how extensive the HR technology ecosystem has become. The areas that are hottest include talent management, recruiting, employee engagement, HR analytics, and employee wellness.

Lesson 5: HR Is Evolving into a More Strategic Role

Traditionally, HR is viewed as an administrative position, since the function is responsible for everything from compliance to hiring to conflict management. The need to manually manage these areas can lead to organizational inefficiencies and occasional employee frustration, especially when immediate support is desired. To support a more strategic approach to HR, conference speakers recommend attacking inefficiencies one at a time, developing a strategic plan, and gaining leadership buy-in.

What Are Your HR Insights?

HR Tech may have ended, but the lessons will continue to impact HR decision-making through the rest of the year. Keep the conversation going by staying up to date with our blog, or by demoing Oracle HCM Cloud to see how your organization can transform its HR operations.