An estimated 1,800 guests attended this year’s KronosWorks, looking to hear about the latest products from Kronos Inc. as well as the vendor’s general expectations for human capital management (HCM) technology moving forward.
HCM is a diverse topic, covering multiple applications such as time and attendance, staffing and scheduling, payroll and core HR. Kronos has already established itself as a major player in these areas, across multiple industries. However, these applications appeared to take a back seat at this year’s conference as the focus started to shift toward those areas of HCM that show the most promise for growth. The key trends at the conference were:
The importance of employee engagement
HCM vendors have already started to see that traditional applications such as time and attendance and payroll are saturated. Talent management on the other hand, shows plenty of room for growth. Common applications for talent management may cover acquisition or learning management, but now we are seeing vendors focus more on culture management, health and wellness, games and other ways to sustain a productive and fun work environment. Even more standard functions like scheduling are increasingly taking into account the growing workforce demand for flexibility, work-life balance and employee autonomy.
Mobile is taking over HR
Whether through tablets or smartphones, employees are increasingly relying on mobile devices for their jobs. This realization has of course led to the explosion of HR apps, creating in essence a new platform for employee self-service. The use of mobile can apply to almost all areas of HCM, including recruitment, onboarding, time and attendance management, scheduling, learning and employee feedback and engagement. The growth of mobile has also gone hand-in-hand with the boom of cloud technology, with an increasing number of customers putting heavier emphasis on deployment models, cost structure and ease of use.
Analytics is not one-size-fits-all
Throughout the conference analytics was a common point of discussion, but it became clear that such tools have a long way to go before customers will be able to truly derive strong value from them. Many existing analytic tools for HCM are simply embedded reporting features, allowing users to visually represent data but often without sophisticated predictive or prescriptive capabilities. All customers are intrigued by the idea of analytics, but at this point many are still looking for examples of other organizations that have solved real and immediate business problems. In particular, customers want to know how these analytic tools can be tailored for their specific industry, meaning that HCM vendors cannot approach their solution as a mere template for big data.
The themes at this year’s KronosWorks conference were not all that new. HCM customers continue to ask for simple things: software that is flexible, easy to use, affordable, easily integrated and something that will keep their employees happy. No HCM vendor has managed to find the magic formula yet, but that also shows how simple ideas can often be the most difficult to put into practice.