If HR 1.0 was the dawn of the modern HR function as it blossomed out of the traditional Personnel departments and HR 2.0 was the introduction of the Ulrich model (shared services, HRBPs & CoEs) then we must be undergoing HR 3.0 – the digital HR function. In this blog we look at some of the opportunities that HR 3.0 presents focusing on four ‘hotspots’ that are trending right now which are likely to influence the way HR 3.0 operates.

Hotspot 1 – Social Media and Listening Posts – new ways to connect employees
For a number of years, the employee survey has been the mainstay of understanding employee sentiment. With the emergence of listening posts from the marketing industry – employee vision zones, immediate response surveys to name a few and social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Yammer, Connect), HR can now take advantage of technology to tune into the business. Gathering and responding to real time information is now a reality which the HR function can use to better understand the needs of the business and respond appropriately. Treating your employee as a customer is the next step in managing personal expectations and connecting people across the business. This is especially relevant for Generation Y and Millenial employees entering the marketplace who expect to be heard and responded to in real time.  If you have not yet developed an effective way to connect digitally with your staff you are losing ground to your competitors.

Hotspot 2 – The Cloud – new options for delivering HR processes
The cloud and software as a service has pushed forward software development to a new level. HR IT functionality is now ‘on demand, by demand’. With ever more choice to make processes smoother and in line with current ways of working, HR has the opportunity to update its systems and technologies, although recent views suggest that HR has been slow on the uptake compared to Finance and Marketing. Areas which can particularly benefit from an on demand approach are: talent management, performance management and learning & development. The advantages of cloud are the costs, the speed to upgrade and the built-in best of breed processes. If you are still struggling with upgrading your current ERP system then the cloud may provide an excellent “leap frog” solution.

Hotspot 3 – Mobile – new possibilities for delivering HR services
Mobile technology has leapt forward over the last few years with Apple and Android leading the way in developing a world powered by Apps. The opportunities for HR are many with the ability to create and generate a suite of mobile apps that support employee and manager self-service – covering everything from absence management, L&D, expenses management, travel management and so on to mobile enabled recruitment.  Making employee and manager self service simple, intuitive and mobile is a logical next step in the provision of HR service. The added benefit is that using mobile encourages people to own their information, much like online banking, freeing up HR time to focus on the more strategically important aspects of the role – something which has been top of the to-do list for some time.

Hotspot 4 – Data Analytics – new opportunities to enter the strategic debates
One of the main gripes about HR is that it rarely produces clear bottom line metrics. With the recent rise in web based analytics and big data there may be an answer. Previously unavailable software and expertise has propelled data management to a new level. HR can now use sophisticated modelling systems to generate clear forecasts and insightful management intelligence (MI). The future orientated MI around people related risks, workforce productivity dynamics, recruitment patterns and hot knowledge topics enables HR to bring data of real value to the Board table and participate in high value discussions.

Each of these Hotspots on its own adds value to HR function. Combined, they represent the core of HR 3.0. Whilst by no means exhaustive, these hotspots represent the best starting point for HR to take on the opportunities to transform into a digitally led service. Digital technology adoption by HR is, however, in its infancy; there is still a long way to go. Upgrading to HR 3.0 is the logical step to capture the power of digital and transform the HR function and its value to the business.