HR technology spending may not increase in 2021 as it did in recent years. But companies still plan to invest in improving efficiency, productivity, and learning and development.
Only 30% of organizations plan to spend more on technology compared to the 42% that did last year, according to Sapient Insights Group’s 2020-2021 HR Systems Survey. Yet 28% of organizations plan to increase spending in non-traditional HR Technology areas like infrastructure and remote working tools.
Other surveys also point to continued spending. Seven of 10 organizations that participated in Gallagher’s 2020 HR Technology Pulse Survey expect to expand or replace their HR technology by 2022.
“The economic uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic hasn't stopped organizations from spending on HR technology,” according to a Society for Human Resource Management article about employers still buying HR tech.
“While some companies hit pause on such investments, others have viewed the pandemic as a time to create new process efficiencies, boost productivity by updating old systems or implement new tools with an eye toward a post-COVID-19 future.”
In 2021, HR technology spending will focus largely on creating organizational efficiencies, improving the productivity of remote workforces, and supporting learning and development for employees.
Sixty-nine percent of HR professionals expect their budgets to increase this year with 50% anticipating technology to be the biggest beneficiary of the additional spending, according to the 2020 Paychex Pulse of HR Survey.
“A downward trend in manual task approaches to HR also indicates that more HR professionals are integrating technology into their strategies. Compared with 2019, this year manual completion of rekeying of data is down 60 percent and time spent manually merging data to inform decision-making is down more than 40 percent,” Paychex noted.
Seventy-nine percent of HR leaders cited self-service technology as an efficient way of meeting the needs of employees while reducing the demands on HR by streamlining administrative tasks like updating personal information and requesting time off.
"HR, itself, has turned into a much more innovative, adaptable part of a company," industry thought leader Josh Bersin said during his keynote talk at the recent HR Technology Conference & Expo, TechTarget reported in an article about tech trends in HR. "The big story about technology is we're consuming a lot of it."
Bersin described HR tech as shifting to "work tech," TechTarget reported. Companies are layering productivity platforms such as Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, Workplace from Facebook, and ServiceNow onto human capital systems to make them more flexible and more productive for people, Bersin said, according to TechTarget.
Sapient Insights Group’s 2020-2021 HR Systems Survey showed that learning and development is where employers plan to invest the most in for tech upgrades, with 37% of organizations evaluating or planning to replace their learning tools within the next two years, Human Resource Executive reported in an article about changes to the l&d market.
“Learning has the lowest user experience and vendor satisfaction score of every other group right now,” Stacey Harris, chief research officer of Sapient Insights Group, said in announcing the results of the organization’s survey at the HR Tech conference, according to Human Resource Executive.
“Customers are frustrated,” Harris said. “They’re still looking for whatever it is that will meet their [learning] needs.”
Companies may not plan to spend as aggressively as they have in the past when it comes to HR technology. But they remain committed to improving efficiency, productivity, and learning and development--and that’s where they will invest in 2021.
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