Spotlight on HR technology trends in Singapore 2024

Author Janard Liew
March 18, 2024

According to research by Gartner, HR technology is ranked the number one area of investment in 2023 by CHROs and associated leaders, which is indeed reflected in the increased number of HR information systems (HRIS) appointments we have made over the past 12-18 months. HR technology’s rising prominence is accelerated in part by digitalization and the future of work agenda, encouraging ‘self-servicing’ where possible amidst changing workforce dynamics. In this article, we reflect on three core emerging trends associated with HR technology.

Design and configuration experience is in demand

Depending on organisational design and needs, HR technology can sit under the HR or information technology (IT) department. While confidential employee information continues to lie under the purview of HR, the lines between both divisions are increasingly blurred. Specifically, the ability to manage hands-on configurations is a key skill in high demand. This comes as more organizations are looking to be less reliant on external vendors, primarily for cost and sustainability reasons. This means there are elevated expectations for HR technology professionals to bring with them both project management experience (e.g. gathering user requirements) as well as the technical skills needed to make changes to modular settings in-house as much as possible. As a result, demand for talent with HR information systems (HRIS) implementation and solutioning experience, especially management consultants with former or current enterprise resource planning (ERP) backgrounds, usually as part of IT, has grown.

Taking a holistic approach to HR technology

The increased need for HR technology practitioners to be more hands-on is likewise related to the growing complexity of the wider environment, as the function looks to extend itself beyond just the storing of time/attendance and employee data and/or payroll processing. Big players that have gained popularity of late such as Workday and SuccessFactors for instance come with additional offerings (to be purchased separately) meant to tackle more ‘advanced’ HR topics (e.g. rewards, learning and development), which expands the competencies HR technology practitioners should possess to remain competitive. Matrix organisations with large HRIS team sizes can lead to siloed responsibilities e.g. each team member takes ownership of one/two modules. In such setups, a ‘jack of all trades’ HRIS specialist might struggle to cope with the depth needed to excel although ‘module specialists’ might face steeper learning curves when expected to take on the full suite in smaller setups. Put simply, the stratification of the HR technology landscape has both diversified and narrowed the pool of existing talent. Employers should take a holistic approach to structuring HR technology teams to ensure engagement, development, and retention while also de-risking the business from a knowledge management perspective, keeping upskilling and agile structures front of mind.

Strategising HR technology

Despite the resurgence of operational expertise, strategic systems thinking abilities continue to hold sway, that is to look at the whole rather than constituent parts for two reasons. First is the growing ubiquity of multi-system design (i.e. main system and other platforms rather than a single design) borne out of financial and/or utility considerations. Second, HRIS responsibilities also tend to encompass business-HR planning and projects as the seniority of the role grows and/or in a lean team structure. This means proactively mapping out the interconnections between up/downstream processes and/or linkages between platforms, conducting gap analyses to identify areas of potential integration, and reconfigurations as well as utilising analytics/metrics to make data-driven changes for growth to name a few. In other wise, technical know-how needs to be accompanied by sound business process analyses if the intent is to raise overall HRIS capabilities beyond mere repositories.

The Future of HRIS

In summary, we have highlighted how the HR technology landscape has undergone noticeable growth and complexity in recent times, which in turn inflects the types of skillsets in demand and hiring habits by association. This will be made even more complicated by the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and other tools. Aside from cost considerations, the extent HR technology is hailed as a business-enabling strategy with the potential to transform HR – and the business for the long-term if utilised strategically, ultimately starts from the top. Without the right senior strategists in place, HR technology tends to be an afterthought or remain siloed in the background. The focus here needs to be on employee experience.

It is important to stay abreast of these trends to be able to address them in a timely manner.

If you would like to build your HR technology, HR analytics, or reward team, or you wish to personally discuss your next career move, please contact Janard Liew, Charlotte Matthew and/or Sofia Wikho-Ng from the Frazer Jones reward, HR analytics, HR technology and payroll Southeast Asia practice today.

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