HR Technology and the “New” Industrial Revolution
HR Technology and the “New” Industrial Revolution

HR Technology and the “New” Industrial Revolution

The world of work has been shifting and evolving since the Industrial Revolution. We are now experiencing a new shift, and it’s a dramatic one. The Industrial Revolution inspired the creation of child labor laws, but it didn’t stop the progression of power-driven machinery expanding the textile and other industries. Similarly, the growth of the gig economy and on-demand workforce has not slowed, despite the calls for reform from politicians, the NLRB, and the FLSA to enforce labor standards, proper classification and protection.

Terri Gallagher is the President/CEO of Gallagher and Consultants, a workforce strategy solutions company focusing on contingent workforce solutions. She can be contacted at

We are moving away from having one job and staying in it for decades. The “new normal” of our workforce will consist of roughly 50% contingent talent (gig or independent workers) by 2020. The on-demand and gig workforce brings cost-efficiencies, vital skills, fresh perspectives and agility in times of unpredictable global markets and shifting labor demands. Social behavior and the workforce mix have changed the way people work. Workers have created independent “job security” and personal marketability following the Great Recession, wanting flexibility to enable greater life balance; “9:00−5:00” is becoming outdated.

HR technology gig economy

Millennials, who gravitate toward flexible and entrepreneurial careers, will comprise half of the total workforce by 2020. Brick and mortar office space is making way for a digitally connected remote workforce across the globe.

The Talent War is real. Baby Boomers (and their business knowledge) are leaving the workforce at the rate of roughly 10,000 every day. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 5.0 million job openings at the end of 2014, up 38% from two years ago. Skills shortages are causing delays in hiring and lost revenue.

Nearly half (49%) of employers surveyed by CareerBuilder claim job-specific skills are a scarce commodity; 60% of employers are concerned about the costs associated with delays in filling open positions, with one in four stating they have experienced losses in revenue as a result.

Technology has been dominating the HR and Talent Management space for the past decade – with increasingly widespread adoption occurring in the past year’. The digital talent supply chain, made up of the gig and on-demand workforce, is driving how we find, manage, and engage our total workforce. People with no time but money and people with no money but time can now trade with each other.

HR technology is not changing the way we work; the way we work is driving technology. Talent Strategy in the future will engage a technology ecosystem of different platforms handling all aspects of an organization’s workforce. HR is now a strategic partner for organizations and is taking a more innovative role, including driving user adoption of several types of technology platform that cover the full lifecycle of Talent Strategy.

Read more: Join the Race: Why HR Needs to Embrace the Digital Age>>

Enter the “new” Industrial Revolution

For Starters… Mobile-friendly designs are crucial: this generation’s talent does EVERYTHING on their phones, across the globe. HR needs to go where the talent is, and today it is on cell phones.

A Day in the Technology-Enabled Life of HR

HR technology apps

Workforce Data and Analytics – Workforce data is critical. Today you have access to dashboards covering your total talent landscape (contingent, IC, perm): VMS (Vendor Management System) technology like SimpleVMS captures all your temporary talent data; and RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) like Future Step captures recruitment process data. All these systems can be integrated as these technology platforms are designed with open API, giving you headcount, screening, onboarding, assessment, tracking, and vendor management. This data can be easily shared between departments/divisions; everyone is on the same page.

Talent Sourcing and Vetting – Recruitment networks like Peopleloop provide localized recruitment outsourcing in order to source talent quickly and cost-effectively in any location. Opening IO uses Artificial Intelligence, with robots trained to find suitable candidates according to minimum specifics, using linguistic algorithms to identify patterns within the structure and phrase of a job post to match with potential candidates. Professional recruiters can leverage platforms like Hirabl to track hires presented and determine vacancies, facilitating a proactive approach to hiring.

Worker Training and Retention – Training and development are key to combating the talent shortage and filling talent gaps. Annual performance reviews are obsolete. Companies like HighGround automate and elevate the employment review, development and rewards processes with real-time 360-degree feedback, surveys and interactive platforms. The WISP HR platform provides employee engagement tools to enable higher productivity, motivation, and collaboration.

These are just a few examples. HR Talent Management technology providers will continue to refine their offerings and cannibalize features of other technologies to broaden their platforms and services and capture the most useful functionality.

The key to embracing the “new” Industrial Revolution is not asking “Is this amazing technology?”, but “Is this technology a good match for us?” Execution and simplicity will be key to leveraging these technologies to take your business to the next level, and HR will be at the helm.

Share this post

Start typing and press Enter to search

Shopping Cart