There was a time when grocery shopping was simple. The aisles were few, and the selection small, but you got what you needed and never looked back. Walk into a grocery store today and you’ll get stuck in the peanut-butter-and-jelly aisle for an hour just trying to decide between dozens of different brands and varieties.

What does any of this have to do with HR? The industry is growing quickly. Human capital management is expected to become a $22 billion-dollar industry by 2022 (it’s currently a $14.5 billion-dollar industry). That growth also means there are more tools and services available to HR teams than ever before. And let’s face it: Shopping that market starts to feel a lot like having a breakdown in the jelly aisle. What do I need? What do I want? What’s the best? What gives me the most bang for my buck? And so on.

Rewind to the ’80s and ’90s when HR technology mainly consisted of tools that automated processes and stored data. In the 2000s, there was a high demand for talent management software. And today, we revel in the benefits of the cloud. All these phases have one thing in common: They make life easier for HR teams. Recently, however, the focus has also been on creating a better experience for employees.


With that in mind, here are five growing needs of HR teams in today’s corporate landscape and the tools that are worth the time and money:

1. Learning and development tools

Millennials switch jobs often, and 55 percent of them are not engaged in their work, according to a Gallup report. Why? Because companies aren’t doing enough to keep them around. While it’s easy to get on your high horse and call them lazy, the reality is that Millennials make up the majority of the workforce, and if you want solid talent, you have to serve that market.

How can you do that, exactly? One way is corporate training that gets a little more hands-on, personal, and self-directed. Instead of delivering content in a classroom-like format (which many people don’t respond well to), training platforms help identify the skills an organization needs and then matches that learning to curated content for employees.

This has opened the market for platforms like Degreed, EdCast, Intrepid Learning, and Pathgather, all of which offer online video-based training — and best of all, much of it is free!

2. Collaboration

Collaboration isn’t a revolutionary concept in the workplace, but Millennials are pushing for it to become a priority, along with saying sayonara to the hierarchal structure. One way companies are meeting this need is something we call “Team of Teams” at IES, named after the book written by General Stanley McChrystal.

We create a network of specialized teams to strategize important goals and initiatives. The teams are often disbanded and then assigned elsewhere once those goals or initiatives have been achieved. Luckily, artificial intelligence tools are stepping up to help organizations manage this type of structure. Starling Trust is one that’s gaining popularity. Its predictive behavioral analytics platform is able to identify trusted networks and form teams within an organization.

3. HR team augmentation

HR has been fertile ground for professionals leaving organizations and providing their services as consultants. However, it can still be difficult to find the right type of consultant when you need it. HR consulting firms like Deloitte and KPMG are eliminating that headache.

Let’s say you need an executive coach on the spot because one of your top dogs made a bad decision. Voila! An HR consulting agency can provide a screened professional ready to take action. There are also experts available for compensation and benefits, engagement and communications, health and wellness, retirement savings, HR strategy, and talent management, and they even offer virtual support.

This can be a great service for a company that doesn’t have enough cash to hire a full-time HR professional or a business that just needs an extra set of hands during peak seasons.

4. Engagement with candidates

CareerBuilder’s 2017 Candidate Experience Study reports that about 78 percent of job candidates say their experience during the beginning stages of the hiring process indicates how the company values its people. While 86 percent of job seekers expect to be treated with the same respect as current employees, only 49 percent say that’s actually how it goes down.

So how can companies improve this? Don’t underestimate the value of keeping in touch with the candidates you choose not to hire. For example, CareerArc recently launched Candidate Care, a platform that employers can offer to non-hired candidates to help with the next steps in their job search.

Users gain access for up to six months and receive new job alerts, and there’s a job search engine with millions of opportunities, social networking assistance, workshops, video interviewing practice tools, skills assessment tests, and much more. Remember, each candidate is valuable — if not today, then maybe in the future. This service can help you avoid burning bridges.

5. Performance management

As the hierarchy within organizations changes to a “network of teams” model, performance management faces a much-needed shift as well. Because let’s face it: Traditional yearly review meetings aren’t as effective as they could be.

Luckily, new tools like 15Five are helping companies shift to a real-time, back-and-forth approach. It has all the great qualities of social media (including likes and emojis) combined with performance management reporting features for corporate, department, and individual objectives. Employees can provide real-time feedback and share wins with teammates, and managers can better understand how to support employees and act on those needs. Other tools to consider include BetterWorks, HighGround, Reflektive, and StandOut.

Plus, it can even help engage Millennials. According to Gallup’s report, Millennials actually become more engaged than non-Millennials when they have frequent feedback and communication. So while technology can be overwhelming at times, it’s also offering real solutions.


As the workforce continues to evolve, the HR department will be expected to manage new and different areas of business. Technology will be evolving simultaneously, so don’t be afraid to put it to good use.


Tania Fiero is vice president of human resources at Innovative Employee Solutions, a leading nationwide employer of record that specializes in human relations and payroll services. Founded in 1974 in San Diego, California, IES has grown into one of the city’s largest women-owned businesses and been named one of its “Best Places to Work” for 10 years in a row.


An expert in joint employment and the Affordable Care Act, Tania helps employers embrace contingent workers in their staffing strategy and culture. She is a Society of Human Resources Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) via the Human Resources Certification Institution. Tania previously served on the board of directors for the National Human Resources Association of San Diego. She was recognized in 2016 by the San Diego Human Resources Forum board of directors at its HR Executive of the Year event and in 2011 by the San Diego Business Journal as San Diego’s HR Professional of the Year.

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