On HR Tech Day 1, HR’s Evolution is Front and Center

October 27, 2020 | 3 minute read
Albert Qian
Content marketing manager for HCM
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The HR Technology Conference kicked off today and, like most industry events this year is virtual where attendees can join from the confines of their own home offices. Today was the first day, with thousands of human resources professionals logging in to hear HR thought leaders echo a very familiar tone: HR’s role has changed forever due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The themes of the first day are in parallel to those affected by the pandemic, notably the HR industry, organization’s and their response, and the shift in managing employees. Here are some of the high-level lessons we picked up: 

Takeaway #1: Despite the Pandemic, The HR Industry Continues to Grow

The HR Technology conference kicked off with a keynote from industry titan Josh Bersin where he focused on the evolving vendor market. With his collection of NASCAR slides showing the state of the market, Bersin explained that despite an overall global slowdown, the HR market continues to grow due to the need to serve disaffected workforces, including artificial intelligence, learning and development, and internal mobility. 

Another evolution of the HR industry that has become evident over the past seven months is the transition from “nice-to-have” HR solutions to those considered “mandatory”, such as well-being and recruiting. The former is important due to the growing conversations around mental health in the workplace while the latter addresses immediate pivots that companies need to make to maintain continuity—especially as business models and associated skill sets change. 

You can re-watch Bersin’s session here (registration required). 

Learn More: Read the AI@Work Study

Takeaway #2: The Acceleration of Business Agility

When I attended HR Tech in 2019, business agility was a part of the conversation, though for many different reasons. With many HR leaders still debating the merits of migrating into the cloud, discussions centered around the legitimacy of digital transformation. After this year, the debate is no more. 

This year’s HR Tech sessions concerning business agility focus on the best practices of survival and adjustment, especially with lessons from the early days of the pandemic when uncertainty was high and worries centered around business continuity. While the general climate has stabilized, concerns remain about employee well-being and mental health, new skill acquisition with businesses pivoting, and in-office workforce health and safety. Now more than ever, technologies are coming to assist, with chatbots, AI, and machine learning becoming more prevalent—something that Oracle VP of Applications Development Chris Leone addressed in his session (registration required). 

HR Tech kicked off its first day and the verdict is clear: HR’s role has changed forever.

Takeaway #3: What About the Employee? 

At the center of all these shifts are the employees that HR is focused on serving. New challenges have emerged as many now work from home or in unique circumstances, and HR leaders have found ways to keep engagement and inclusion high. Among some of the new approaches include more aggressive diversity and inclusion programs, a deeper focus on transparency in communication, and a greater variety of benefits

Join Us at HR Tech This Week

Do you plan to be at HR Tech this week? Visit Oracle Cloud HCM virtually at our booth where you can book some time to speak to one of our experts, demo our award-winning Opportunity Marketplace, or download our AI@Work study on mental health in the workplace. HR Tech goes through October 30th. 

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Albert Qian

Content marketing manager for HCM

Albert Qian is the senior content marketing manager for the Oracle Cloud HCM Campaigns team and the editor-in-chief for this blog. He's passionate about telling the story of HR technology and how it can create better workforces.


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