Executive insights on the future of HR technology
At Click Boarding, we’re all about new beginnings. Despite the whirlwind that defined 2021, we found success amidst a pivotal year. As we embark on 2022, we’re looking ahead with high hopes and promising growth plans. This includes tech innovations, product enhancements and – perhaps most exciting – new faces from the industry. Each of our new leaders were strategically selected to propel Click forward, given their extensive backgrounds in HR software, consulting and digitization. Given these unique perspectives, we had to ask for their insights and predictions on the future of HR technology. Afterall, it’s changing at record speeds and all signs point to further advancements in the years to come.
With that, let’s dive into the questions. We’ll start with a heavy focus on Click’s new CEO, followed by compelling POVs from our new CTO and SVP of Product. Here’s the lineup:
- Mike Ehrle | Chief Executive Officer
- Adam Wachtel | Chief Technology Officer
- Josh Hoover | Senior Vice President, Product
Q: What do you like about HR?
A (MIKE EHRLE): “What I most appreciate about HR is that it’s universal. It cuts through all verticals across every corner of the globe. Long story short, HR is needed. People have to enter organizations, and they need to work. For those reasons, you need some flavor of a human resources department wherever you are. The need to automate these human interactions – at scale – has become critical in this digital environment. And it’s soon to become commonplace. That’s why human resources technology is ever-present and even becoming more so!”
Q: Speaking of HR tech, you have quite the track record in HR benefits administration. Why the move to Click?
A (MIKE EHRLE): “When I came across Click Boarding, I could immediately see the broad appeal and found passion for what the technology can solve. The Click Boarding platform is so important in today’s marketplace amidst the Great Resignation (more on that later). A good onboarding experience for an employee is huge and will lead to long-term retention, which we’re starting to see.
The milestones of onboarding, offboarding, M&As and other employee transitions are critical. to employee engagement and satisfaction. These moments are also important to the big HCM players in our space who haven’t quite figured this out. They are focused on so much that going deep on a best-in-breed solution tied to employee lifecycle events just doesn’t make sense. And it likely won’t be on their roadmaps for a long time… if ever.
I think best-in-breed – integrated with great HCM solutions – are here to stay. Right now is a wonderful time to introduce this type of capability in the marketplace. And to put it simply, I wanted to be a part of it.”
Q: So, are you saying HR needs haven’t historically been met in the onboarding and engagement space?
A (MIKE EHRLE): “Yes. Click Boarding hones in on two areas that are critical to success in our space. This includes the compliance side of onboarding as well as the employee experience or engagement side of onboarding.
We see other companies out there take one approach or another, whereas we take both rather seriously. We’ve gone incredibly deep on the compliance side via local, state-wide, federal and international regulations.
Reversely, when it comes to employee engagement, we ensure employees understand – in a linear fashion – what’s next for them and what they need to focus on. As humans, we’ve all experienced poor onboarding. That’s what Click Boarding technology can truly help resolve while ensuring employees feel a part of a company culturally before Day 1 and well into their tenure.”
A shifting workforce dynamic
Mike raised some interesting points in regards to the state of HR tech today, which begs one question: how did we get here? Over the last two years, various factors have contributed to a shift in working dynamics. Each of these have affected the workforce at large with extreme implications on HR as a function. Let’s dive into a few key drivers:
Q: How has COVID impacted the working landscape?
A (MIKE EHRLE): “Obviously, the tidal wave of COVID led to extreme health concerns and safety precautions that took HR by storm. But once those immediate protocols were addressed, a new reality of working from home took shape. And that’s where our industry was completely rocked.
Working from home has made our role more important than ever as an HR tech solution provider. Organizations absolutely depend on the technology and systems they’re using.To be honest, employers simply were not prepared. Many HR teams were narrowed down at the start of the pandemic as they were among the first to get cut. They became stretched with ACA requirements and pandemic response practices, not to mention the possibility of company-wide RIFs. In response, many HR teams have not bounced back, as they remain thin and lean, asked to do more with less. It’s another reason why efficiency through technology is critical.”
Q: How have employee expectations evolved?
A (MIKE EHRLE): “Employees are demanding more now than ever before. And – to be fair – it’s about time. Employees deserve to be treated as valued team members that are human beings. Yes, onboarding is critical, but engagement opportunities go well beyond the initial entry into an organization.
Employees are demanding meaningful transitions throughout their tenure, at every turn. This poses quite the issue today, as most companies see this as an afterthought. It’s time for employers to wake up and leverage technology to deliver consistent and captivating experiences to their greatest asset: their people. This is especially integral today as mental health needs have spiked relentlessly amidst COVID-19, coupled with ongoing isolation.
It’s important to leverage a system that facilitates movement in an organization but also one that can get a pulse check on your employee base. Companies need to earnestly and regularly ask employees how they are doing and take action to impact their satisfaction and engagement. Data analysis behind these activities are where the true power comes in to address a potential red flag or even prevent an employee exit.”
Q: You mentioned The Great Resignation earlier… What’s your take on this concept?
A (MIKE EHRLE): “For starters, the Great Resignation phenomenon is all too real, and anyone who doesn’t think so is simply in denial. In my eyes, The Great Resignation has almost become The Great Migration.
I’m also not convinced that it’s a short-term anomaly. Now that working from home has stuck, even with hybrid models in place, employees have formed a significantly different attitude with their employers, one that’s become temporary in nature, rather than a long-term commitment.
As a result of these dramatic changes, the concept of job transitions will become even more popular and could stick around much longer than originally anticipated. In response, employers need to step up to deliver better engagement opportunities. On the other hand, HR technology providers need to continue to innovate and provide better solutions that meet employees where they are in the employee journey, as well as develop a method that’s most impactful for them.”
In short, the future is bright
That’s certainly a lot to unpack. But analyzing those factors help us appreciate the unique dynamics that transformed into today’s reality. After all, if we don’t learn from the past, we can’t positively impact the future. With that in mind, we asked our new leaders for their fresh perspectives on the future of HR technology. Their collective insights aren’t surprising, given the past two years:
Q: How will working dynamics continue to evolve?
A (MIKE EHRLE): “Our work-life dynamics have been forever altered by the pandemic, and I genuinely believe the changes will keep coming into 2022 and beyond. We know today’s employees have higher expectations, but they also have different expectations. They are forming an entirely new outlook on work and the role it plays in their lives. The “worker of tomorrow” is today asking for non-traditional and flexible working schedules, habits and frameworks. We’re seeing this across industries, in a variety of capacities:
- Payroll solutions have begun paying for labor by the day, rather than the more traditional bi-weekly cadence.
- The five-day work week has been discarded by many organizations, replaced with a four-day work week.
- Employees are showing particular interest in more flexible schedules that include substantial periods of time off for travel, holiday…you name it!
In summary, things are changing… and fast. For our category of employee onboarding specifically, the need to get it right is becoming paramount. As workers continue to jump the fence ship for greener pastures, we’re seeing more cases of ghosting their newfound employer. In fact, a troubling 76% of companies reported having been ghosted by candidates since March 2020.
So why is it so hard to get onboarding right? The problem is that many organizations continue to see onboarding as Day 1. The truth of the matter is that it’s so much more than that. It starts the moment a new hire says “yes,” and it never truly ends. The longer employers ignore this need, the worse off they’ll be in this evolving environment and ultimately in the long run.”
Q: The concept of The Digital Transformation has been a very hot topic in HR. What’s your view on how it will continue to take shape over time?
A (JOSH HOOVER): “Digital Transformation is much more than simply eliminating paper and streamlining processes. That’s just where it started. Because we now have access to data that technology enables, we can truly leverage it to make business decisions. As an HR software solutions provider, we have the opportunity to share insights that are both proactive and forward thinking. As a function, HR needs access to this quick, reportable data to articulate the true impact to the bottom line of an organization.”
A (ADAM WACHTEL): “Throughout the Digital Transformation, we’ve seen APIs and cloud computing make integrations across platforms much easier. As a result, it allowed corporations the flexibility to pick and choose various point solutions to form a more cohesive and comprehensive tech stack. In terms of automation and technology, HR has historically lagged behind other business units within an organization. Thankfully, it’s gotten better with an radical focus on automation.
In response to the impacts created by COVID, efficiency drivers through technology became critical. Everything had to be fully automated, online and at the users’ fingertips via their personal devices. There’s absolutely no doubt the pandemic acutely expedited the HR technology evolution (and revolution).”
Q: What are the benefits of technology that old working models are unable to provide?
A (ADAM WACHTEL): “It may have been tough to see at first, but there certainly have been positive impacts to a fully virtual working dynamic. In general, people aren’t geographically focused as much as they were before. As a result, hiring and job hunting have opened up drastically with the freedom to work and structure a team from anywhere.
Additionally, this shift puts an onus on technology providers to ensure everything works when it needs to. These new demands have forced technology solutions to get better, and fast. As players in the space fight relentlessly for attention, the offerings improve by landslides compared to the status quo.”
A (JOSH HOOVER): “One benefit I’m most fond of is the ability to bring one another into our homes virtually. Now that video conferencing is commonplace, we get to see a personal view of our colleagues. Whether that be our kids rummaging through the house, our pets gingerly napping close by or our distinctive taste in wall art, the theoretical walls of division come down. This enables us to better appreciate one another’s individuality. I hope that never goes away!”
Q: Given your background in HR tech consultation, what do you anticipate the workforce of the future will look like?
A (JOSH HOOVER): “In my point of view, one thing is clear: the needs of organizations in meeting employee expectations are data-oriented. It’s been an ongoing battle to access data, run reports and leverage insights for true impact on the business. The faster that’s addressed, the better off we’ll all be.
One of the most challenging struggles for many HR professionals is that they’re stuck in a mindset that they’re solely an independent function. The truth of the matter? HR is becoming both a profit center and cost savings department that can – and should – impact the bottom line of the organization.
Through automation and engagement efforts, HR is empowered to drive savings, cut costs and perhaps most importantly in today’s dynamic, retain valuable talent! It’s time for HR to own this role and understand the cost implications of employees entering and exiting the business. It’s where ultimate value is shown.”
Q: What trends do you see ahead for HR tech?
A (JOSH HOOVER): “Within HR technology today, most solutions are building platforms and databases on relational systems, a common type of database that stores data in tables. With this methodology, a future opportunity is how we will leverage graph databases which access data based on its relationships to other data. That’s where the insights become actionable and therefore powerful.
Other trending technologies are becoming more mainstream, such as AI (Artificial Intelligence). I envision this becoming more conventional with the potential to drive company culture and employee engagement.
Finally – at risk of sounding too nerdy – I see significant potential with blockchain technologies, best known for powering cryptocurrency. This decentralized, distributed ledger technology will streamline processes more than we ever thought possible; so much so that it’s instantaneous. Now that’s what I call efficiency!”
A New Year’s Resolution, from Our New Leaders
We started this piece with a promise to propel forward. With a vision to advance our industry for the better. So how will we get there? We asked our leaders, and they answered. Check it out.
Q: Tell us about your vision for the future of Click Boarding.
A (MIKE EHRLE): “Oh, there’s a lot here! It starts with going deeper in employee experiences to advance our offering within our current space. The goal is to offer the greatest best-in-class solution across onboarding, offboarding, mergers and acquisitions (M&As), etc. We’re already there, but we can always improve.
Aside from this, it’s evolving Click’s solution to a broader set of employee retention plays so employers can continue to engage with talent well beyond just their first 90 days. It’s about taking regular pulse checks on the health of employees at their organization. What do they need? Do they feel a sense of belonging? What have they perhaps not had? Where are they hoping to go with their personal careers?
Employers are craving a retention solution, and Click Boarding has both the opportunity and drive to deliver. Let’s not forget that remote working is here to stay, so how can we further capitalize on delivering true engagement in a fully virtual world? That’s where a technology like ours has such incredible value and importance today.
My vision for Click Boarding is that we are relevant in bringing a new employee into the culture of an organization, permanently. We are there helping them understand how they fit in the broader solution set at an organization, matching the unique culture of that company.”
Q: Given your outlook, what are your impressions and plans for ClickRetain?
A (MIKE EHRLE): “The ClickRetain product that’s currently in beta is a necessity. The reality is that employers are demanding this capability from a solution like ours. It’s truly taking onboarding to the next level, and that’s what’s beautiful about the technology we’ve created at Click.
ClickRetain allows us to stay close to the employee base, ensuring they’re getting all of the resources they need from their employer. Whether that’s one day in, 90 days in or one year into their tenure.
Further, ClickRetain integrates analytics behind the scenes to identify at-risk employees at predetermined milestones. Over time, we will have a great deal of data across clients to provide benchmarks, industry standards and strategic recommendations to retain talent.
Finally, It’s important to note that we’ll do so in a way that respects the confidentiality and integrity of the employee. This is where the value comes in for our clients: leveraging Click’s existing technology to expand into a solution that stays in tune with their employee base over time.”
Q: What’s your game plan to evolve Click’s tech capabilities?
A (ADAM WACHTEL): “My four tenets for our technology advancements include:
- platform stability
- solution scalability
- data security
- product enhancements
To meet these aggressive goals, we’re thrilled to unveil a Click Boarding product roadmap to document our commitments to product updates over time. Such an endeavor gives our team direction and focused goals for true accountability. More importantly, it provides our clients and prospects with expectations and timelines for enhancements.
Client satisfaction is our top priority, and we’re eager for this new milestone that’s primarily focused on visibility and transparency.”
Q: What’s your product mission for Click Boarding looking into 2022 and beyond?
A (JOSH HOOVER): “As Click’s new product leader, I’m focused on two key goals. Both objectives are intended to keep a close pulse on the industry and what HR professionals in the market are telling us. These include:
- Continue to innovate.
This is not simply for innovation’s sake, but instead to not only meet but exceed the evolving needs of our customers. Being innovative and thinking differently isn’t just about automating today’s processes. It’s about building on future needs and challenges to create something that’s truly one-of-a-kind. It’s like Mike says (for any hockey fans out there): we need to focus on where the puck is going.
- We need to listen.
My background in consulting has proven the success behind this strategy. At the end of the day, we’re here to satisfy the needs of HR professionals. To accomplish this successfully, we must first understand their world. What drives them? What motivates them? Of course, there’s that age-old question of what keeps them up at night?
I plan to ask these questions (and more) of our clients to truly understand how we can deliver a solution that changes the game completely. It could be something our space has never seen before, one which none of us realized we needed. Listening will get us to the bottom of it, and I’m all ears.”
Onward & upward, together!
Needless to say, we’re excited for the future at Click Boarding. In the spirit of new year’s resolutions, we resolve to continue to provide cutting-edge, innovative HR solutions in 2022 and beyond. This is Inline with our mission to create exceptional experiences across the employee journey. At the end of the day, we’re in the business of people, and we’re honored to be a part of this monumental time in HR tech.
So there you have it, folks. We hope you’ve learned a bit about our new executive people leaders and the road ahead at Click Boarding. Stay tuned for more updates from our growing team. You won’t want to miss it.
To learn more about our Onboarding and Employee Engagement platform, reach out to our team of Clicksters today. We’re here to make your life easier, one employee experience at a time.