It’s no secret that employees are overwhelmed. They’re having to use an array of systems and enterprise tools in the flow of work and deal with an explosion of email messages and other communications requiring some response or action and mountains of content to consume and retain. On top of these time demands, employees must try to keep up with a staggering amount of organizational change.
Two critical needs arise from these challenges that have largely evaded the reach of both HCM software platforms and niche or point products: Organizations must improve their agility, and workers need a much better way to find what is most relevant while wading through a vast quantity of information. Organizational agility means being able to identify and proactively address key business risks and opportunities and to rapidly equip workforce members with exactly what they need when they need it.
Yes, today’s best learning management systems and learning experience platforms can serve up relevant video- and text-based content. However, the algorithms used to assess relevance are far from perfect — contexts and preferences change. Also, instructional videos, even shorter micro-videos, often must be consumed in their entirety to be useful. And even then the worker may not remember or be able to contextualize what he or she sees in a video in a way that helps address the work issue or business problem at hand.
A software category adjacent to learning management systems is knowledge management systems, and these tools can help workers access relevant content. Additionally, the knowledge contained within these repositories today is even more accessible when accessed using digital assistants. These can enable IT and HR departments to focus on higher-value tasks while the technology quickly fetches everything from routine answers to information that is specific to an individual. But these digital platforms, while useful and popular, do not help an employee or manager think critically.
Here are three examples of why I believe the HCM technology market is starting to address the need to improve productivity by better supporting critical thinking. This involves the technology prioritizing insights that are most relevant to the individual. I am encouraged by these product innovations.
At the end of last year, Planview, a provider of work and resource management software, acquired Spigit, an innovation management software company. Spigit provides organizations with tools that make it possible to tap into the collective intelligence of employees, partners and customers to help them discover the best ideas in the organization. This can increase employee engagement and utilize their knowledge and skills to help improve the value of the organization.
I serendipitously discovered Blinkist recently. It is a German company that has received accolades for the way its technology allows people to be more productive when they are reading. The company offers an iPhone app that was voted one of Apple’s best in 2017 and has 7 million subscribers. The app provides key insights drawn from more than 2,500 nonfiction books and the insights, a set of which takes an average of 15 minutes to read, are searchable by category.
Then there’s Pandexio. The emerging company’s technology platform offering stopped me in my tracks at last year’s HR Technology Conference, as it appears to directly address the issues described above. Pandexio’s customers are able to efficiently apply thousands of discrete insights or learnings that present themselves over the course of the year as employees read relevant articles and find better ways to solve business problems. This technology’s breakthrough quality is that it converts an individual’s critical thinking on a topic or business issue into insights the entire organization can potentially benefit from because they are “bite-sized” and rated for relevance and actionability.
Pandexio, Spigit — and on the consumer side, Blinkist — provide compelling evidence that things are changing. These innovations make more pursuable the quest of all business enterprises to turn a deluge of possibly useful facts and anecdotes into information that’s actionable, valuable and targeted.
Organizations seeking to optimize information and knowledge sharing for improved business results should investigate emerging capabilities in learning management systems. When time is short, the innovations described above can help organizations ensure that they derive maximum relevance and value from educational information. Such capabilities can have a transformative impact on the HCM technology landscape. It’s not just about AI-related breakthroughs. Intelligent automation and HCM product innovation come in many forms and these are examples with the potential to increase the engagement and experience of employees and the overall workforce.
VP & Research Director