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Then and Now: 3 Ever-Evolving HR Trends

Over the last five years, the landscape of HR has transformed. With new developments happening almost daily — be it through technological advances or fresh policy — employees have the opportunity to engage with their organization more than ever before. With so many emerging trends, it can be hard to keep up. Luckily, our HR Break Room® podcast has been along for the ride.

Since its 2016 debut, dozens of prominent leaders and influencers have visited HR Break Room. From Barbara Corcoran to Guy Kawasaki, the podcast has hosted nearly 100 thought-provoking conversations over just as many relevant subjects. In doing so, host and producer Caleb Masters has a front-row seat to the industry’s numerous changes and developments.

We asked Masters his thoughts on three HR trends that have changed the most during his time in the HR Break Room.

The mobile emphasis

Before the podcast launched, mobile device usage was a thing, but it wasn’t the thing. According to Pew Research Center, smartphone ownership among Americans stood at 72% in early 2016, compared to 85% in February this year. Meanwhile, cellphone usage stands near-ubiquitous at 97% in 2021.

As the capabilities of devices grew, so have the opportunities to empower people through technology. From shopping to dining and every transaction in between, smartphones have shifted from novel utilities to second nature.

“The thing that strikes me is just how much we’ve shifted to the mobile side. I think it’s exciting because it speaks to Paycom’s thinking. We’ve long been about [mobile development],” Masters said, noting it feels logical that HR technology would follow suit.

Likewise, Paycom gives employees access to their valuable HR data anywhere and anytime through our mobile app, thereby empowering them and helping mitigate discrepancies, allowing HR professionals to focus on more strategic tasks and other important endeavors.

Employee experience

Weaving technology further into our lives puts more power in the palms of our hands. This is particularly useful for an employee.

Though Paycom is a forerunner in focusing on the employee experience, it wasn’t quite the industry standard when HR Break Room started. Masters found at that time, the vision of many organizations remained a bit nearsighted.

“Everyone was focused on engagement, but they hadn’t really gotten to this larger idea that engagement’s just a one-time thing, whereas the experience is much more,” he said.

To just attract top-level talent isn’t enough. Rather, an employee needs to remain engaged long after they’ve nestled into a job. Paycom empowers employees to manage their own data through easy-to-use tools like Employee Self-Service® and the recently released payroll experience Beti®, which allows them to approve their own payroll and engage with their organization unlike ever before. Talk about trendsetters!

Digital transformation

Embedded within both of the previous topics is the idea that technology transforms organizations. As Masters discussed with Information Age editor Nick Ismail in the podcast’s 51st episode, however, this transformation must be constant. This conversation occurred at the onset of 2019, over a year before events forced many organizations to become more reliant on technology than ever before.

“By aligning both the [employee] and technology,” Ismail said, “it will ensure that organizations reap the benefits of innovation while focusing on personalizing and enhancing the employee experience.”

Ismail stressed that the ability and willingness of HR — “the heart of any business” — to adopt new technology is crucial to an organization’s long-term growth. In order for such a transformation to positively impact the culture, he explained, the integration of technology would need to be simple, straightforward and accessible.

Fortunately, Paycom provides just that. By consolidating all of an organization’s HR data into a single, easy-to-use software, we help businesses take digital leaps that feel like baby steps.

The possibilities of what technology can do for employers and employees are endless. And each of those possibilities yields just as many, if not more, conversations. Luckily, the HR Break Room will be there to host them — one cup of coffee at a time.

With HR Break Room’s 100th episode just around the corner, you know we have something special planned for this milestone. Stay tuned for its release!


DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, tax, accounting or other professional advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation and for your particular state(s) of operation.