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Looking Forward to 2021: Three Key Takeaways from HR Industry Leaders

From October 27-30th, 2020, global leaders from various industries and companies gathered virtually for the 2020 HR Technology Conference and Exposition. All aspects of the HR industry (including AI and machine learning, chatbots, digital transformation, diversity and inclusion, employee engagement and employee experience), were discussed. Participants gained valuable insights needed to make critical technology decisions to support the unique needs for the “now of work” in 2021.

If October was a busy month for you and you missed this event, don’t despair! As we all learn how to adapt to current business challenges, various industry experts shared new research reports, economic trends, case studies and technology best practices.

Here are three key takeaways from this conference's community of passionate thought leaders:

1. The Acceleration of Digital Transformation Strategies Will Continue.

If there is any “silver lining” from this pandemic, it's that the COVID-19 crisis accelerated companies’ digital communications strategies by an average of six years, stated Jason Averbrook, industry analyst and CEO and co-founder of Leapgen. During Averbrook’s key note session on "Writing the New Book of Work", he advocated that we are in the “now of work” and that there is no going back to antiquated processes and strategies that no longer work for the current needs of the workplace.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technologies, such as Machine Learning and Chatbots, were part of most conversations this year, as industry experts embrace its importance and AI evolution to become a key part of the HR Tech ecosystem. Solutions like MeBeBot, leverage AI technology, as both human and machine supervised training and natural language processing, are core to the accuracy of instant answers the Intelligent Assistant delivers to employees' commonly asked questions.

Further research to support this is the recent McKinsey & Company Global Survey of Executives, which emphasized that companies have accelerated the digitization of their customer and supply-chain interactions and of their internal operations by three to four years. They state that this pandemic has been a “tipping point” event that has pushed companies towards digital transformation and many of these changes in motion now will set the tone for the future.


2. Employee Wellbeing (Physical, Mental, and Financial Health) has to be a Top Priority.

According to the latest Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition, employees’ risk of anxiety and depression have remained elevated, when compared to pre-pandemic levels. In this report, the “best case” scenarios show that employees are showing signs of adapting to living and working under the strains of the COVD-19 crisis, yet “worse case” scenarios demonstrate that the lack of a resolution to the crisis means workers are stuck in a constant state of adaptation.

Josh Bersin, Industry Analyst, stated that the ongoing theme is figuring out how to reduce stress, anxiety, and uncertainty when people are working under very ambiguous conditions.

The National Institute of Mental Health provides excellent resources to help cope with the stress and life challenges brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. Here’s a resource guide to share with family, friends and colleagues, to support those in need.

3. Remote work is here to stay; the “hybrid model” will likely be the long-term solution.

This year, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, distributed teams and remote workers are becoming more of the norm, primarily to ensure the health and safety of employees. Strategies for managing teams and ensuring business continuity, once thought to be years out from coming to fruition, were quickly implemented. Valuable lessons have been learned through this major shift in the workforce and organizations are realizing they can reap various new benefits (such as accessing talent no longer geographically constrained and enhancing the diversity of talent pools).

According to Stacey Harris, Chief Research Officer at Sapient Insights Group, their 2020 HR Systems Survey presented indicated that 28% of all companies surveyed are planning to increase spending in non-traditional HR Technology areas, like collaboration, communication and remote working tools.

“I think collaboration tools will continue to increase in their importance as we stay in a virtual or hybrid type of operating environment,” Ken Solon, executive vice president, chief information officer and head of digital at Lincoln Financial Group, noted during HR Tech’s final keynote.

MeBeBot’s Intelligent Assistant and AI Platform are such technology solutions that empower employees’ support needs during this pandemic. By providing employees with an easy to use chatbot (as an application within Teams, Slack or other collaboration tools), countless hours of time are saved in waiting for help desk tickets to be resolved and in searching for answers within company intranet pages. Creating efficiencies, improving productivity, providing cost savings, and time to value with an easy to implement solution are just some of the benefits MeBeBot can provide to your organization now and in 2021.

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