Paul Theroux said that winter is a time of recovery and preparation. Now at the end of January, these words feel particularly relevant as we reflect on what we have learned over the past year and plan for the future.

And, no, this is not a political post.

It is a post about HCM technology – a look back at 2016 and a look ahead to 2017.  As companies increase their investment in HCM technology, making decisions around what solutions will drive business outcomes has not been easy. Companies have to navigate a complex and evolving landscape while determining their own unique requirements. They have to consider future shifts in the market while honoring the specific needs of the past.

Below are some of the lessons we learned last year and what we have planned for the next month or two this year.

A Look Back: The Year of Simplicity

  • Simplicity Overshadows Innovation: HCM has become incredibly complex over the past few years. With new categories, new products and new providers, companies feel overwhelmed when evaluating and selecting providers. In an effort to innovate, many solution providers have lost sight of the simplicity that users are looking for in their products. Corporations want solutions that will ensure high adoption, less training, and a positive experience.
  • AI is Still Misunderstood: It is hard to talk about trends in HCM technology without talking about the emergence of Artificial Intelligence in everything from recruitment to learning to scheduling. Both old and new providers are going to market with AI solutions – promising this will be the future of HR. While many of these advancements help to improve the experience and efficiency of HR and recruiters, there is still much confusion about what this means for the future of our workforce.
  • Assessments are on the Rise: The demand for pre-hire assessments has never been greater. Companies face intense pressure in talent acquisition and they need proven solutions that will help them find the best fit. According to research conducted by Aptitude in 2016, nearly 80% of companies of all sizes plan to invest in assessments in the next 12 months.
  • Strategic Payroll is the Key to the Employer/Employee Relationship: Organizations in Aptitude’s 2016 Workforce Management study utilizing third-party payroll solutions had on average 13% fewer payroll errors than organizations using homegrown or manual solutions. Accuracy isn’t just important for ensuring perfect paychecks. If there is ever an audit or a grievance, accurate time and pay data is essential, as is being able to find it in timely manner.

A Look to the Future: The Year of Change

  • Recruitment Marketing Index: We are working hard on our recruitment marketing index that will publish at the end of February. Recruitment Marketing is one of the fastest growing markets and we are excited to provide clarity around the leading providers in the space.
  • Hire, Engage, Retain Survey: We plan to launch our Hire, Engage, Retain survey next month with a heavy emphasis on buying behavior, market trends, and areas of opportunity. We want to make sure we are collecting information that can help provide insights to companies looking to make better investments in 2017.
  • Payroll Index: Payroll has evolved over the past few years and providers are innovating the experience for administrators, managers and employees. Mollie is finishing up our Payroll Index and we are excited to publish that report in March.
  • Aptitude Interviews: Last year, we published the first of our Most Fascinating Leaders interview series. We plan to continue to publish these interviews this year.

So, that’s what we are working on here at Aptitude. We would love to hear from you about any new products, new strategies or new ideas.