The HR industry is the middle of a digital revolution, and Belgium leads the way in Europe when it comes to digitalisation in the workplace. The country is a top 15 hotspot for human resource specialists.

The HR industry is going through huge changes. Whether it´s the automation of tasks, rationalisation of processes or employee satisfaction; HR is going through a digital revolution. According to the study Digital Workplace in Europe, an average of 38% of large European corporations have already digitalised a great deal of their HR processes. Belgium leads the way with 46% of companies responding they have already digitalised elements of the workplace.

“Digitalisation in HR is not only about the end of the paper era in personnel administration,” explains Erika Florizoone, Associate with PageGroup. “It also contains offering digital platforms to employees, such as online training, speeding up processes and linking personal data, like salaries and absences, to business and performance data. That will allow managers to make better-informed decisions.”

HR tech start-up scene

Digital companies in Belgium are taking on the challenge of creating their share of new developments in HR. Last year Belgian HR disruptor Beeple won the award for the start-up of the year in Belgium. The company offers an online tool to manage a flexible workforce. Beeple is part of a rapidly expanding industry of apps and online tools designed to help companies manage HR processes. The American trend watcher William Tincup recently added Belgian businesses to his list of 100 most innovating HR tech companies: SD Worx, that assists with automating and optimising payroll and HR processes, and Thalento, that offers online assessments.

Changing profiles of job candidates

The digital revolution also influences the profiles of candidates, says Erika Florizoone. “There is higher need, for example, for data analysts in HR and also for ‘real’ business partners to ensure that employees at any level can maintain and adapt their skills in an environment that is constantly changing.”

The combination of the international business environment and the advanced digitalisation, make Belgium one of the most attractive countries for HR professionals. According to a survey by Michael Page, 23% of all international job candidates in HR that were willing to relocate, see Belgium as one of top locations.

HR innovations: decoding facial expressions

A broad overview of the top 10 hotspots is made up of European and North American market economies, all with buoyant economies following the 2008 world crisis and well-established rule of law and commerce – making them desirable destinations for a mid-career change, or indeed a preferred place to start a career in HR.

In Europe, Germany is one of the leading countries. It´s therefore maybe no surprise that the global Theta Award 2017, for best idea in the world to improve HR and recruitment, was won by a German innovation. Andreas Kopp, a German graduate from Nuremburg won worldwide competition with a master thesis on a so-called facial action coding system may help recruiters decode the facial expressions of job candidates, to make better selection decisions.

The Theta Award was founded in 2013 in Germany, to help companies with new HR technologies. With the booming economy there is a high demand for good job candidates, and therefore for new HR techniques and strategies. It makes Germany one of the global hotspots for international HR professionals. Especially multinationals are developing more mature HR organisations and are focusing on enhancing HR data analytics capabilities.

Global methods of learning

The UK leads the design of digital strategies, but the migration process lags behind, possibly due to the large number of service companies which have slower uptake of SaaS due to their nature (employee heavy companies, less used to new disruptive technologies). Germany is a late bloomer in readying its workforce for the future of work – but is gearing itself to become a leading force when digital strategy becomes the norm across businesses and sectors.

Interestingly, it is companies in Europe that are leading the pack in terms of building the workplace of the future. In France, their openness to cloud-based computing in the development, marketing and HR sectors specifically (of the SaaS ecosystem 49.5% of are for these three areas), is a significant advantage. However, when it comes to supporting remote working or SLA-based delivery, there is a long way to go.

A globally challenging sector

 HR methods in different markets are changing around the world, and none more so than in Latin America, where exposure to international project and companies, new and challenging stakeholders, alongside new working environments and improved understanding of best practices, has brought about a revolution in the region.

There are strong and noticeable differences in the HR department focus and experience across the whole of Latin America. Brazil has enjoyed a long-term, strong relationship with unions and vast employee relations due to this, whereas in Argentina, HR directives have emphasised in-house talent management, learning programmes and talent acquisition.

What we saw in Asia a decade ago, will now happen in Latin America – the establishment of regional hubs, the emergence of key players with improved economic performance compared to regional competitors, and a refocus of hiring patterns and methodologies to ensure local talent takes up senior management roles.

Ranking global hotspots for HR professionals

For Trend Watch PageGroup surveyed 18352 job seekers worldwide, who applied on our Michael Page and Page Personnel websites during the 3rd quarter of 2017. Of the 1195 HR professionals who participated in the study, more than 65% were willing to relocate, for job opportunities, a better salary or a different lifestyle.

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