Capitalising on human capital to thrive in the 21st Century

By Jeanett Modise, HR director at SAP Africa

The workplace has undergone tremendous change over the last decade to keep pace with the latest technology trends, leading to a 21st Century workforce that is global, tech-savvy, and able to work from almost anywhere. If SMEs are to effectively manage new challenges like bring your own device (BYOD) and capitalise on opportunities such as telecommuting, they will be required to investigate the technological available solutions that assist in recruiting and retaining talented and productive employees.

There are numerous HR tools and services available that support staff and management, allowing companies to capture employee details and contact information, culminating in the convenience of having just one place to maintain and manage employee records and data.

Nowadays, businesses also expect their Human Resource functions to make tangible contributions towards the growth and direction of the company and this can be achieved by tapping into the latest HR trends that are becoming more and more prevalent in the 21st Century workplace.

Mobility is the new black

The first of these trends is the rapid introduction of mobile technology in the workplace. Beyond the BYOD trend, mobile technology is enabling other trends such as video-based interviews, social recruiting over channels like LinkedIn, and mobile analytics.

The talent pool has just gotten much larger for companies as specific tasks and projects can be assigned to staff based in various locations and geographies, from where they are able to communicate and collaborate over secure, web-based channels.

Big data = big opportunity for talent analytics

Annual or bi-annual performance assessments are becoming a challenge, as this approach takes a lot of time. Not only in time having to be set aside to prepare for and run the interviews, but also in waiting for anticipated or discussed changes to occur.

Modern data analytics technology allows for a continuous real-time assessment of staff performance, so that employees receive on-going feedback about their performance and areas of improvement in order to address these. On the other end of the performance spectrum are the individuals who are doing excellent work and they can be encouraged to reach even greater performance heights, helping to build the company’s bench strength.

Gamification: The carrot to modify workplace behaviour

Forward thinking firms are starting to exploit the technology trend of gamification to boost the level of worker engagement, especially for training and e-learning scenarios. Gamification is the use of game design along with game mechanics within a workplace setting, with the aim of enhancing workers’ interaction levels with the content. This can be done either explicitly with work content to be developed into a game format for employees to engage with or implicitly, where game mechanics are used within content in the form of levels, a points system, or badges being awarded to the most active participants.

Technology is reshaping the manner in which employees work and the way employers seek out, hire, and evaluate their staff. To be in a position to attract the best staff and utilise their abilities and skillsets in the best possible way, businesses should probably be investigating human capital management tools most of which are currently geared towards the needs of a 21st Century workforce.

About SAP
As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable more than 253,500 customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably. For more information, visit

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