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The Journey for HR Services in 2018: Part 1


As 2017 comes to a close, it’s an ideal time to reflect on key developments and innovations within HR services, and what to expect in 2018 by HR service line. This week, I’ll discuss specifics around two aspects of talent management (recruiting and learning), and next week I’ll explore payroll and benefits administration in more detail.

Overall, the level of 2017 HR services contract activity held steady at a healthy rate. The majority of new contract activity was from mid-market organizations (defined as those with between 500 and 15k employees), while in large organizations, the focus was more on renewals.

The use of intelligent technologies, including RPA, machine learning and advanced analytics, across all HR services domains increased throughout the year, and more importantly, established a strong foundation for further developments in 2018. 


Finding the right talent is one thing, but knowing how long they will stay at any company is an entirely different ballgame, especially since millennials have developed a reputation for frequently changing jobs. To help organizations create more certainty around hiring needs, in the last year, vendors have begun to launch predictive analytics to determine employee turnover.

Even with predictive tools in play, there is a constant shortage of skilled labor in the market, which will keep demand for recruiting services high. In 2018, the global RPO market is forecast to grow ~11%, and the size of the MSP market will increase ~8%.

However, one of the biggest challenges organizations face is managing their talent, with HR responsible for permanent employees, and procurement overseeing contingent workers. To bridge the gap, in 2018 there will be a rise in the number of providers offering blended total talent management services similar to Alexander Mann and RTM.


For good reason, so much of the market’s attention is on the recruiting function. While acquiring the right talent is critical for any organization’s success, training and developing the workforce is crucial for its longevity.

Over the last year, many vendors have spent a good portion of time encouraging buyers to view learning BPS as more than a transactional service, and one that can impact an organization’s bottom line simply by tying training to specific performance objectives.

This new approach has gained some traction in 2017, but there is still lots of progress to make over the next year. To ensure success, 2018 deals will be small, focusing on one or two learning functions that are closely tied to a specific performance objective, enabling the supplier to demonstrate that the desired business outcome was achieved. This confidence will likely result in expanded contract scopes in 2019 and beyond.

But the success of this approach depends heavily on analytics to establish whether the training delivered accomplished the stated goal. Therefore, 2018 developments will be focused on analytics. In addition, expect to see artificial intelligence and cognitive capabilities leveraged for adaptive learning.

Stay tuned for part two of this blog series next week. 

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