How APIs can revolutionize workforce systems

And the hurdles to overcome.

Hey there,

I’ve been spending time looking at startups that build APIs for workforce solutions. Not the easiest topic, but while I was researching a recent presentation about the future of payroll, I was inspired by a couple of articles about the potential of APIs to offer an improved employee experience.

The focus of young fintech companies has been on disrupting the financial services industry. We all benefit from that approach, especially now that we can use our phones to pay for groceries instead of handling cash. But the source of our spending is payroll, and fintechs are eager to move up the value chain and unlock the valuable data hidden in there.

There is no doubt that seamless connections to payroll data can bring great value to employees, or consumers, as they are called by fintechs. But when it comes to privacy and data security there is also a potential for great risk. I’ve been surprised by how few of these young companies really understand what goes on in payroll engines. They are also unaware of how many deviations most company payrolls have, even when they use an external payroll provider.

So this month, you can read how APIs will change HCM and payroll including benefits and risks. I have included the links to the articles that provided inspiration, plus a couple of others that are just good primers if you aren’t technical and need a bit of background.

And the newsletter wouldn’t be complete without an overview of young companies creating new APIs to interact with HCM and payroll solutions.

Let me know if you find it useful and helps you think about what it possible,


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Insights & Ideas on APIs

When I first started exploring APIs The Promise of Payroll APIs provided food for thought. It has a fintech focus, and doesn’t pay any attention to data privacy and security issues, but it articulates the problem, the vision and the potential for APIs in an approachable way.

The next article looks at Payroll Data + Fintech. The author has drawn a great waterfall chart to visualize the relationship between financial and payroll data, and argues that while we’ve been focused on financial data downstream, we should actually move upstream to payroll as the source.

Banking Payroll with Fintech takes a closer look at the payroll vendors in the space, divided by early stage, late stage and public companies. It also adds Benefits, Time & Scheduling to the mix and has a couple of nice charts. It doesn’t however include what each of these vendors are working on in terms of APIs.

This new HBR article argues that APIs Aren’t Just for Tech Companies. Especially small and midsize companies could benefit from the use of APIs, to expose their data and functionality and increase their reach. By focusing on ‘value exchanges’ while removing friction at the same time, they can uncover opportunities that benefit all members in their ecosystem, including employees. The authors focus more on the potential than on the risks, but nevertheless provide good insights.

Meet the Innovators

Check out these new HRTechRadar members:

Payroll: Changepen

Service Management: HR Solv

Talent Acquisition: Visage

Workplace Tech: Huler

What’s next?

The "Nowhere Office" is Personal: This new hybrid space where ‘the office’ is, will be multi-site, never 9-5 and flexible in its working patterns. Our working identities, like the shifts happening within wider culture around gender and sex, are going to become infinitely more varied and more personalized.

The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work—Are We Ready? Short answer: “No, we aren’t.” The 2021 Work Trend Index from Microsoft outlines findings from a study of more than 30,000 people in 31 countries - it’s forward looking with solid advice on what to focus on so people can thrive at work.

Just about 60% of HR Professionals agree that their HR function boosts employee performance. And that’s not enough. For more insights in how HR has helped companies through the pandemic, and what they need to focus on next, download this report "The Future of the HR Function 2021: Prepare HR to meet the challenges of a newly transformed world of work".

In How COVID Changed the Future of Work Qualtrics asked 4000 remote workers about their experiences. Not surprisingly, they mostly enjoy the flexibility and want a hybrid remote/office arrangement in future. What is interesting about this report are the questions and answers about workspaces.

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See you next month!

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Written by Anita Lettink. I write and speak about workplace innovation and the future of work. I run HRTechRadar to showcase startups and work as analyst & advisor. You can connect with me on Linkedin or Twitter.