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2018: The Future of HR Technology

The new year is just around the corner, which means we can expect scattered flurries of 2018 trends posts for the next few months. It’s a magical time of year if you’re the sort who enjoys the heady mix of futurism and crystal ball gazing that accompanies prediction posts.

One topic we’re particularly interested in is the future of human resources technology. The core role of an HR team hasn’t changed much over the decades, but as technological solutions continue to advance by leaps and bounds — robots, big data and AI, oh my! — we think 2018 is going to be a really interesting year for the HR department.

Here’s what’s on the horizon.

Greater Connectivity Means Better Productivity

Productivity in the workforce is hardly a new concern, but according to advisory company Deloitte, workforce productivity tools will be the number one technology disruption for 2018. What’s different about these new disruptive productivity tools than the ones that came before is that they’re really more about employee connectivity.

More teams are ditching email in favor of tools like Slack for communication and Trello and Asana for project management. But what we can expect to see in 2018, says Deloitte, are workplace productivity tools that look more like social networks where employees can post pictures, create groups, and communicate within teams.

This level of connectivity will help new employees integrate more quickly, create more team cohesiveness, and allow organizations as a whole to operate at the rapid speeds of today’s business needs.

L&D Gets Schooled with New Technology

Sierra-Cedar, a strategy and research firm, has been surveying a wide range of businesses about theirbHR technology decisions since 1997. And according to the Sierra-Cedar HR Systems Survey for 2017-2018, we can expect 2018 to be a good year for Learning and Development teams.

The L&D department claims the top position for increased hiring plans in 2017, followed by roles in recruiting and HR data analytics. Part of the reason is that changes in technology are reshaping the way companies treat their workers, and making skilled L&D staff a prized commodity.

In 2018, we expect to see more VR and AR learning solutions being employed to teach employees what they need to know in the moment. Business software marketplace Capterra predicts the workers of 2018 will be learning in virtual reality and augmented reality classrooms, and using AI-powered smart phone apps that can tailor learning experiences to the user.

Learn more: The Recipe For Effective Employees: Fewer Meetings, More Job Training

Intelligent Systems Offer Self-Service HR Options

With chatbots and wizards making it simple for consumers to solve most simple customer service problems on their own, it was only a matter of time before we started to see those same solutions show up in the HR office. When employees have questions about their benefits, want to change up their retirement plans, or need to find out if their target program is covered by your tuition benefit, self-service solutions can help.

As Tom Haak of HR Trend Institute writes, “A top-notch HR service centre is very important for a positive candidate and employee experience.” He expects that in 2018, that service center will include friendly chatbots and other programmed processes which will take the pressure off high-level HR professionals and free them up to do more sophisticated work.

Automated HR tools will assist HR teams with more than menial tasks, though. As Josh Bersin, president and founder of Bersin & Associates writes for Inside HR, we can expect to see a rise in intelligent systems that can perform a range of tasks such as coaching business leaders, assessing job candidates, and troubleshooting interpersonal organizational problems.

Learn more: Unpacking The 3 Main Artificial Intelligence Use Cases For HR


One of the newest kids on the block in HR is the concept of “cultureboarding.” Essentially, cultureboarding takes new hire training to a higher level by integrating elements of organizational culture into the onboarding process. In 2018, we expect to see more companies focusing on the concept, and using new technology to kick the process up a notch.

While many onboarding apps do focus on imparting culture, some companies are actually creating dedicated apps to help ease new hires in. L’Oréal is one example. As Rosie McCarthy, L’Oréal’s International Learning Manager writes, “While L’Oréal ensures that their newcomers are fully equipped to succeed, the newcomers thrive in the culture, making a big impact and, of course, feeling happier at work.”

All These Tools Will Augment Humans — Not Replace Them

You don’t need to fear that our new robot overlords are coming for the HR department — at least not in 2018. Instead, the big data analytics and artificial intelligence behind these tools will serve to augment a HR professional’s job performance, freeing them to spend more time and energy on the human side of HR.

From AI-assisted ranking of resumes and automated scheduling of interviews with candidates to monitoring key performance indicators in order to keep employees happier (and around longer), technology will continue to integrate itself in the HR department.

According to a study from payroll company Paycor, almost half of HR and business leaders believe core HR functions will be automated by 2022. And that will prove to be a good thing for forward-thinking HR departments. As Karen Crone, chief HR officer of Paycor told SHRM, ”Over the next five years, look for the most successful teams to embrace technology and focus more on performance.”

Is your team ready for the future?

Topics: Automate , HR
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