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Tech Trends for HR Managers: The Year Ahead

Joetta L. Wagner

Joetta L. Wagner

HR managers need to stay on top of tech trends in the industry

HR managers need to stay on top of tech trends in the industryHR managers are in the midst of a global revolution for the better. We’re currently experiencing the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The first of these revolutions saw the introduction of mechanization with both steam and water power. The second featured mass production made possible by electricity. Finally, the third saw the development of automation as well as both electronic and information technologies. Innovation drives revolution. This latest industrial revolution is being powered by a combination of physical and digital changes. The entire business universe will reap the benefits of what’s developed, including human resources.

HR Managers and Technology Working Hand in Hand

Without question, HR managers and their teams play a huge role in the development and business use of technologies. So, what is this tech revolution affecting?

Cross-functional work teams

These have already been in play for several years. Also called transversal teams, these teams intersect and crossover with others (just as transversal lines in geometry intersect with a system of lines). Since communications are a vital element in these teams’ successes, new and improved tech will make them more efficient and effective.

Internal communications systems

Innovations and improvements to these systems should see an uptick that will bring immediacy and transparency to a new high. Additionally, more companies are investing in expanding and tailoring systems to their specific needs.

Recruitment process automation

The recruitment process remains one of the most labor intensive for HR teams. Now, more automation is available to help find qualified candidates and streamline the interview process. This gives HR more time and resources to put into onboarding and retention (which reduce the need for extensive recruitment).


Look for an expanded use of games and gaming strategies to educate, train and motivate talent. As Mary Poppins famously pointed out, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and snap, the job’s a game.”

Employer branding

health and financial wellness; employee engagementA concept that started appearing in the 1960s, employer branding refers to a company’s reputation as an employer. Is the company a great place to work and one that values its employees? Advancements in tech are helping companies reinforce their employer brand, making it easier to show workers their concerns matter. Companies are taking advantage of everything from texting services to notify employees of weather-related closures before they hit the roads, to cloud systems that enable flexible hours and remote opportunities.


This trend addresses not only a broader hiring platform, but also refers to organizations that have multiple products or businesses. Technology makes the collaboration necessary for diversification easier, especially when it raises the voices of underrepresented or overlooked workers. More ideas are being shared and more innovation is happening at all levels.

People analytics

Data helps HR managers identify, attract, develop and retain talent. HR also uses data to figure out what works best to motivate employees and increase productivity. People analytics are handy when making decisions regarding employee benefits programs, building a change management strategy, how to communicate corporate messages, and more.

Technology and Industry

Why are some industries slow to adopt technology? Well, it’s expensive for one thing. The initial investment can cause the finance people to have a meltdown. It takes time to train employees in the use of new technologies, and time is money. So, what industries are still using low tech?

HR managers can use tech to improve training and onboardingWhen it comes to the use of tech, the “bottom three” industries are hospitality, construction and agriculture/hunting. As industries with high turnover and larger physical labor components, this isn’t too surprising. Similarly, it’s no real surprise the top industries to employ technological advances are information and communications technologies, media and professional services.

An important thing to remember when looking at the four Industrial Revolutions is the “people factor.” People don’t like change. When change happens, people worry about everything from job security to the challenges of learning new skills. Positive change management techniques can be initiated by HR to quell fears and promote employee satisfaction.

Human resources managers need to monitor technology trends around them. Some trends have obvious applications to HR departments, such as using artificial intelligence to sort and organize job candidates. But other technologies, such as personalized, predictive medicine, could prove indirectly helpful.

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