Technology and HR Management Panel Trends Report


About the Special Expertise Panels’ Trends

The lists of key trends each panel produces in its subject area make use of panel members’ insights to uncover a wide range of HR-related trends. These lists assist SHRM in creating forward-looking information and content for our members in forums such as the online HR Focus Areas, research articles, reports and surveys, and through media and outreach efforts. SHRM would like to acknowledge the efforts of each of the members of the Special Expertise Panels.

Disclaimer: The views presented on this report are those of the members of the SHRM Special Expertise Panels and do not necessarily represent the views of SHRM. All content is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as a guaranteed outcome. The Society for Human Resource Management cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions or any liability resulting from the use or misuse of any such information.

Technology and HR Management Panel Trends

  1. Social HR: The use of social networking throughout HR is changing HR from a “brick and mortar” department to a virtual contributor in a global organization. These tools are being used to improve how HR communicates and shares information with employees and applicants. In the recruiting area, this includes talent networks, meet ups and new relationships with a broader (potentially global) pool of recruiters. Applicants are beginning to use social media profiles as résumés and videos to demonstrate their abilities. Increased use of crowdsourcing as a collaboration and business problem-solving tool is giving HR even more ways to gather information. Internal social networks are being used for harnessing and transitioning institutional knowledge management. A growing acceptance of anonymous feedback by employees will only continue to encourage use of these tools for measuring engagement, job satisfaction and potentially HR effectiveness. 

  2. Education and certification: Overall, the workforce is becoming more educated, and we are seeing an increase in certification, resulting in a larger pool of candidates. With the rising cost of a college education, there is a trend to opt for technical/trade certifications. For high school graduates, these certificates provide an entry-level knowledge base. For older, more experienced employees, certifications provide a way to continue to learn and keep their skills fresh. Major universities (such as Stanford and Cambridge) are beginning to offer free or reduced-cost online virtual programs. This shift to micro-credentialing for specialized certifications and the use of digital badging to market oneself across multiple platforms will continue to grow. More internal learning and development modules are being web-deployed. HR communications are also being done through these tools. Webinars are readily available and less expensive than classes, making it easier to stay on top of knowledge and trends and more affordable for smaller companies.  

  3. Vendor consolidation: Large technology providers are expanding their market share by acquiring the platforms to round out their product suites and better handle the total employee lifecycle. Businesses continue to struggle with vendor and system integration/communication across the organization for centralized/consolidated reporting.

  4. Technology and compliance: Technology is adapting to ongoing statutory changes, ensuring that HR is operating within the confines of the law. With the introduction/continuation of Affordable Care Act, there is a trend of private and state benefits exchanges (marketplaces). Employees have the consumer power to purchase their benefits online. Organizations that are not using technology in all aspects of HR will struggle to be current and compliant with ever-changing regulations. Existing tools include E-Verify, flexible benefits/spending accounts, compliance testing and others.  Code of conduct and sexual harassment training applications not only help monitor who has completed training, they guarantee that the training is current. These tools allow tasks to be performed online, saving HR time and empowering employees to complete things on “their time.” 

  5. Telecommuting: While the overall global trend is still holacracy (i.e., removing power from a management hierarchy and distributing it across self-organized teams) and flat organizations, depending on the culture, companies are beginning to pull back on telecommuting and open office space because of a drop in productivity. Opinions on open space versus fixed offices differ. Some organizations and employees are realizing that not all operational jobs can or should be telecommuting jobs. Other organizations are seeing that the workforce is getting flatter and location does not matter. This change in telecommuting is causing HR to evaluate who should and should not telecommute.

  6. Talent insight: Knowing more about your employees, their skill sets and background outside of what is found in the traditional HR file is going to be essential for the employee’s future, the growth of the company and succession planning. Employees are more likely to keep their social media profiles up to date than they are to notify HR when their skills and education have changed. HR measurement, employee measurement and user-centric analytics need to include merging data from many sources, not just HRIS. Building internal talent networks and finding the resources to get the job done become easier with this technology. These tools can also support HR in evaluating who should and should not be a manager of people. 

  7. Security: Greater focus is being placed on cyber threats and taking proactive steps to defend against them, especially in countries that have strict privacy laws regarding data sharing across borders. Creation of security systems and improved processes for onboarding will shape and control how we give new employees access to the tools they need and enable them to do their jobs when they walk in the door. It will also secure data so the right people have access to what they need. The use of phones and tablets at work will drive an increase in the use of PINs to validate user access.

  8. Wearable technology and bring-your-own device (BYOD): We will continue to see an increase in wearable technology, watches, mobile technology and BYOD as a means of working on the go, creating another security challenge. How do you control people using their own devices and the risks, such as confidential company data on personal device, involved? Although the use of wearable technology shows increased productivity, HR will be challenged with helping employees maintain work/life balance. Pending FLSA changes will make this even more difficult, forcing HR to track work hours outside of the office and overtime for individuals who were previously exempt. 

  9. Changes in independent contractors: People can more quickly move from project to project and company to company by creating their own personal online brand with validation from peers. This is creating an emergence of “free agents,” or independent contractors. At the same time, changes in FLSA and DOL regulations are putting tighter controls on a company's ability to classify an independent contractor. Shortened employee tenure is raising the question of how to manage the limited time the organization has  with employees and how to get the most from them. Employee engagement will continue to challenge HR to retain, retrain and keep employees challenged every single day because once they are bored, they are gone. The evolution of knowledge is having a negative impact on being a “master” of anything, thus adaptability is more valuable than “knowing.” These challenges are calling upon technology to support rewards and recognition as employees need more validation, applause and appreciation from company and peers. Shortened employee tenure also necessitates always getting new talent while at the same time losing experience and knowledge and raising the cost of onboarding. 

Job Finder

Find an HR Job Near You
Post a Job


Find the Right Vendor for Your HR Needs

SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies

Search & Connect