This Month Only! >> $20 off and a FREE SHRM tote with your membership and code TOTE2018!
Sign up for free email newsletters and get more SHRM content delivered to your inbox.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 12 cities across the U.S. this spring.
#SHRM18 will expand your perspective – on your organization, on your career, and on the way you approach HR. Join us in Chicago June 17-20, 2018
AI, bots and digital twins will shape the year.
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
In 2018, the physical and digital worlds will continue to merge, as the workplace is reshaped by artificial intelligence (AI), bots, predictive software and augmented reality.
Start by accepting that AI will mold the organizational landscape, especially as intelligent systems learn to adapt to users' needs. "We'll no longer need to learn the software," says Rephael Sweary, president and co-founder of WalkMe, a technology company based in Raleigh, N.C. "AI is already learning more about our individual roles, behaviors and actions to personalize how we use HR and other business software."
Enterprise platforms will also evolve to provide more natural and immersive interactions, according to the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018 report from the research firm Gartner.
Such advancements will allow HR professionals to significantly reduce learning and development budgets and resources, as technologies are adopted that can contextually guide people on how to use any system, Sweary says.
The six trends that will affect HR the most in 2018, according to Gartner, will be:
1. Blockchain. This technology holds promise for recruiters hoping to verify candidates more efficiently, and for payroll managers who want to make their organization's global compensation process less costly and more timely. Blockchain uses an encrypted, digital ledger of public records structured into clusters of data called blocks and dispersed over networks. It is a powerful tool that users find reliable and easy to navigate. Experts predict HR will begin using blockchain within the next 18-24 months.
2. AI foundation. Making systems that learn, adapt and act autonomously will be a major focus for technology vendors through at least 2020, Gartner reports. AI will be used to improve decision-making, reinvent work processes and revamp the customer experience. It will drive the return on investment for digital business plans through 2025.
3. Intelligent apps and analytics. Companies are using AI practices to make new app categories, such as virtual customer assistants and bots to improve employee performance, sales and marketing analysis and security. Intelligent apps have the potential to change the nature of work and the structure of the workplace. "When building or buying an AI-powered app, consider where its impact will be in the process of how things get done, analysis, or to improve a users' experience," according to Gartner.
4. Internet of Things (IoT). AI is driving advances for "smart" items such as autonomous vehicles, robots and drones. It is also enhancing many existing products, including Internet-of-things (IoT)-connected consumer and industrial systems. At some point, for instance, HR professionals will need to hire individuals who can operate drones, monitor drone safety and comply with FAA regulations.
5. Digital twins. This tool is a digital representation of a real-world entity or system. Data from multiple digital twins can be aggregated for a composite view across real-world entities. For example, future models of humans could offer biometric and medical data, and digital twins will allow for advanced simulations, the report explains. Digital twins in the context of IoT projects could significantly improve enterprise decision-making by helping users respond to changes, improving operations and enhancing performance.
6. Conversational platforms. Think Alexa or Siri. Within HR, such programs could be applied to improve employee self-service by enabling employees to "talk" to members of your team. These tools will drive the next big paradigm shift in how humans interact with the digital world. As the technology matures, "extremely complex requests will be possible, resulting in highly complex results," the report states.
Ready, Set, Implement
How can HR leaders respond to these technological advancements? Gartner analysts recommend they:
If you don't factor these technology trends into your innovation strategies, you risk losing ground. "Multiple constituencies, including data scientists, developers and business process owners, will need to work together," says David Cearley, vice president and Gartner Fellow.
2018 will be a watershed year for HR, Sweary predicts, because time-saving technology will free up HR teams to serve as strategic advisors within their organizations.
"Digital transformation starts with understanding your employees. HR will play a pivotal role in aligning company culture, talent, structure and processes to make sure that businesses select the right tools for delivering the best employee digital experience."
A Brave New World
When analysts at Gartner Inc. gaze into their crystal ball, here's what they see ahead:
Source: Top 10 Technology Trends for 2018 (Gartner Inc.).
Aliah D. Wright is a former editor for SHRM who now manages the SHRM Speakers Bureau.
Illustration by Stephan Schmitz for HR Magazine.
Was this article useful? SHRM offers thousands of tools, templates and other exclusive member benefits, including compliance updates, sample policies, HR expert advice, education discounts, a growing online member community and much more. Join/Renew Now and let SHRM help you work smarter.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Join SHRM's exclusive peer-to-peer social network
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies