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The Most Disruptive Technologies in HR Today

A woman sitting at a desk with a laptop in front of her.

In "Making HR Tech Easy," work tech expert Tim Sackett, SHRM-SCP, makes complex HR technology understandable for all HR professionals, because having a high competency in HR technology is critical to moving your HR career forward.

On March 7-8, I'll be in San Francisco attending and speaking at the SHRMTech 2023 conference. I'll be discussing the most disruptive technologies impacting all functions of HR today and in the near future. You should come! I'm such a nerd for this stuff. I love it.

HR technology is one of the most desired HR leadership skills organizations are looking for today. Yet what I find in most HR leaders I speak with is it's their biggest weakness by a mile. Data is the second biggest weakness, and these truly go hand in hand. If you struggle to understand technology, you most likely struggle with big data concepts. This doesn't have to be the case. Technology is a learned skill like any other HR skill you've mastered.

Should you come to SHRMTech? You should, because if you want to be in the top 10 percent of the HR profession, expanding your HR technology knowledge is an absolute must.

What I love about SHRMTech is that it's not a tech conference run by tech people. It's a tech conference run by HR people who are looking to get better at technology. Trust me, you won't feel out of place.

I can give you a preview now on the disruptive technologies in HR without giving away my SHRMTech 2023 presentation, because while I can tell you what the disruptors are, and even what they do, true learning comes from the discussions about these technologies and the learning we share together at events. It's why I'm so excited to be back learning together!

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Here are some of the biggest technologies making noise in our space:

Conversational artificial intelligence (AI): This started out as chatbots. The first versions of chatbots were simple and often frustrating to deal with because of their limited responses. The latest version, conversational AI, is much more dynamic and based on learning algorithms. With many versions of the new conversational AIs, it's difficult to determine if you're talking to an AI or a real person. Conversational AI is currently used in screening and recruiting, HR self-service, scheduling, and health and wellness, and the applications are endless.

Skills tech: For lack of a better marketing term, this refers to all kinds of technologies working to gather and develop the skills of the HR workforce—such as helping design and build a skills taxonomy, internal mobility programs, organizational skill assessments, etc. There is an overarching view among the brightest minds in HR that the future of HR is all about skills. If that is the case, then we'll all need technology to help us manage this ginormous undertaking.

Generative AI: You've heard of ChatGPT. It is basically generative AI. It's technology that will generate unique content based on the questions it's asked. Unlike conversational AI, generative AI wouldn't just answer an employee asking about the organization's 401(k) loan policy. Instead, the employee would ask the AI how to take out a loan, and the AI would proceed to walk the employee through the process. Again, the applications for this in the HR space are endless.

Augmented reality wearables: This is something that has been promising to come to market for years and is beginning to see some real applications. The future of employee training and onboarding will be permanently changed by augmented reality wearables. Soon, you'll put on a pair of glasses and easily walk through how to navigate your new, super complex HRIS system.

HR technology advances are changing the way we've completed almost every single task in HR. In fact, I can foresee a day when HR tasks are a thing of the past, as we'll no longer need or ask HR professionals to do such work. HR professionals of the future will be much more strategically focused on improving the experiences of their candidates and employees. We'll be focused on winning and developing the talent we need in the future to help our organizations find more success. We'll be focused on limiting bias in our working environments and ensuring equity across all roles and functions.

Organizations that can't find or develop strong HR technology competencies will eventually fall behind, as will the HR professionals and leaders who fail to keep up. When it comes to HR technology, you don't have to be the most intelligent person in the room to be great at tech. You just have to be one of the most curious.

Tim Sackett, SHRM-SCP, is the CEO of, the author of The Talent Fix (SHRM, 2018) and a popular speaker at HR conferences. You can read his daily newsletter at


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.