How HR Will Be Different This Year

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Feb 5, 2018

Two competing forces are impacting the world of HR this year. On the one hand, the rate of social and business changes is accelerating, resulting in an ever more complex business environment. On the other hand, employees are pushing for even simpler, more engaging, and human-like experience from their enterprise applications. For HR to survive, they will need to leverage emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, robots, and chatbot to support rapid business changes while delivering a superior employee experience.

The creative disruption caused by technology is rampant – think what Uber did to the transportation industry, AirBnB to hospitality, and Amazon to retail. For companies to thrive in the face of ever-accelerating change, they need to excel at adapting to fast-changing market dynamics, customer demands and technological innovations. This requires a fundamental shift in thinking about the workforce. It’s no longer just about hiring employees, but rather maximizing productivity by combining tasks that can be intelligently automated and those that require human intervention.

Automation is changing HR

In 2018, HR organizations will start working with lines of business to enhance workforce productivity by leveraging an array of automation technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robots and customer self-service. According to the Forrester 2018 Predictions Report, automation will eliminate 9% of U.S. jobs, but will also create 2% more that will support the “automation economy.” HR will work with business leaders to model the future workforce and reassess hiring and staffing plans, taking into account the impact automation will have on new job roles, skills and processes. They will also be using contextual data and workforce modeling technology to short-circuit problems like attrition and turnover, better understand their workforce and talent pool, and fuel smarter and more successful hiring practices.\


Businesses have long recognized the importance of delivering a memorable experience for customers. As millennials and Gen Z become the largest share of the global workforce, more organizations will be applying the same mindset of designing a differentiated customer experience to keep their employees engaged and productive. Central to this philosophy is treating employees as holistic human beings who seek meaning, value, connection, recognition, and personal growth at work. Additionally, they also expect from work similar experiences with technology that they are accustomed to in the consumer world – intuitive interfaces, quick responses, and access to real-time information.

In 2018, we will see exponential growth in the use of AI, chatbots, machine learning, mobile solutions, and social platforms to make work more enjoyable, simple, and engaging. Forrester sees the rapid adoption of chatbots, conversational user interfaces, facial recognition, and other intelligent agents as tools that will rapidly transform HR business processes such as benefits enrollment and recruiting. According to Forrester, by the year 2021, more than 50% of enterprises will be spending more per year on bots and chatbots creation than on traditional mobile app development.

Ironically, tech will make recruiting more human

The war for talent is as fierce as is competition for customers. The need to attract and retain top talent is only getting more pronounced as employees are expecting more from the places they work. According to Forrester, in 2018, talent issues will only widen the divide between digital predator and prey; and organizations struggling to attract scarce talent will spend up to 20% above market.

This year, AI for recruiting will become a dominant theme for HR technology. Recruiting leaders will leverage AI to gain deep insights into talent needs, understand where and how to source candidates, reduce time-consuming activities like manually screening resumes, and identify the right candidates from a large applicant pool. According to the Forrester 2018 Predictions Report, by 2020, candidates applying to jobs at 20% of large global enterprises will also interact with chatbots before recruiters. Organizations around the world will be implementing virtual recruiting assistants, powered by natural language processing technology, that instantly engages with applicants, poses contextual questions based on job requirements, and provides personalized updates, feedback, and suggestions.

2018 is the year when technology and humans will converge to not only deliver more business success, but also bring humanity back to the workplace.

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