What are HR’s top technology priorities for the year ahead?

After a year of addressing the skills gap, quiet quitting and the spread of hybrid work models, HR leaders need to remain focused on HR technology trends and employee demands in the coming year. After all, innovation and the demand for new policies and solutions never stops, even as HR professionals and the IT teams that support them continue to address the challenges around talent acquisition and retention, employee experience, DEI and the ethical use of AI-powered tools, among other issues. 

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HRE asked HR technology analysts and industry observers for their take on what will be the top HR technology priorities for 2023 and what it will mean for the people who select, purchase, implement and rely on cutting-edge HR technology in a potentially softening economy. Here is what they had to say.

Steve Boese

HR Tech Conference chair; President and co-founder, H3 HR Advisors 

Steve Boese, HR Tech Conference chair
Steve Boese

For 2023, HR organizations should evaluate their current set of HR tools and technologies for continuing “fit” for purpose and user focus. Because workplaces, organizations and even the nature of work have undergone so much change and disruption in the pandemic era, it makes sense to ensure that legacy HR technologies remain effective for the new ways of working and can meet the heightened employee expectations. 

Additionally, after three years of survival mode for many organizations, 2023 should be the time to re-engage with the HR technology market and landscape and to catch up with the innovation and opportunities that the HR tech market can deliver. Lastly, in 2023, I would look to adopt only those technologies that put employees first—in their accessibility, their ease of use, and their direct relevance to making employees’ work and personal lives easier.  

After all, HR technology is not really for HR. It is for everyone in the organization.

Stacia Garr

Co-founder and principal analyst, RedThread Research

Stacia Garr, RedThread Research
Stacia Garr

We see three primary priorities for 2023. First, career support: Even as organizations tighten their belts, they still need to retain their high-value employees and help them be successful. To that end, we expect technologies that support career growth, such as internal talent marketplaces and coaching tech, to continue to be strong technology investments for companies in 2023. 

Second, people analytics: With all the significant changes in the last few years, leaders have realized the power of people analytics. We continue to see orgs make sizeable investments in people analytics technology as well as tech that has meaningful analytics built within their systems. The intention of these systems is both to better understand what is happening with employees but also to share data more broadly across the enterprise.

And third, skills: As leaders dig into skills, they realize that there is a significant data and technology component to executing their strategy. For that reason, we are seeing organizations invest in skills technologies to better identify, map and integrate skills insights throughout talent systems. The data from these skills technologies are being integrated into some of the people analytics technologies and into other talent systems, such as learning and talent acquisition.

Josh Bersin

Author and analyst, The Josh Bersin Company

Josh Bersin
Josh Bersin

HR leaders will have to focus on a number of emerging challenges in the coming year. First, they need to rethink rewards around inflation and pay equity. Second, they must revisit their leadership model and focus on supporting leaders, creating energy and improving productivity and well-being. Third, HR leaders and their teams must ensure that they have a 3-year roadmap for AI-enabled talent systems. Fourth, they will need to focus their skills efforts on strategic areas of growth. And finally, HR leaders and their teams need to invest in building an integrated HR operating model and invest in upskilling every HR professional.

Stacey Harris

Chief research officer and managing partner, Sapient Insights Group

Stacey Harris, Sapient Insights Group
Stacey Harris

Based on our data, the top HR technology priorities for spending will be:

Upgrading and updating payroll applications: This will entail moving away from on-premise applications and looking for more innovative tools that reduce the workload of Payroll, Finance and HR.

Workforce Planning and offboarding solutions: Organizations know they may have to make cuts in the near future if the economy continues to soften, so we are seeing interest in technology that will help them do a better job assessing and reviewing their employee population from skills to job roles. But once the decision is made, organizations want to ensure they maintain a brand and relationship with employees that they may need to hire back in the future so offboarding tools that add more structure, humanity and benefits for employees they are letting go have become a topic of conversation. This includes the OnwardsHR solution and financial wellness tools, exit interviewing solutions, etc.

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Recruiting is still a top area for investment based on our survey, but we see more investment in candidate relationship management for long-term hiring campaigns, compensation assessment tools and talent intelligence tools focused on finding the needle in the haystack.

Finally, we are in the first rounds of a replacement cycle for analytics applications—and we are seeing more focus on HR-specific, embedded and full business intelligence solutions that bring together the need for data mapping and visualization.

Jason Averbook

CEO and co-founder, Leapgen

Jason Averbook, LeapGen
Jason Averbook

In 2023, HR’s top technology priority will be to put together a portfolio of technology that is optimized around the employee experience, putting both the employee and manager at the center while ensuring this portfolio of processes and tools is generating data that be used to understand the current state of the workforce.

Organizations will look to leverage automation such as journeys, workflows and bots to make these tools easier to consume at the employee and manager level while also trying to consolidate the number of tools it uses to make the portfolio easier and more efficient to manage.

People analytics will truly get its moment in the sun as organizations finally look at data in an “east-west” manner instead of the traditional, siloed “north-south” manner it has in the past to truly understand the workforce as whole. This all amounts to more transformation
than we have ever seen in the world of HR and workforce technology, but once and for all, these transformations will be accretive as they will be done in harmony with each other with the workforce in the center.

Madeline Laurano

Founder, Aptitude Research

Madeline Laurano, Aptitude Research
Madeline Laurano

The top HR tech priority for 2023 will include improved experiences for employees, candidates, managers and recruiters. Experience impacts every trend in HR today, including integration, transparency, skills and internal mobility. In order to improve experience, companies must rethink their strategies and technology options. They must break traditional views and build a new framework for empowering their workforce through a better experience. This requires investing in solutions that benefit the individual rather than the employer. A few examples include:

    • Manager Experience: Technology that will give managers the tools they need to better communicate with employees, provide feedback in real-time and approve everything from recruitment to compensation to development in a matter of minutes.
    • Recruiter Experience: Solutions that fit within the recruiter workflow that provide simple experiences and consistency.
    • Employee Experience: Solutions to empower employees throughout their career development. These tools will allow employees to build skills, connect with other employees, and access learning and development opportunities.
    • Candidate Experience: Every candidate deserves a fair, consistent and human hiring process. Tools need to give candidates the information they want to know that they are being considered for a role, and they want to receive feedback on where they stand in the process.

Betsy Summers

Principal analyst, Future of Work team, Forrester Research

According to the authors of the recent Forrester report, “Predictions 2023: Future of Work,” firms will reduce talent waste by recycling it and, in doing so, will bump internal talent mobility to 25%. Talent mobility will increase at large companies from 20% in 2020, thanks to the growing, albeit desperate, adoption of skills ontologies and talent marketplaces in the face of a tight talent market. Unable to recruit for key roles externally, talent acquisition teams will fill open jobs with current employees, forcing a broader conversation about workforce agility, automation and reskilling.

Also, annual employee surveys and monitoring practices will give way to real listening. A clear majority of employees—86%—say that people aren’t heard fairly at their workplace and 59% are wary of their employer’s monitoring practices. Studies show that monitoring is counterproductive. Instead, listening pays off with higher engagement, better productivity and better customer experience.

Registration is open for HRE‘s upcoming HR Tech Virtual Conference from Feb. 28 to March 2. Register here.

Phil Albinus
Phil Albinus is the former HR Tech Editor for HRE. He has been covering personal and business technology for 25 years and has served as editor and executive editor for a number of financial services, trading technology and employee benefits titles. He is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and lives in the Hudson Valley with his audiologist wife and three adult children.