Creating internal talent marketplaces, optimising investments in existing systems, supporting hybrid work and expanding the use of artificial intelligence (AI) will be top technology priorities in 2023, according to HR analysts and practitioners interviewed by SHRM Online.
While talent conditions will vary widely by industry—with some companies continuing to lay off employees while others increase compensation and perks to attract and retain workers amid ongoing labour shortages—there will be commonalities in how HR leaders deploy existing and emerging technologies in an uncertain economic climate, experts said.
Technology analysts believe shrewd HR leaders will focus on optimising their existing technology ecosystems before considering investments in new platforms this year.
“In times of economic uncertainty, organisations should lead with process optimization across the tools and resources they already have in place,” said Kimberly Carroll, managing principal of IA, an HR advisory firm in Atlanta. “If net-new technologies are then determined to be needed, it should be in the context of the most valuable outcomes supporting the highest-impact HR processes.”
Kara Yarnot, vice president of strategic consulting services for HireClix, a talent acquisition consulting firm in Gloucester, Mass., said a top priority for HR leaders in 2023 will be effectively integrating tools they already have in technology stacks.
“Stand-alone, nonintegrated systems create manual work and increase the likelihood of errors,” Yarnot said. “They also can negatively impact the employee and candidate experience.”
David Wentworth, principal analyst of learning and development for the Brandon Hall Group, an HR advisory and research firm in Delray Beach, Fla., said one of the most valuable things learning and development (L&D) leaders can do in 2023 is audit their current technology systems to ensure platforms are being used to their full potential.
“Identify the current challenges L&D is facing and see which, if any, can be addressed with the tools and technologies already in the building,” Wentworth said. “Is every system adequately integrated into its environment? Conversations with your existing technology providers can remedy many of these challenges without a need to look for new solutions in the market.”
Internal talent marketplaces were one of the hottest HR technologies in 2022, and experts expect these digital platforms will continue to gain traction this year. These systems match workers with internal job openings, side gigs or projects; list available mentors; detail learning opportunities that support career paths; and more.
“Investments in internal talent mobility will pay off more than ever in 2023,” said David Brodeur-Johnson, a principal analyst specialising in employee experience for Forrester, a global market research company.
John Kostoulas, a vice president in Gartner’s HR practice, said Gartner clients continue to show strong interest in talent marketplaces. “HR and other organisational leaders can benefit from data created by these marketplaces to support workforce planning and other talent processes,” he said. “Employees benefit from greater visibility into work opportunities and options to build skills and experiences toward career growth. Managers or project leaders benefit from more flexible staffing and improved talent visibility.”
HR leaders will deploy more emerging as well as historically underutilised HR technologies in 2023 to enhance the employee experience, improve recruiting results and help identify key skills gaps in the workforce.
Kostoulas said “orchestrators and overlays” serve to streamline and unify the HR-related digital aspects of the employee experience across a fragmented technology landscape. “These typically include portals, micro-applications, and low- or no-code tools,” he said.
Carroll said employee portals, knowledge management tools and case management tools can provide more relief to HR business partners, people leaders and employees in the year ahead.
Technology will play an increasingly larger role in supporting hybrid work as that model becomes a permanent fixture in more organisations, experts said. One challenge to overcome is proximity bias, said Frank Weishaupt, CEO of Owl Labs, a video collaboration technology company in Boston.
“There will be a large focus from HR teams on figuring out how to train managers to actually manage by results,” Weishaupt said. “We’ll also see the evolution of productivity tracking to more results-based assessments that factor in new functions like creative departments, where quantitative data is more difficult to come by.”
Suneet Dua, products and technology chief revenue and growth officer for consulting firm PwC, said there will be a greater emphasis on benchmarking tools and new methods to track productivity and performance of hybrid workers in 2023.
As HR seeks to do more with less in 2023, the use of AI will grow to include recruiting, identify skills gaps in the workforce, analyse engagement survey data and answer employees’ frequently asked questions.
“Using AI to analyse worker data beyond traditional demographic and performance metrics will be one key in 2023,” said Erin Spencer, a senior research analyst specialising in HR technology for Deloitte Consulting. “More HR departments now view their workforce data as a strategic asset to help guide key business and talent decisions in areas such as upskilling, scheduling, staffing and more.”
Experts believe companies will turn more frequently to tools like online coaching and learning platforms to help managers build the skills—and resilience—necessary to lead in increasingly challenging environments. Organisations also will introduce more AI and other automated tools to remove manual or nonessential tasks from managers’ plates.
David Hassell, CEO and co-founder of 15Five, a performance management technology platform, believes companies will place management training centre stage in 2023. “With record-breaking burnout and phenomena like quiet quitting, skilled management is today’s success-defining element,” Hassell said. “In remote environments, interpersonal relationships can suffer or never form in the first place. Manager training is key to helping keep people engaged, motivated and productive.”