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A Review of HR Tech Trends in 2019

September 23, 2019


20 years ago, most business segments could separate themselves from any technology without much of a hiccup to their day-to-day tasks. Today, there are very few business departments that can survive without some level of technical expertise. HR is no exception. Year after year HR is constantly adapting to new technological advances that make processes more efficient. A review of the latest HR tech trends for 2019 will yield a huge list of topics. The list below are some topic areas that are demanding the most attention from HR technology. 

Maybe you are reading through this list and you are thinking, “Yes, this all makes sense and I agree.” If you are more like me, then you might be reading through this list thinking, “Nope, don’t know what that means.” If you are the former, maybe you should be writing this article. If you are the latter, I think you’ll find this article helpful and informative. 

I selected only some of the topics above to uncover in more detail. If I did not dive into a topic in which you are interested, please refer to the additional resources below.  

Artificial Intelligence 

This HR Tech trend is becoming much more commonplace. The question used to be, “When will AI be used in HR?” Now, HR leaders are looking for AI experts to help guide them to a more efficient process from recruiting to selection to succession management. RiseSmart has a great article talking about the ways that HR is being changed by AI. A few areas they mention are candidate screening, new hire onboarding, and employee engagement. This is just scratching the surface. In all of the research I did on HR tech trends, AI was almost always the first topic listed. AI is not going anywhere. The good news is that there are lots of ways to learn more about it. Digital Defynd, an e-learning hub, has put together aarticle with a list of courses that you can take to learn R, machine learning, and other AI related programming. 

Read more: The Role of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in HR

Nudge-based Technologies 

Richard Thaler, an American economist, and Cass Sunstein, an American legal scholar, defined this concept as: 

A nudge, as we will use the term, is any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people's behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid. Nudges are not mandates. Putting fruit at eye level counts as a nudge. Banning junk food does not. 

Given that definition, we can start to see how this type of theory can be used by HR. For example, this "nudge-based" technology could be used as a digital mentor for managers to keep the “fruit at eye level.” Experts say this technology will become more ubiquitous in HR in the coming years.  

Point Solutions 

PC Encyclopedia defines a point solution as: 

“Solving one particular problem without regard to related issues. Point solutions are widely used to fix a problem or implement a new service quickly.” 

In an article explaining the differences between platforms and point solutions, Diana Cleveland states that point solutions are problematic because of the lack of communication between each of the points or “building blocks” when trying to manage the larger picture. However, in a SHRM article by Dave Zielinski, he says that there may be some renewed interest in point solutions. Specifically, he mentions popular ones will be talent acquisition systems, chatbot applications for recruiting and answering employees' HR-related questions, and engagement platforms. 

Mobile Device Usage

Mobile device usage across the world has been rising very quickly over the past few years. There are 2.71 billion smartphone users in the world today, which means that over 35% of the world’s population has the mobile technology (Statista). This impacts HR tech in a number of ways. In particular, mobile usage has dramatically influenced the hiring process. So many people are electing to use their mobile devices from beginning to end of the selection process. This means that online hiring assessments are adjusting to become mobile friendly and scored equivalently between desktop and mobile test takers. PSI is one company that has spent years researching and developing assessments to be mobile friendly. This article by Ted Kinney, VP of R&D at PSI, tells you three things your HR team needs to know about mobile device-based assessments.  

Gig economy 

The gig economy is simply referring to individuals that don’t take on permanent positions, rather, they aim for shorter “gigs” or contract/freelance work with various employers. In an AIHR Digital article by Neelie Verlinden, she explains that even though the gig economy has been around for some time now, it’s growing quickly. HR departments need to keep this in mind if their organization is one of those many who are made up of a workforce of full-timers, contractors, and freelancers. Often the challenge, as Verlinden states, is that this type of workforce combination comes with different software, time zones, and other challenges that require HR tech to stay informed. 

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Trevor McGlochlin Trevor McGlochlin is a Research Consultant at PSI. He leads the Financial and Automotive verticals within R&D. He earned a Master of Science degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Florida Institute of Technology. His areas of expertise include selection, employee turnover, organizational development, applied research, and statistical analyses. His analysis work is centered around validation, adverse impact, turnover analyses, assessment scoring, and other data analysis.