The Four Workplace Tech Trends You Can’t Afford to Miss In 2018

(Story by Henry Albrecht originally appeared in Technology Signals)

The CHRO’s role has never been more important or in flux than it is today. A vast number of economic, business and workplace trends are converging to create an environment that is challenging for even the most capable executives. CHROs must navigate this new environment and drive real change to inspire their people. Henry Albrecht, CEO at Limeade talks about key HR trends that will shape 2018

To be successful in HR today, HR leaders need to understand the technology trends impacting people management. Here’s a look at how HR technology trends in 2017 are shaping what will become the workplace tech trends you can’t afford to miss in 2018.

We’re burned out on choice

Today, employee technology can address everything from guided meditation and nutrition coaching to expense tracking, performance management and travel booking. It sounds great in theory — but no one has the capacity to weed through every program. It’s hard to separate the once-in-a-blue-moon transactional systems (think privacy compliance, choosing your health benefits, etc.) from daily engagement, recognition and well-being interactions. It’s a symptom of what psychologist Dr. Barry Schwartz calls “choice overload.” A suite of acquired and cobbled together technology is more likely to disengage employees than help them improve their well-being . Employees need an immersive experience, served up through sophisticated personalization software, that guides them.

In 2018, we predict choice will become a dirty word. Savvy HR technology vendors will recognize the need to help HR leaders make sense of the plethora of individual point solutions and forge productive partnerships — and this has already begun: Limeade offers a curated partner network with our Smart Hub integration platform, and we’re not alone.

Companies will progress to a platform across vendors

In enterprise software, suites assemble, become unwieldy and then break up again into breakout point solutions. Consolidation is cyclical — and we’re starting a huge wave of consolidation. Global behemoths from HR, technology and healthcare are hunting for more puzzle pieces. The question is, who will be gobbled up? And when? And will the platforms they cobble together add value or confusion?

When it comes to workforce management, we predict employee engagement as the wave of the future. Automating workflows was great, unless the workflows themselves were flawed or dehumanizing — which many were. The shifts to the cloud and big data architectures were necessary (but not sufficient). The critical wave is one that centers around people, not systems or technologies. For engagement companies, it’s a race to the center. Potential winners may come from different places — well-being, rewards, and recognition, engagement measurement — maybe even learning or talent management.

At Limeade, we believe the winning technologies will be ones that help strengthen workplace culture. And employees won’t tolerate (much less use) systems that serve shareholders and executives at the expense of people and purpose. The key to building culture is building bi-directional trust and valuing the whole person, according to Limeade Institute research. So, our money is on a company with a long legacy of culture and whole-person well-being wins.

The experience matters to your employees

Now that millennials make up most of today’s workforce, it’s no surprise that employees want consumer-grade technology. That means polished user experiences, mobile-first programs, seamless integrations, social networks on-par with those they post selfies to and smart technology that can serve up the content they want before they know they want it. Needless to say, employers are scrambling to meet these rapidly changing expectations.

In 2018, HR leaders will expect HR tech vendors to do the heavy lifting for them. They’ll want tech vendors to offer proven partnerships that give employees a modern, relevant and personalized experience.

People analytics will optimize the workforce

Today’s HR leaders need to prove value — and enterprises are full of skeptics who don’t buy the connection between things like well-being and engagement and business results . To prove it, they need sophisticated measurement tools. The surge of people analytics points to the underlying need to understand people and culture, prove value and optimize a workforce. But this overabundance of data with potential insights leaves leaders drowning.

The reality is that HR leaders don’t need more data. They need bigger and better data, more frequent data, better-visualized data and technology that gives them meaningful insights to act on.

Today’s leaders are tasked with caring for a company’s greatest asset — its people. While HR technology may have a reputation of being “behind the times” — today’s solutions, coupled with productive partnerships and smart platform plays, make HR technology in 2018 a vital component of a great employee experience — and a competitive business.