How HR Must Prepare for the Future of Work

On November 2, SHRMnextchat (@SHRMnextchat) chatted with special guest Jason Averbook  (@JasonAverbook) about How HR Must Prepare for the Future of Work.

Many experts around the world have participated in this Twitter chat and share their views, ideas and expertise.


SHRMnextchat has chat about what HR has to do to prepare for the future of work and the future workforce.  They have 7 great questions about living the future of work, today and planning for an ever changing tomorrow.

Mary Kaylor, Manager of Public Affairs for SHRM has written the below blog to explain on the idea for the #Nextchat.

#Nextchat: How HR Must Prepare for the Future of Work

Later SHRMnextchat has storified the chats as a recap for those who are unable to attend or who need the discussion at once place.

#Nextchat RECAP: How HR Must Prepare for the Future of Work

HRTech Conscience team has try to analyzed these responses, views and answers of these 7 great questions from SHRMnextchat from the storified version and here is brief overview of the answers from the experts whoever participated in this #Nextchat for each questions. Their opinion, thoughts and questions asked during this chatting are definitely worthwhile.

Here it goes.


Q1. In your opinion, what does HR need to do to prepare for the future of work?


View from Guest Jason Averbook

  • HR is lacking many of the skills to prepare for future of work including Design ThinkingProcessand Data. HR needs to be able to build itself to prepare for these things – if still think in old school models of org chart/policy. The world will pass HR by and HR will never recover – when people say HR is dead; the function isn’t, old thinking is.
  • Another thing that HR needs to do to prepare is to realize that HR Technology should be called Workforce Technology. HR needs the employee/manager to interact with the tools – it is not about tools for HR only, HR needs data from worker.
  • Analytics will help a ton but not analytics about how HR is doing, but analytics about impact people have on business. Teach them new skills– empower them to get to the business – prioritize based on business needs; not HR The only way to be adaptable and proactive is to make sure we have the Data where and when we need it in the right format.
  • Future of work is agile, limited organization structures, flexible work, freelancers, tasks vs jobs, global at core, etc. HR has to learn about it from business the more that HR can look at consumerization and learn that the future of shopping and support is the future of work/better.
  • Another Future of workis real time knowledge and learning and the point of work where the work happens, not more tools! Many times HR is less integrated amongst itself as it is compared to integrate into the business.
  • We are living in the Future of worktoday – many in HR haven’t realized it. We are working with organizations daily around the world that are still doing HR the same old way we have been for 75 years. WAKE UP HR!


View from other Experts

  • Focusing on employer branding, regular feedback, and employee development, diverse succession planning, and developing leadership.
  • Enable a culture of employee development, agility, networking, continuous learning, and mobile access to just-in-time data for work. People management will need to become more strategic and data-driven and HR needs to start updating their strategies for the arrival of generation’s boomersGenX, GenY, GenZ, millennial who learn, work and communicate in different ways.
  • HR is yet to be integrated across organization functions. Be ready to cater to different HR all needs to integrate as trusted business partners, not a silo or order taking department.
  • By identifying & understanding workforce realities (contingent workforce) we can help HR get beyond their current challenges. HR need to be more Agileand should think beyond Policies. It should bind them to think creative & Bring CHANGE
  • Be more creative and take a realistic look at your current state and admit where you are in the “future” continuum. HR need to be adaptable and proactive (instead of reactive) to the needs of our employees and organizations. Get in the right mindset, needs to do is be forward thinking and acting.
  • Understand effective change management Predictions for the future of workonly go so far, but change is inevitable. Need to be ready, willing & able to lead the charge of change. Change management is key to future of work.
  • HR needs to focus on recruiting for compatibility. No more blind or unqualified hires. Continue to find new ways to motivate and retain top talent. The workplace only continues to get more competitive. HR needs to focus on the future of onboarding and making it a seamless, enjoyable process for all employees
  • HR must have a better understanding of data and analytics. HR needs to do a better job of using analytics to create actionable insights that drive real change
  • Think about how technology may change. Realize how this could impact your work and industry. HR needs to accept technology with open arms. Maintaining a balance of the up and coming tech as well as the human touch in the workplace. Everyone is already connected via their phones 24/7 anyways; HRjust needs to tap into this with technology. Be ready to use new technologies and integrate them into the workforce to make more efficient


Questions Raised

  • What exactly is the “future of work” and will it really be fundamentally different?
  • What does the future of work have to do to prepare for HR?
  • Be able to decipher what’s a trend & what’s the next best thing. Trends come and go, what will keep you moving forward?
  • Does HR really know what data to gather and what to do with it when they have it? Do managers?
  • Do we think HR needs to separate tactical from strategic once and for all?
  • What do you do to get these people ready for the change?


Q2. What steps have you taken to change your HR technology into workforce technology to get better data from and about employees?


View from Guest Jason Averbook

  • Future of work is not more tools; it is the right tools in the right hands at the right time with the right data. Stop rolling out tools that measure HR effectiveness only; benchmarks needs to measure impact on business.
  • Implementing a new HCM solution is totally about the Future of work if deployed correctly – not a slam in and go live. Not just scared but self-service doesn’t add value – compare a self-service transaction to an amazon transaction – it’s a huge difference. Start by not calling it self-service; call it direct access to the info needed to do your job
  • To reach workforcetechnology truly; a holistic strategy is needed; it is not a series of modules; but an experience. You have to look at how the employees and managers are being serviced/interact outside of work and think about how to inside.
  • Future of workand HR workforce technology brings the transaction to the worker instead of the opposite. Workforce technology as a brand means the value must be to the workforce not to the HR function like HR technology means. Another huge component of workforce technology is that it will never come from one vendor – must think about impact.


View from other Experts

  • Improve our decision making by using technology to help gather data efficiently to analyze. It’s not about more technology; it’s about the right technology. If it doesn’t help you help others be better, scrap it. Garbage in garbage out. Plan before building any system.
  • The right question is better than all the data in the universe. We’re asking questions to see what data needs to be gathered and used. Know the greater business questions you are trying to answer before collecting data.
  • Real timeupdate of data is needed to enjoy the fruits of technology. Correct data help faster decision making. Sharing data across offices contributes to better workforce And some of the best “data” you have can’t be gathered through technology. Sometimes old-school connection is best.
  • Put it into the hands of the employees! Don’t restrict usage to the HR Talk to employees to see what task they’re already doing on a day-to-day basis. Communicationis key for HR
  • Leadership support is crucial here. HR can’t be evangelizing from the corner. C suite must help promote. As part of the leadership, ask questions first. Data lags, it doesn’t lead
  • Showing the workforce what’s in it for them. It has to be relevant to them now, not something they can get in the future. HR data must connect to organizationaleffectiveness or it is meaningless.
  • The first step is effective & unbiased defacto documentation of conversations & transactions.  A bad process with technology is just a faster bad process.
  • HR & employment lawyers need to understand AI, Machine learning, & make thoughtful decisions about gathering employee data.


Questions Raised

  • Does data lead to changing HR Tech. or does changing HR Tech lead to better data?
  • Should be measuring three areas: effectiveness, efficiency & impact?


Q3. User experience is the most important aspect of workforce technology today—true or false, and why?


View from Guest Jason Averbook

  • User experience is one of the most crucial aspects of workforce HR technology; without adoption – no  data. We have to start thinking about moving from adoption to addiction – a tool we use once a year will never be accepted.
  • As we move to the world of Zero UI – adoption will become much easier yet most organizations aren’t thinking about this future of work. Most HRpeople are not skilled in  marketing causing adoption issues – people must see value and understand why using.
  • The expectation of the worker about user experience is higher than ever due to app stores, etc. If we don’t like, we delete. We have to stop measuring adoption as “sign-ins” and measuring adoption as “impact of the work done” while using technology.
  • More organizations switch HR vendors because of a bad user experience than any other reason. Big Experience is more than just technology– we put too much weight on the tech and then say it fails. We can’t think our HR vendor is creating the  future of work within our enterprise – they are helping with the tools;
  • Employee must see value – how many times per year change address, have baby, and get married – not enough to drive adoption/addiction. What we put out there for the workforce must be value add to them immediately and at all times – not in phase “later”.


View from other Experts


  • User experience is vital in workforce technologies, and should be making jobs easier not harder. UX is important in the success of any technology. Without user adoption (driven by simple, accessible processing) No Program will succeed. Simplicity Drives Engagement.
  • UX is great but the insights are wrong due to bad data, it doesn’t matter how good the UX is. Collecting better or more data won’t mean much if there isn’t a strategy in place to successfully use it to better your Organization
  • User experience is defined by ease of use and clarity, If people don’t like it (or understand it), they won’t use it.If it’s hard to use, people won’t use it. Goal is to eliminate points of pain, not add new ones!
  • UX definitely matters. But, technology is a tool to help people work better. The results the tool brings are most important. Poor user experience & lack of training can lead to lack of adoption of the technology.
  • Without a good experience you may lose business as well as employees. Workforce tech needs to be easy to learn and use. Every level should be able to access it with ease. It must be EASY. The user will look for the shortest distance to do what they want/need to do.
  • Notion is: Intuitive user experience=higher quality data=increased ability to make reliable inferences about workforce. Ensuring good user experience for workforce technology can be the difference between happy & engaged or disengaged & annoyed.
  • Customer service depends upon customer engagement; our customers are our employees. Perception rules the day. If our employees see value, it doesn’t matter how good the product is. Make it easy to understand.
  • The economical may not always be easy! Experience of comfort & pleasure during implementation is important. Bad experience = bad engagement = low productivity = higher turnover



  • User experience can also be limited because of preferences. Hard to have a one size fits all HR Technology
  • User experience defines the future of work. Technology is a tool that enhances not just the “future.” Simplicity is key to adoption. Consolidation is key to data consumption. Complexity is key to chaos!
  • Not always. We ALSO need to be aware that JUST because something is new or technological does NOT mean it is better.


Questions Raised

  • HR needs to get better at asking “Why” and pushing back on senior leaders when the answer is “because we always have”
  • Before UI, ask 1) Does this tech solve a real problem? 2) Does it make work easier? 3) Who really wants this & why?


Q4. Why is having a core HR solution more important than ever?


View from Guest Jason Averbook

 Without a good core HRsolution – we are simply placing sexy tools on top of a bad foundation and it’s a failure. A core HR system with a good data model is the most important part of HR

  • As much as we would love to start with the fancy stuff and work backwards – our core and master datawill make/break success. Many people discount the core HR without, HR will never be credible.
  • Most HRworkforce tech was designed for HR people who had to use to keep their jobs, not for workers who we need convince. If in 2017, we all focused on our core HR solution and made it strong with process data – the future HR would be bright.
  • CoreHR is not about the transaction – it is about the data and how it can be used to measure and manage a dynamic asset. Most put in their core HR solution with only enough data to process payroll and don’t think master data/hub-spoke model.
  • There are very few processes that exist in coreHR solutions from 20 years ago that are relevant today yet many lift/shift


View from other Experts

  • A core HR solution is important because it allows companies to act uniformly and with more direction. Consistency and centralization of your data is super important, you’ll be able to have this with one uniform solution for the whole org. A core HR solutions creates a cohesive and consistent message throughout the organization
  • A core HR solution will allow things to be uniform and consistent, making things easier on you and your employees. In today’s business formulation; people is decentral aspect of success than capital or product. Hence a core HR solution will allow quicker decision making and avoid wasting time with potential problems.
  • This keeps decisions clean & avoids confusion using different solutions for different problems. Providing assistance or solutions fast is important. Everyone wants answers, and having core solutions helps with that.
  • It helps integrate peopleculturebusiness and improves communication, provides transparency
  • Old “point solutions” are just that – points in a bigger pic, too much admin & inconsistent branding/experience/data. Too many disparate systems just slow us down from making the necessary decisions. No place for it anymore. A core solution means faster response time – is essential in keeping pace with today’s workflow and the need of the company.
  • It’s hard to quantify anHR core solution. Some organization would struggle without this due to size. Not right, but a fact. Organizations can’t simply listen to vendors and System Integrators to make strategic future of work decisions – each organization has its own signature.
  • Providing assistance or solutions fast is important. Everyone wants answers, and having core solutions helps with that. Flexibility & Relevance is equally as imp as implementing a core HR solution.
  • A core HR solution is your north star. Make sure it’s well-built but It may help aggregate and organize, but not lead. Core solution helps HR navigate the workforce throughout employment lifecycle more efficiently. No talent, no organization


Q5. What data do you currently collect from your technology to help make better decisions about your future HR (people) strategies?


View from Guest Jason Averbook

The data you collect should be tied directly to what HR business want to measure – not what fields are in a solution. The fact that LinkedIn still knows more about our people than we do, which means our competition does also – shame on HR.

  • When it comes to datawe collect – we should be trying to LEAP frog the competition – not collect the same. So many times we count on the same data metrics benchmarks in HR – remember, you are competing with the world for talent.
  • Future of work– this ties in to future of work because data is the new capital – those with the best data win. We also must realize the reason to collect data is not just to have it, but to use it to personalize work to worker.
  • In the future, those with the best data will have the most personalized worker experience– those without will fail. the vendors today are providing the tools technology for us to truly create amazing experiences yet we fall on OLD practices


View from other Experts

  • Employee turnover data is extremely valuable to collect to improve your retention strategy. Things like exit interviews and employee reviews also give insight about what an organization can improve on along with hiring metrics.
  • Relaying any messages help not only employees but HR too and can let them know where to improve.Collects data on the feedback received about employees’ skillsets to see where individuals need help improving
  • Whatever you collect needs to be based on your vision and mission. Not just because you can. NOT like demographics & Personal management ratings…focus on conversational data!
  • Every organization is different and has different needs. HCM Tech must be flexible to meet user needs.More than the volume & category of data; it is the interpretation of data that matters most. Connecting dots between data is far more important than simply collecting data.
  • Employee engagement info, wellbeing initiatives are important. The  future of workHR analytics are two capitalize on social network data and to better understand the relationships in our organizations.
  • We have to be able to understand & explain to others what the numbers mean. If we can’t then it’s useless. The 2 biggest challenges with data: employee engagement to get it & fragmentation.
  • Reporting data that contributes to propelling our organization’s mission, vision, and values forward is a strategy that works. Need to interpret it properly. That’s whereAI may come in handy for HR. Don’t base decisions on data. Carefully interpret and drawn conclusions. Those conclusions will lead you toward a decision.


Questions Raised

  • Some of the most important data is silence. Who is not using, responding, answering surveys? What are they not saying & why?
  • Which initiatives are building EE’s future & Producing Measurable Business Results vs. obligatory program constructs?
  • What can we use to separate us from the rest?
  • And what you choose to NOT do with data, even though you can collect it or have it?
  • So much time collecting data. Where the discussion about time is spent analyzing and questioning it?


Q6. What specific marketing practices and technologies are you adopting as an HR department for branding purposes?  


 View from Guest Jason Averbook

First of all, never call it HR technology and always frame it around future of work– huge impact on workforce. Realize that if you are training people on using the technology you have already lost – need to educate them on the why.

  • It is a complete “give and take game” you have to give value to the workforce in order for them to give databack to you. All workforce HR process must be aligned and explained as to how it impacts organizational goals/objectives.
  • From a candidate / applicant standpoint, call it cultural continuance – many of our career sites are better than internal site. If you spend more on your career site than you do on marketing/branding your internal portalintranet – spending to lose.
  • Ask yourself – do we treat our workforce at least in the same manner we treat our customers – if not then fail


View from other Experts

  • Social media makes it easier to celebrate your company and your culture, bringing customers and guests “into” your organization. Employees are your brand ambassadors on  Social Media
  • Marketing: we embody the company voice in all messaging & follow the brand guidelines they’ve set. First strategy for HR should be to partner with  marketingfor employer branding
  • Intentionally communicating our cultureand brand from the first contact with potential candidates. Let the staff do the marketing! Get them involved in social media and they’ll feel more engaged and will attract new talent. The internal marketing message should be aligned with the external one.
  • 3 Words: Employer Value PropositionTransparent Organizational Culture Drives Engagement & Company Reputation! Mostly it’s about communicating what we do through multiple channels.
  • Ensure that communication towards branding never stands aloof, alone & distinctly outside the natural process.  Communication towards branding has to remain subtle & integrated well in the process.
  • Take inbound marketing strategies and apply them to recruiting. You’d be surprised how effective this can be. Sometimes (say in Recruiting) the “brand” is not the problem – it is the reach. Focus on new avenues for attracting Talent
  • Bring your employees in to tell your story! This creates transparencyand  authenticity. Storytelling and community building skills are key. Your reach creates awareness towards the organization and how you’re perceived!


Questions Raised

  • If an organization is not using data to strategically determine internal and external audience, then why bother?
  • Social media definitely plays a big role! Who doesn’t look up an organization before applying for that job?


Q7. What are the most important things that HR needs to think about today to build a better technology strategy for the future? 


View from Guest Jason Averbook

  • A realization that the future of work is now and we cannot wait – each day we wait we fall behind competition a  strategy is not a list of  tasks  actions – it is something made up of measures, value, impacts and sold through organization.
  • A strategy is not a shiny penny – call is SOS – shiny object syndrome – we have to work in a program manner, not a project. Every HR technology future of work function must have innovation at its core – cannot simply wait – have to push ahead.
  • If you build a workforcestrategy that has impact and measure of value in it, can succeed – otherwise busy work. A workforce HR strategy must be revised each quarter at a minimum – cloud updates plus innovation in  technology plus business change.
  • A vendor selection is not a strategyand a single vendor doesn’t make a strategy – 3 year plan with governance needed. Never too late to start from a HR workforce technology strategy – but a must and without it, waste a lot of money.
  • Organizations cannot be afraid to look outside at marketing sales customer service practices to get strategy ideas


View from other Experts

  • Focus on the company goals and pick the right technology for your company. HR needs to focus on technology goals and performance to be able to foster a successful future strategy with technology.
  • Be excited about what you can do with technology! Look for ways to use it safely.  Make sure technology is scalable, drives user engagement, and is flexible to answer to continuously changing demands
  • Communication and making sure that everyone understands the goal being set. Think about the data you are collecting and how it can help you better your dept. Building environments of continuous learning & investing in tech that keeps up with this trend, helps measure impact
  • Clear vision of end-state. Consistency & sustainable design principles. Optimize “handling” of HR Be sure you know the vision & long term business plans of the org. Understanding the actual business helps, too
  • As always, your people. Help them build skills for the future & you’ll be amazed at their productivity & dedication. Stay ahead of the times by looking to industry leaders as well as new startups and what they’re doing.
  • Loose old ways of thinking – dump legacy for the sake of legacy and make a BOLD business case for change at the highest level! What new roles will be required, supply of right people with right skills, agile working solutions, retaining talent
  • Smarter recruiting and hiring for a more successful future. Successful employees begin with recruiting! Hiring the right people means hiring people with the same passion and purpose with the organization.
  • Benchmarking & other research – what works for some, may not work for HR budget, industry, staff wants/needs, org goals, etc. Business strategy and alignment, workforce tech roadmap, and capability to implement the plan
  • Innovation has learning, inclusion, and risk-taking at the core. Technology can support knowledge Make sure that whatever you consider fits the specific needs or your organization. It won’t integrate well otherwise. People are afraid to invest in tech, but the longer they wait, the more they’ll fall behind.


Questions Raised

  • Do a quick evaluation, what is currently missing from your department? Can technology solve those issues?
  • How will your clients change? As new gens enter the workforce what are some things they are going to want from workplace tech?
  • How does tech promote the org’s mission? Will this make work easier or just become the work? What could go wrong?
  • Where are we headed? Where are we now? How can technology be used as a tool to bridge the gap?
  • How to partner with CIO, CTO, Data Security, Legal specifically if global operations or if planned?
  • What can technology do to improve your department and what goals will tech help you achieve?


This analysis would definitely answer many important questions and guide others to the right direction. Big thanks to all participants and experts for their views. Special Thanks to SHRM Next Chat team for organizing this. We are thankful to Mary Kaylor for her support for our contribution.

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