How Unexpected Technologies Can Inspire HR Leadership


Innovation often comes from unexpected places; Jeff Ostermann, the chief people officer at Sweetwater, shares how HR leaders can improve their leadership with unexpected technologies outside of the HR industry, such as customer data platforms (CDP), ChatGPT, and gaming technology.

Over the past few years, human resource management has faced dramatic challenges that have required both steadfast perseverance and remarkable creativity. Much of what HR professionals have led through arrived without any playbook, and we’d be naïve to think that the future won’t require equal levels of creativity. For this reason, it can be a helpful exercise for us to look outside the profession’s normal confines for creative inspiration from other areas. Perhaps nowhere is better to look than at several emerging technologies that can provide insights into how HR leaders can effectively lead and innovate in the coming year. Here are three current technology trends to see how they can inspire HR and jumpstart our thinking as we move into the year ahead.

Customer Data Platforms

In recent years, customer data platforms (CDPs) have emerged as a new technology that has the potential to revolutionize the way HR work is performed.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a CDP is a centralized system that collects, integrates, and manages customer data from various sources, such as websites, mobile apps, and CRM systems. The goal of a CDP is to provide a unified view of the customer, enabling organizations to deliver personalized experiences to those customers.

In HR, a similar concept can be applied to create a single source of truth for employee data. By centralizing employee data, HR teams can better understand their needs, preferences, and development goals and use this information to deliver personalized experiences that support their growth and development.

For example, an HR CDP can track employee performance, career aspirations, and learning and development needs. This data can then be used to provide tailored learning experiences, such as recommending relevant training and development opportunities and offering targeted coaching and mentoring. Additionally, HR teams can use the data collected in an HR CDP to inform talent management decisions, such as succession planning and employee engagement initiatives. By clearly understanding employees’ strengths and development needs, HR teams can identify and cultivate high-potential talent and create a more engaged and motivated workforce.

Another benefit of integrating customer data platforms into HR work is improving organizational communication and collaboration. By having a centralized source of employee data, HR teams can easily share information with other departments, such as finance, marketing, and operations, to support cross-functional initiatives. This increased collaboration can lead to more effective and efficient decision-making and a better employee experience.

Moreover, CDPs can help HR teams manage and analyze large amounts of data, freeing up time and resources to focus on more strategic and value-adding initiatives. By automating routine HR processes, such as data collection, analysis, and reporting, HR teams can focus on more strategic initiatives, such as improving employee engagement, developing leadership programs, and building strong company culture.

See More: 5 Customer Data Platform Best Practices Prior to Implementation


ChatGPT has dominated recent technology headlines since its public introduction late last year. It is an advanced AI chatbot tool that provides dynamic conversational responses to inquiries. Integrating ChatGPT-type thinking into HR work can bring numerous benefits, including improved communication, increased efficiency, and enhanced employee experiences.

One of the key benefits of a tool like ChatGPT is its ability to improve communication and collaboration within the organization. HR teams that work to build easily accessible knowledge bases that are searchable across their organizations can better answer employee questions and provide information on HR policies, benefits, and other relevant topics in real-time, improving the overall employee experience.

Another unique aspect of ChatGPT is its ability to provide personalized experiences for employees. HR teams that can collect and analyze data on employee preferences, needs, and development goals can then use this data to provide tailored employee support and resources, such as recommending relevant training and development opportunities or offering targeted coaching and mentoring.

See More: How ChatGPT Can Be a Game Changer in Human Resource Management

Gaming Technology

While CDPs and ChatGPT may seem like obvious business-oriented technologies, HR inspiration can also be drawn from the more playful world of gaming. One of the key ways in which newer gaming technologies can inspire HR work is through the concept of gamification. Gamification involves incorporating game-like elements, such as points, badges, and leaderboards, into HR processes and systems to increase employee engagement and motivation. For example, HR teams can use gamification to motivate employees to complete training programs, participate in employee engagement initiatives, or achieve performance targets.

Gamification can also improve the employee experience, making HR processes and systems more interactive and enjoyable. HR teams can use gamified onboarding programs to help new employees acclimate to the company culture and understand company policies and procedures. This can help employees feel more connected to the organization and improve their overall job satisfaction.

See More: Why Is Java’s Use in the Gaming Industry Limited?

In addition to gamification, HR work can also draw lessons from virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Extremely forward-thinking HR groups can reference these technologies to create more immersive and interactive training and development programs, allowing employees to experience new concepts and ideas in unique and unusual environments. This can improve employee engagement and motivation and increase the effectiveness of training and development initiatives.

As we look to the year before us, let’s commit to moving beyond the status quo in our HR work and pressing into fresh thinking that spurs our organizations forward. By referencing these three technology areas, HR can improve processes, provide personalized experiences, and engage employees in new ways. In addition, these technologies can help HR become more effective, efficient, and enjoyable while providing exciting opportunities to innovate and improve HR practices. The people and organizations we support deserve our best, and I’m confident that this is the year each of us will deliver!

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