The world of human resources is evolving rapidly.

Of course AI is here to stay and it’s already impacting People Operations. But it’s not the only thing on the minds of today’s HR professionals (or in their evolving HR tech stacks). 

To stay ahead in this environment, HR professionals must leverage the right technology and the right mindset to rise to new challenges.

This was the theme of this year’s HR Tech Summit Canada, where Giftbit CEO Leif Baradoy was joined by leaders from across the HR Technology spectrum. 

Through a series of fast-paced tech talks, these thought leaders shared new options for cutting-edge Human Resources tech—along with insights on how best to implement any type of new software to your organization. 

HR Tech panelists (1)

Here are six ways they see HR evolving today, along with how technology can support these emerging trends.

Icon-Number 1Rethinking collaboration and culture

Rethinking collaboration and culture is essential now that hybrid work models are increasingly the norm. 

According to Greg Ward, Talent Development Director at Microsoft Canada, hybrid organizations can strengthen team cohesion by using the office for ‘moments that matter.’ This means using in-office time strategically for activities like team lunches and onboarding, bringing people together to create those connections that just don’t happen the same way in video calls. 

Pro-tip: Individual digital gift cards to restaurants and meal delivery services like UberEats are a great way to finance team lunches and give employees a little perk at the same time. Here’s Giftbit’s full employee rewards catalog. 


Of course we need the right technology to bridge the gap between remote and in-person work, ensuring seamless collaboration. Platforms supporting hybrid environments help manage these crucial interactions. This also highlights the need for streamlined software that integrates with your existing workflows. 

But beyond technology, leadership engagement is critical for building a positive and collaborative culture. Leaders must actively collaborate with HR to drive initiatives supporting a high-performance organization. 

So what can HR managers do to support their leadership? Ward stresses that you can’t just send out one employee engagement survey a year and think your work is done. For example, Microsoft sends daily opt-in surveys to a random sample of 2,500 employees. 

Of course, Microsoft also has over 180,000 employees in over 100 countries. But while smaller companies might not need daily surveys, more is always better. Keep your surveys anonymous, of course, and encourage your employees to be honest and candid in their responses. 

Pro-tip: If you’re struggling with low survey responses, check out our guide to increasing employee survey results



Rethinking productivity

It’s not just collaboration and culture that took a hit with the sudden pivot to hybrid and remote working. So too did our understanding of productivity, and where and how people do their best work. 

Specifically, Ward highlights the importance of addressing 'productivity paranoia,' where leaders worry about remote workers' efficiency. ‘Paranoia’ is the right term here, because we now have crystal clear data that proves that when people want to work from home, they’re able to be just as productive as their in-office counterparts. 

Rethinking productivity should involve shifting the focus from hours worked to output and impact. By measuring productivity based on results, leaders can foster a culture of trust and accountability. This shift also helps create an environment where employees feel valued and motivated.

Beyond addressing productivity paranoia, the Summit’s thought leaders also highlighted several more ways HR initiatives can support productivity. 

For example, Ward suggests using the office for strategic interactions like onboarding and project kick-offs are more effective in person. Again, these 'moments that matter' help teams connect and accelerate progress.

Of course AI can play a crucial role in boosting productivity. Leaders should approach AI implementation with the intent to enhance productivity, not replace jobs. By automating routine tasks, it allows employees to focus more time on high-value activities. 

Digital overload is a real concern in today's workplace, which can really drain productivity and morale. Streamlined HR tech software like Giftbit, Hireguide, and Rippling help mitigate this issue. By providing the right tools, organizations can ensure employees remain productive without feeling overwhelmed.

And leaders must set clear expectations and trust their teams to deliver. This approach not only enhances productivity but also boosts employee satisfaction and retention. 

“When culture and strategy are working together and aligned, they actually equip people to make very good judgements that are aligned with the company, more quickly and with less oversight,” says Baradoy. “That’s what we all need in our business—more empowerment, enabling people with less red tape and oversight.”

graphic designer on a zoom call with potential leads


Keeping a people-centric AI focus

No doubt any tech summit in any industry today will dedicate a lot of time and focus on AI adoption. 

For our thought leaders, one takeaway is clear: smart HR managers can and should be using AI, as long as they are using it in the right way and keeping the focus on people. AI should support people, not replace them, and the focus should be on enhancing employee capabilities.

This means leaders and HR professionals must approach AI with the right intentions. The goal should be to empower employees and improve their work experience.  By using AI to handle routine tasks, employees can focus on more meaningful work.

When implemented thoughtfully, AI can transform the workplace into a more dynamic and efficient environment.

For example, Giftbit has implemented a customer service AI that’s taken a large portion of workflow off our customer support team. 

“And they love it,” says Baradoy—in large part because they are on the cutting edge of new technology, and they’re able to put their attention and skill to new areas to help grow the company. 

Meanwhile, Giftbit’s customers still enjoy the comprehensive level of support that’s garnered our support team an average satisfaction rate of 95%. 

Arjun Bhanot, Principal Value Advisor at Dayforce,  highlights how AI can manage employee queries and optimize workflows. This reduces the burden on HR departments and improves efficiency. 

Sharaf Sultan, Principal at Sultan Lawyers Professional Corporation, also emphasizes the global opportunities that come along with AI. Companies can now engage talent from around the world. Technology including AI tools can make this process a lot easier and also help to integrate global employees into the workforce seamlessly.

AI in the hiring process

AI is helping employees to save time, and we know that many HR professionals spend significant amounts of time in the recruitment process. 

It would be great if you could trust AI to help with the candidate selection process. Tools can certainly help with some of the more repetitive tasks like interview planning and note taking. But according to Tiffany Heimpel, Executive VP at Hireguide, AI technology simply does not yet exist that can help to screen and evaluate candidates in an ethical, unbiased, or efficacious way.  

Instead, Heimpel suggests that currently, the best way to use AI in hiring today is to use it to better your interview process. A better process leads to a better quality of hire.  

For example, Hireguide uses AI to help their clients build better interview processes inclusive of skills based guides, automation of note taking, and hiring decision dashboards which all together help interviewers mitigate unconscious biases.  

Meanwhile, ‘real life’ recruiters are still needed to build relationships and deliver a better candidate experience. 

Icon-Number4Creating a fast and human hiring process

In his Tech Talk, Baradoy shared the hiring process that helps Giftbit to enjoy 87% average job satisfaction, low voluntary turnover (with just one case since 2022), and repeat applicants for open positions. 

This includes posting salary ranges, disqualifying quickly and kindly, personalizing responses, accelerating great candidates, setting expectations and timelines, and expliciting discussing Giftbit’s company culture early in the recruitment process. 

Moreover, Giftbit pays generously and on the same day for work samples.

“We use our own payout service to pay people quickly,” says Baradoy. “That shows our values as a company, and it says a lot.”

Pro-tip: A digital payout for work samples is a much easier process than using bank transfers. 

Icon-Number5Embracing A Global Workforce

Yes, AI tools and other HR technologies can help to integrate global employees. But just as important, smart HR departments are leveraging laws that allow them to truly accept job applications from all over the world. 

According to Sultan, companies can now hire the best talent from anywhere, supported by favorable immigration and employment laws. This global approach allows even small companies to compete on a global scale. 

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to get great ideas from around the world,” says Sultan.

HR professionals must focus on finding the right fit first, then address the legalities of hiring internationally. Sultan suggests that companies often overlook exemptions that allow for hiring foreign workers. Engaging a lawyer early in the process can simplify this transition.

Ultimately, adopting a global workforce strategy enhances innovation and competitiveness. Diverse teams bring varied skills and experiences, driving better business outcomes. HR professionals should embrace this shift and leverage technology to attract and support their global talent.

And the final new best practice for HR departments—skills-based hiring—is what is going to help find the global talent that is also exactly the right fit for your open positions. 

Icon-Number6Adopting Skills Based Hiring

OPT Blog Image job interview meeting office planning workplace coffee

Skills-based hiring focuses on evaluating candidates based on their abilities rather than traditional qualifications. Heimpel emphasizes the importance of using carefully structured interviews and evaluation processes to assess key skills. This method improves the quality of hires and enhances diversity and inclusion.

Specifically, Heimpel suggests focusing on distinct skills and using behavioral and situational questions to assess them. A consistent scoring system ensures fair evaluations and reduces bias.

Implementing skills-based hiring in this way leads to better job fit and higher retention rates. According to Heimpel, this approach results in a 98% retention rate because employees are placed in roles that match their skills. This alignment boosts job satisfaction and performance.

Skills-based hiring also helps in creating a diverse workforce. Heimpel points out that this approach can increase applicant diversity by 24% and reduce bias by 33%. So by focusing on skills, companies can tap into a broader talent pool and improve their diversity footprint.

Embracing the latest trends in HR requires a mix of the right technology and mindset. To see how Giftbit can help in this process, watch a quick demo now