A Great Time to be in HR Technology...

Written by: Tom Gizzi
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Everyone has heard the old saying, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” That quote is most often attributed to Benjamin Franklin circa 1789. A lot has changed since then. In fact, given the rapidly evolving world we live in today, I would argue that change itself could be added to the list of certainties. HR Technology has drastically altered the way we do business over the last few decades; companies are constantly exploring ways to meet business needs faster, cheaper, and better. As organizations and strategic plans change with the times, HR business partners should embrace changes in HR technology to drive business outcomes, especially HRTech in talent acquisition.

Though AI and automation for HR technology continue to be top of mind for thought leaders at the annual HR Tech Conference and Expo, conversations surrounding diversity and inclusion, particularly the role of women in HR tech, took center stage. Held at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, the event covered topics ranging from the impact of data on hiring and the onset of automation, to the growing importance of talent acquisition and learning management tools to why failure is a key part of business.

Energy and Tone at HR Tech 2018…

In HR technology, competitive advantage is too often confused with how fast a solution provider innovates and launches new capabilities. Categories are created, and products are enhanced with very little consideration for what customers want or need. The pressure to “speed up” has created confusion in a market that is already crowded and complex. The energy and tone at the conference seemed different. Solution providers are slowing down, being more thoughtful with product launches, and getting back to the basics. Both traditional solution providers and startups are tackling fundamental thinking about what will help clients improve the way they recruit, develop, and manage their workforce from the employee, the manager, and even the candidate point of view. While forward leaning HR topics like AI, machine learning, and robotics are now mainstream, there was still a heavy focus on simplicity. The tone of the conference was set by the innovative Expo Pub Crawl. This is an industry that thrives on connections. And there was no shortage of connections at this year’s event. Clients built closer relationships with solution providers. Partnerships were established. Competitors even explored opportunities with each other. This is an industry willing to share and an industry willing to learn. We have a unique opportunity to stay connected as vendors, practitioners, and thought leaders and something we should never take for granted.

Simplicity, A Refreshing Shift…

The simplicity at this year’s conference represents a refreshing shift in a market that has a history of overcomplicating even the most basic of processes. Below are some of the categories and providers that stood out to me this year:

  • Diverse Talent Simply Drives Business Outcomes only if People are Welcomed
  • The Right Technology and Utilizing the Right Data Simply Leads to Better Hires
  • Automation Is Coming, to Simplify Processes…Don’t Panic, Embrace the Simplicity
  • Talent Technology Systems Simplifies the Backbone of a Modern TA Function

Today, the talent acquisition (TA) system remains the backbone of a progressive TA function. Yet, Research found that 80% of companies are still unhappy or indifferent with their solution provider. In the world of recruitment, the need for simplicity has never been greater.

Dear HRTech, Don’t forget the SMBs

When you’re a small business looking to hire top talent, competing against big enterprises can feel like a David-and-Goliath struggle. It might not be a bad idea to offer perks different from an enterprise company. Celebrating your strengths as a small or medium-sized business (SMB) and appealing to what SMB employees care about most can help you attract, hire, engage, and retain great talent…with the right HR Tech. The strengths of SMBs line up quite nicely with the values that drive SMB employees. Focus on what small business talent is more likely to care about—like their impact, your mission, and good management—to make the best case for joining your team. And, HRTech, please don’t forget the SMB that critically need the value that HR technology brings.

A great time to be in HR Technology…

Whether you’re a ‘real’ influencer that has the “juice,” a pure unbiased analyst, or one of the many young innovative entrepreneurial Pitchfest participants in the startup pavilion, or a tenured leader in HR…It is a great time to be in HR Technology. As seasoned and startup providers look to innovate and solve business challenges by improving the experience of the individual, this market has come a long way. As I am still processing much of what I learned over the past week or so, there are some obvious themes that include next-generation assessments, chatbots, employee experience solutions, and talent acquisition systems. Several years ago, startups were driving this market. Today, the focus has been on traditional providers that are setting the pace for innovation through enhanced products and partnerships…but keep an eye on those entrepreneurs. Finally, we will never forget Mike Rowe’s keynote address on AI.

This blog is just a snapshot of some of my experiences from the HR Technology Conference 2018. I would love to hear what interested you. Let’s connect on Twitter @TomGizzi .