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HR Tech Conference 2018 Wrap up – Using Tech to Improve Business Outcomes

The HR Technology Conference & Expo was a few weeks ago, but we are still highlighting some of the vendors we met while in Vegas.  While Recruiting Tech has become a hot feature for both the startup pavilion and expo hall over the past five years, this year – the Talent Engagement & Experience Side (Including Wellness, Learning, Adoption & More) was just as hot. (Read more about the Talent Acquisition Technologies from this year here) The startups entering this segment have founders that are coming from data science, psychology and even out of high-stress well street jobs.    The existing players have evolved and are becoming more robust in their offerings.

Over all, these companies have one thing in common: Technology designed to make work better in some way and have those improvements tie back to business outcomes leadership cares about.

Can we use technology to improve business outcomes?

SwarmVision is proving that yes, you can do exactly that.  Their product was one of the most interesting to me as it is designed to identify innovation and build better teams.  Unique aspect – this isn’t about hiring, it is about managing and mobilizing your existing talent to keep people on the right projects and assignments.  The CEO has been able to validate 8 business outcomes tied to an innovation culture and this technology is used by Fortune 2000 type of companies looking to modernize, mobilize and prepare for the future of industry. This is not a product for everyone and that is exactly why they are great.

Walkme proves it isn’t always about the insights a new technology provides but also what the technology can do for companies that improves business outcomes.  Walkme is a digital adoption platform that makes the rest of your technology easier to use for your employees. It can take complex systems (ie. bad or outdated UX) and can “walk” the employees through making it simple.  You get your employees to actually use the technology you paid for; they can do it quickly, efficiently and without frustration and your IT department will see this product has reach WELL beyond HR Tech in your org.  The next unicorn in the making, they made the Forbes Top 100 Cloud list for a second time in a row this year.

Visier is one of the top enterprise people analytics and workforce planning platforms on the market.   The data sets and easy to use dashboards allow C-suite or HR Teams to find direct connections between talent (acquisition, learning, management, etc) and business outcomes.  Combined with the benchmarking features and some of the most robust reporting available and you can see why customers from multiple industries have turned to them as a key technology partner.

We an use technology to connect to our workforce and influence engagement.

Limeaid is the first real Employee Experience platform, something focused on the employee and making them more successful in their role by making them more successful as a human.  It has the employee engagement technology complete with surveys and insights but it also rolls in rewards and recognition and unique to them, features that are focused on wellness, inclusion and even a collaborative learning component.  This system bringing in diverse resources such as mindfulness, financial skills and professional/career training that impact the whole person.  For companies the analytics, dashboards and insights into what all this means from a business perspective is easily accessible.

Energage is a hybrid company with both technology and services.  Their software is also a hybrid of features you would find in engagement, recognition and coaching all designed to allow leadership teams to identify culture and create growth mindsets.   The company itself has its background in the “Top Workplaces” research that has surveyed more than 17 million employees to identify culture traits that breed success.

Levelhead is built off research around mindfulness and connected workers impact on business outcomes.  Their solution is around functional mindfulness.  Simply put – it allows employees to have short “training” sessions focused on particular issue that are impacting their job like stress, distraction, motivation, failure, etc that they can access when they need them.

Clickboarding – Onboarding doesn’t have to be hard and that is what clickboarding is hoping companies realize.  While many ATS’s offer some basic forms management, most lack the basic functionality that a standalone onboarding product like Clickboarding can offer for hr teams, hiring managers, it departments and the new employee.  Companies that are still using a paper checklist or excel spreadsheet will see a big impact.  Strategic onboarding is about retention, engagement and ramp-up time, not just getting them in the door.

Hyphen originally popped on the market as pulse survey technology.  Over the last few years Hyphen like the rest of the market, has evolved into a modern version – allowing executive and hr teams to remain connected to insights and opinions from all levels of worker. Giving the workers a voice.   From Candidate/Prehire Surveys to Alumni/Exit Surveys and everything in between – this is not your standard 5000 question assessment that action rarely is taken on.  It is designed for engagement with multiple types of surveys and interaction options that can be used in different scenarios – even text – whatever is right for your audience.   (I didn’t have a chance to brief with either but I’ll point out Culture Amp and Glint both play in the same relative space with each having slightly different approaches)

Intrepid is trying to shift the tradition LMS experience, mirroring how people are already gathering, sharing and digesting information (and I don’t mean a netflix style ux) – They are helping learning leaders become curators and giving them a way to not only share in-house and purchased content – but also create ebooks or pathways on the fly and (my favorite) is the access to simply share notes or highlights of something found elsewhere online.  Ex. Did you go to a conference?  Upload your notes for your entire team – and other departments if you want – to access at any point in the future.   One other feature that I am seeing more companies move towards, but not a lot of tech talking about is the ability continuous co-hort style programs which not only include learning paths but engagement more like you would see in EdTech.    Creating connections and engagement through learning and sharing.

Even some of the traditional HRTech companies are changing to focus more on business impact and outcomes.

First Advantage If you think you know background checking, think again.  Robotic processes, blockchain, text/sms innovation – First Advantage is now led by team with their roots in high tech and are doing more than 60 million screens globally each year.  But even with all that, the best part of this company to me (given it is extreme personal data) they use their own employees not third party contractors through the 26 locations around the world.  Their product line is no longer that new hires background check – the new high demand items from companies are social screening, corporate brand reputation and continuous criminal monitoring – keeping your business and clients safe by keeping you up to date on what is going on with employees since they have been hired.  And those standard background checks, you don’t have to read far into the news to understand why they are more important than ever to not only be done, but be done right.

Infomart is another global background screening company, but they are doing things a little different and are focused heavily on the candidate/applicant experience.  I think they are well positioned on the contingent marketplace as they have dedicated a lot of resources to improving the UX/IW and creating fully mobile/text based processes.  Some interesting offerings: a consumer product currently working with healthcare students that allow them to pre-background check themselves and share with companies; a SMB solution designed to be super simple for companies that may only do a handful of hires a year; international records report for companies that are hiring globally to ensure they are not requesting or accessing anything that may not be allowed in the other country

Raven Intel – Are you about to invest in a new HCM suite?  Check them out first.  Not because they have something to sell you, but because they have started a resource site to allow you to better evaluate the consulting team that will be managing your implementation.   Before you just take the name your sales rep (or it team) suggested – stop by this site. Here you can find out what service providers work with your preferred partner but also read reviews of the experience others have had.  When you consider how many HCM installs fail or struggle due to a poor implementation – and the cost associated with one – you’ll understand why this has real business value.

Topia  New name, lots of experience.  Topia is a rebrand of 3 companies that focused on global mobility and relocation.  But the how they are doing it is what is unique.  Their technology not only can help support the employee during the relocation or re-mobilization; but more importantly it helps business make the business decisions on when this makes sense with scenario planning and research around turnover due to lack of mobility.  For a new generation of worker that is looking for global or even multi-location experience in one country, this can help facilitate those moves but allow you to have a strategy in place increasing talent attraction, engagement and retention while doing so.  Again, this isn’t a product for everyone, but multi-national companies should be looking closely at this as they prepare for the future of work.

Buck – A rebrand of Conduent HR Consulting after an acquisition/spin off earlier this year, Buck is relaunching Q42018 and will be bringing in new approaches, technologies and insights around global administration, outsourcing and vendor services.  Their focus is helping companies rethink process & redesign experiences that are offered without always having to change their technology.  Will be interesting to see how this brand and positioning rolls out as right now it is still a landing page.

Salary.com – Well known as a consumer site to get an idea of what a job pays, they also have corporate technology side that is far more robust than most people know.  While they are still one of the largest comp survey and resources in the US, it is what they have developed with their technology and they are doing beyond that I found the most fascinating.  Today, Salary.com is allowing companies using their technology to create pay equity for women and minorities in organizations. Identifying if they are being paid competitively – from recruiting on – and regularly analyzing internal data to create a fair pay environment.  On top of that, they have added components to evaluate executive pay ratios and really help examine pay practices in overall organization.  This is far more than a standard comp solution and would be a smart addition for companies of any size to put into their hr tech stack as they continue to strive for fairness and equity in the workplace.

Last but not least…Changes are Coming with Accelir & HR Tech Blog

Accelir –  Recently relaunched, Accelir is a boutique advisory firm focused on trends, technologies and strategies for attraction, retention and future of work. Corporate Teams access their research and services for vendor insights, talent strategy consulting and in-house training.  HR Technology vendors work with Accelir to connect the dots on market trends and positioning, improve product strategy, enhance buyer/client experience and for sharing insights at user conferences and events.  Watch for our first trends report soon.

HR TechBlog also has some exciting changes ahead!  While I LOVE doing this site and have been solo blogging in this space for 15 years, its time to grow.  We are partnering with a soon to be announced media company that will be helping take this to the next level as I focus my efforts on the growth of Accelir.  This new approach will allow us to offer more content from a number of industry experts and get valuable insights from the vendors themselves in a non-sales way.  There will be some really amazing things I can’t talk about yet but promise I will soon – but trust me when I say, this is like nothing else that has been done before in HR Tech.   Vendors it you are interested in learning more about how you can contribute or sponsor email me or schedule time on my calendar 

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Sarah Brennan

Sarah Brennan is a recognized HCM industry analyst and advisor focused on improving the impact of technology on people, business and the future of work.  Sarah Brennan has been named a top global influencer in HR Technology by more than 50 publications and shared her insights at speaking engagements around the world. As Chief Advisor at Accelir, she partners with HR Technology vendors and investors as an advisor, interim CxO role and on engagements focused on growth strategies, product roadmap & market education/evangelism. She also works with corporate teams enhancing talent strategies.

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