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HR Technology M&A Activity Recruiting Technology Trends

Following my Passion and (re) launching Accelir

After nearly two incredible years, I said goodbye to the Cornerstone OnDemand team yesterday.

In that time we were able to make some fantastic advancements and approach to their recruiting technology. Some of which, the new candidate experience and new manage applicants experience for recruiters, I was able to see highlighted at #unleash18 yesterday. Others will still be forthcoming, and I’ll see in the future. All of them fill me with pride and excitement for a team that is passionate about helping employees and clients Realize their Potential.

But it was time for me to realize mine too, and while it was hard to leave coworkers that had become friends, and others that had become like family – I knew my heart and head was leading me back on my own as an advisor and speaker on future of work and hr technology.

HR and Recruiting technology is about one thing: People.

It’s where we get the first impression of a company as we apply. How we onboard that first job out of college; how we train & learn skills that will enable us to be ready for the next step – lateral, ladder or new. HCM Technology is where our performance is reviewed and succession plans created, helping us see the future career paths ahead. It where leaders can mobilize talent and understand their value in ways we never imagined a decade ago. It is changing the linear approach we have followed for so long and having the vision to do it in a new way.

Its users are the high-tech people in the big cities and white collar workers that get all the attention; its the hidden hourly workforce we seemingly forget that brings us our food, works in our hospitals and makes the products that stock our shelves; its the teachers, school districts and universities that are trying to make sense of this to train the next generation; the retiree’s that never expected to be working in their golden age; the single mom without internet access except on her mobile device you think should have to go to the library to apply; the immigrants that are learning our language, culture and technology all at once to find work and support their families.

When done right, it can be the technology that enables global organizations and small mom and pop’s to prepare themselves, their community and their employees for a skills gap and future of work they never expected to experience.

It is about people — Without that framework, its hard build a product that truly understands its impact not just on business, but on people, on the future of work. As a consultant, I’ve worked with 100+ vendors over the last 10+ years and countless hr teams. The hardest part was always influencing roadmaps or designing new processes and strategies then walking away – leaving your vision and hoping they believe in themselves as much as you do.

In reality, walking away is one of the most gratifying parts of the role.

It is teaching and guiding people but letting them do it for themselves – setting them up for success (and oddly not needing someone like me) every time change arises. Improving HR Technology has never been about getting the praise or acknowledgment for me. It has always been about enhancing the influence good technology has on workers. People have enough to worry about in their lives without crappy hr technology being part of it. And my ideas and concepts, after I walk away can expand and grow and flourish into even better ideas and approaches – because sometimes it is simply about helping a team see a new vision or brainstorm out of a funk.

I get energized seeing the innovation that is taking shape with the startups and enterprise players alike – love talking with the VC’s and equity groups that are finally catching up with this market and want to learn more about where it has been and where it is going to go. HR Technology Conferences are like class reunions for me at this point – seeing clients I worked with when they were pre-funding a decade ago; the enterprise teams that were deciding on buy vs build strategy rolling out the decision we worked on and the investors that want to celebrate the exits we were able to make.

I am passionate about sharing my knowledge at conferences and user groups with busy executive teams and overwhelmed practitioners – simplifying the buzzwords and translating technical and marketing speak into a language they aren’t intimidated by. Empowering them to advocate for themselves and make sense of the crazy world we call #hrtech.

I am so grateful for the experiences (and friendships!) I gained working so closely with the thought leadership, product, marketing, sales and client success teams; and especially the fantastic clients at Cornerstone OnDemand – but its time to follow my passion and they will forever be part of my story.

As of today, I’ll be relaunching Accelir, an Analyst & Advisory firm with a focus of helping companies, investors and #hrtech providers prepare for the future of work through market education and training, innovative growth strategies and building technology that puts the people, not “human capital,” first.

If you’re at Unleash America, come say hi – or you can see me next month as the Emcee at HR Tech Summit – Canada and speaking at HR Technology Conference in September.  More events will be announced soon!

Let’s build a better workplace and make the future of work a little more human, together.

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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  1. Essentials June 25, 2018

    Amazing stuff, Sarah! We love hearing about new HR tech initiatives and how the field can benefit from adopting new tech and methodologies.


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