The HR Tech Trends Everyone is Talking About

October 20th, 2016 Comments off
The HR Tech Trends Everyone is Talking About

We asked some of the leading HR technology influencers and experts who attended the 2016 HR Technology Conference and Expo to share what they see as the biggest topics and trends influencing the constantly evolving HR technology space right now.

Meet Our Experts

Tim Sackett is the president of HRU Technical Resources, a leading IT and engineering staffing firm, with more than 20 years of combined executive HR and talent acquisition experience. He’s also a speaker and writes for Fistful of Talent and The Tim Sackett Project. Jason Lauritsen, a former HR exec, is an employee engagement and workplace culture expert who also led the research team for Quantum Workplace’s Best Places to Work program. Neil Morrison is the director of strategy, culture and innovation at Penguin Random House U.K.

Here’s what you need to know right now, according to these industry leaders:

What are some of the biggest HR technology topics/trends you are seeing and hearing about right now?
Jason Lauritsen

Jason Lauritsen

JL: There is a lot of investment going into technology tools that claim to drive employee engagement. This suggests that organizations are searching for solutions to employee engagement, and they are hoping that the right technology mix will help.

NM: The major hot topic still seems to be data and analytics in any shape or form — how do we best obtain, analyze and use data to inform decision making and interventions? Beyond that, talent acquisition is still a big topic of conversation and a serious focus for the industry, combining smart attraction and selection with good candidate experience.

What are some of the most imminent hurdles those in the HR and talent acquisition space are faced with today? What keeps them up at night?

NM: Everyone I talk to is facing some sort of challenge from the increased digitalization of the workplace — whether it’s through consumer behavior, skills development or talent acquisition. We also have a specific challenge here in the U.K., based on our recent referendum vote which is causing a lot of thought, but without many answers.

Where do you see the industry going in the next six months or year?

NM: I think there has to be more consolidation in the HR technology space. At the moment, the number of providers sometimes feels greater than the number of procurers, which can’t be a sustainable model.

There was a lot of talk in the HR Tech sessions about employee experience. Tell us what that means to you and why it’s important. Also, do you think employers are paying sufficient attention to the candidate experience?

TS: Employee experience is about creating a culture and environment where every employee feels like they are valued and the organization is working to try and develop those things each employee is best at.

It’s not about ping pong tables and free snacks — it’s about providing a work experience where the employee feels what they do adds value to the organization and that value is recognized.

JL: Employee experience is about designing a work experience that feels good to employees while setting them up to succeed. Smart companies have been designing customer experience for years, and this thinking is finally making its way to employees and candidates. Employee experience design is where employee engagement meets performance.

Neil Morrison

Neil Morrison

NM: Candidate experience is an area that I believe is hugely overlooked in the talent acquisition space. I believe this is going to be one of the biggest differentiators of brands in the years to come. We have to start taking a more consumer-based approach and treat people less like fish in a barrel.

What tips do you have to help your peers strike the right balance between leveraging the right technology while also maintaining that human connection?

TS: Here’s my rule of thumb: Any time you’re using technology to do some part of your process and it would be equally as fast to stand up and walk over to another individual or pick up the phone to complete that part of the process, technology is working against you from the human connection side of the business. This happens constantly in organizations, and many times the technology takes longer than just having a simple conversation. Striking a balance between technology and human connection is all about allowing the technology to complete mass touches, while you complete individual touches. Don’t allow your tech to be you — allow it to be 100 and 1,000 of you, but not you individually.

JL: The most important — and often overlooked — step in identifying HR technology is to define exactly what you are trying to accomplish. If you are selecting a technology to increase employee engagement or candidate experience, what exactly does that mean? And how will you know that you’ve been successful?

NM: Ask yourself: ‘Does this make life better for employees? Does it make life simpler for managers? Does it add commercial value to the business?’ If you can’t answer ‘yes’ to at least two of these questions, you’re probably only making life easier for HR, which isn’t the goal.

Robots are not going to take over the world, right? Phew! But in all seriousness, how do you see the role of the talent acquisition and/or HR professional shifting and evolving with the introduction of overwhelming amounts of data and new technologies?
Tim Sackett

Tim Sackett

TS: HR and talent acquisition leaders are confused by artificial intelligence or A.I. They expect some Will Smith iRobots to show up and start doing their jobs and bake amazing pies. The reality of A.I. in a HR and talent acquisition sense is that it is much less sexy. Most A.I. that we’ll use in HR and talent acquisition is centered around ‘bots’ that will take over mass communication-type Q&A. Things like someone applying and having simple questions about a job description, interview directions and times, what they should expect from your process, etc. A.I. can now handle all of these types of communications pretty effectively and it helps to raise your candidate experience.

JL: As we face the reality that humans are really bad at assessing other humans — for performance, abilities or fit — due to inherent biases, there will be a rise of technology to do this more effectively for us. This will create more time to focus on things like experience design and engagement where we can drive performance and retention.

NM: We need to be combining the insight that we get from good data and analytics with the intuition that we get from good hiring managers. We need to listen to both and make informed decisions. For too long we’ve relied just on intuition and, whilst we don’t want to replace it, we do need to complement it.

Exclusive Sneak Peek: How to Cure Your HR Headaches at HR Tech 2015

October 16th, 2015 Comments off
Exclusive Sneak Peek: How to Cure Your HR Headaches at HR Tech 2015

If your current relationship status to your HR technology is “It’s complicated” and big data is giving you BIG headaches, then you won’t want to miss all the activities going on at CareerBuilder’s booth (no. 1311) at HR Tech in Las Vegas next week.

For starters, you are probably suffering from these legitimate HR headaches:

  • “Why do my recruitment tools act like bratty children who refuse to speak to each other and why can’t they just get along?”
  • “I need more candidates, like, yesterday!”
  • “I seriously can’t right now with this outdated technology.”
  • “When you go to log in to your 10th recruitment tool and you can’t remember your password.”

That’s why we are having a contest at HR Tech where you get to submit your biggest #HRheadaches via Twitter using that hashtag and be entered to win fabulous prizes! (Read the terms & conditions here first.) You can also come to our booth 1311 to vote for your biggest #HRheadaches to help us select winners each day.

Meet HR technology rock stars — in the flesh!

Post and pray is so 1995! Welcome to 2015 — it’s a new era in recruitment technology. If you’re one of those people who would swipe left on your HR technology, you may not know where to start and how to choose the right technology partner. Fortunately, there’s a cure for that HR headache — and many more.

Stop by CareerBuilder’s booth (no. 1311) on Oct. 19 and 20 at 10:15 a.m., where Mary Delaney — CareerBuilder’s president of recruitment technology — will offer up some real talk on what you should look for. Reserve a spot now at http://cb.com/HRTechMary

And we are SO excited to have the famous Tim Sackett and Kris Dunn — recruitment experts (and closeted comedians) — for a fun and interactive presentation at HR Tech.

Check out this preview video of Tim and Kris below — it will make you want to reserve your spot right now at: http://cb.com/KrisTimHRTech. They will be at CareerBuilder’s booth (no.1311) on Oct. 18 at 5:30 p.m. or Oct. 19 at 4:45 p.m. to present about their biggest HR headaches.

And of course we have a fabulous prize waiting for you … a brand new CareerBuilder hoodie! (Trust us, you’ll probably need it when you find yourself freezing indoors during the conference.)

And check out our activity schedule to see what else is going at CareerBuilder’s booth. Don’t miss it — see you in Vegas!

I’m a VP of HR: Tech is a Game-Changer for Culture

October 14th, 2015 Comments off
I'm a VP of HR: HR Tech is a Game Changer for Culture

Have you ever felt left out? Like, not being invited to that company party or golf outing? Or not seeing that merger coming? Or working two months on a succession plan and then realizing that another team just rolled one out? Or being left out of conversations with your CEO because HR is just too out of sight? Of course you have.

Good news: Implementing HR technology platforms can help you and your HR team. Here’s how tech has helped my company and my team feel less “left out.”

  • It has brought more intimacy to our expanding workforce.
  • It has brought more intimacy to cross-functional teams where natural silo’s are dying to pop up.
  • It has helped create intimacy between my HR department and Daxko team members.

Intimacy. In HR. You read that correctly.

This post may not be for you if you bristle at the literal word combo of HR and intimacy. I believe that modern HR teams who support a modern workforce understand this crucial equation:

Intimacy + Access = Trust.

If your employees do not believe in your HR team, your HR function is dead in the water. In my experience, our company has facilitated more personalized conversations and has given folks more access to other team members and business information through HR technology.

Employees no longer feel left out.

Want in on a little secret? For years, my company’s HR tech was mediocre at best. Why? We didn’t need PeopleSoft when we had 50 people, and the mediocre tech did the trick. Why fix what isn’t broken? We had a culture of feedback that for the most part hid our HR tech cracks.

But Daxko grew. Quickly. We had 12 consecutive years of 20 percent growth, increasing headcount and geographies. Glad-handing and water cooler convos weren’t enough to bring clarity and, most importantly, intimacy to any interactions.

So how has tech helped?

  • HR tech is not just for HR. The term “HR tech” is a misnomer. It is for all employees. Instant connection.
  • It makes a large world smaller. HR technology platforms are following the formula social media has established. Simple, lightweight, transparent.
  • It removes the administration burden away from all employees in an organization. Daxko colleagues have a better chance of focusing on the right things with proper HR tech.
  • It enables employees to be treated like adults. It gives employees autonomy. For instance, our new applicant tracking system allows hiring managers to interact directly with candidates. We allow leaders to review their candidates at their pace and customize questions that make sense.
  • Our tech provides our employees with real-time feedback, too. New HR tech is allowing us to switch from “backward-looking” reviews to real-time “check-ins” to propel goal progression.
  • It provides senior leaders with real-time feedback as well. Our new tech pushes out one-question “pulse surveys” through an email. Our CEO can ask, “Did our midyear retreat provide the clarity necessary to achieve your annual goals?” Within a few hours, leaders get results and then act. Quickly.

Our results:

  • Controlled turnover.
  • Higher engagement scores (4.2 out of 5 corporate-wide).
  • Highest new sales in the history of Daxko.
  • Ability to grow 20 percent year-over-year through successful acquisitions and new product development.


So, remember: Intimacy + Access = Trust.

If you believe in that formula, don’t do all the heavy lifting. Implementing a few high-quality and cost-effective HR tech solutions can — and should — help change your game.

Throughout the month of October, our resident talent advisors are focused on all things HR technology. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions and learn about the latest trends in HR tech.

How Small Businesses Can Use HR Tech

October 5th, 2015 Comments off
How Small Businesses Can Use HR Tech

I am a big believer that small business HR teams can do nearly everything that large business HR teams can do. The trick to emulating their larger counterparts rests in doing a few different things differently.

First, a small business must be able to scale. There are plenty of examples of what big businesses are doing with large recruiting budgets to attract talent. Smaller businesses can use many of the same strategies, but they will have to scale them down as far as size and budget.

Second, small businesses must be able to hire HR people who can react and adapt very quickly. Smaller HR teams often have individuals doing multiple roles, and this can slow their ability to react and adapt to changes that occur while their focus is on a million different things. Recruiting and hiring talent with a natural ability and desire to react and adapt quickly to the changing needs of a growing business is crucial for HR roles in smaller businesses.

Third, small businesses must embrace, leverage and fully utilize the amazing amount of HR tech that is available to them. Fortunately, new technology and innovations enter the marketplace on a seemingly daily basis. Unfortunately, it is also the one area that small businesses assume they can not afford or simply do not want to embrace.

And that is killing their ability to do those first two things well.

While businesses can use HR tech in many ways, these three are the most important to highlight:


It is mind boggling how many HR teams are still using an abundance of spreadsheets and manual processes to manage daily HR functions such as payroll, time-off tracking and more. There is a new world out there. Apps, “freemium” tech applications (which usually do just enough for small businesses) and a move to monthly subscription services for software has made HR tech much more affordable. HR teams that can automate regularly scheduled daily or weekly tasks will open their time up to focus on more business growth-oriented work.

Align with Business Objectives

Large businesses with large budgets have the ability to purchase tech that does everything for them. They can automate nearly every function and don’t have to pick and choose which tech makes the most sense. Scaling for a smaller budget, however, means that smaller businesses do have a choice to make. That choice should be based on business objectives. Let’s say a company has the budget to invest in only one type of HR tech. If the main business objective includes a plan for explosive growth in the employee population over the next year, a quality applicant tracking system may be at the top of the tech wish list.

Fully Use or Expand Current Tech Applications

One surprising fact about many businesses is that even if they have invested in HR tech, they are not fully using all the features they are paying for. Often this happens if there is a change in HR staff after the initial implementation. HR teams in small businesses should be fully aware of everything offered with their investment and be prepared to utilize it to the fullest. Any areas not utilized should either be used or reallocated to the technology that makes sense for the business.

They also do not realize that for just a few dollars more, their current tech could be expanded to meet an even bigger need. More and more HR technology companies are offering starter packages in the hopes that they can grow with a small business. A few bucks can get you a feature that can greatly reduce the amount of manual work an HR team is doing.

Consider the above three methods a starting point, and then scale from there.

The Future of HR Tech

HR technology is only going to get bigger and better. Companies are going to continue to automate many of the traditional HR tasks that bog down smaller HR teams. Businesses that assume they cannot afford tech — or that refuse to get on board with doing things a new and different way — are going to struggle to grow and innovate.

Your budget may not allow for a robust HRIS system, but it may allow for basic payroll automation that tracks several manual processes and costs one low monthly fee. The key is to assess your need, research options and invest in the area that makes the most sense for the business.

The alternative is ugly. You will continue to drown in spreadsheets and manual processes, the cost of which is greater than technology could ever be.


Throughout the month of October, our resident talent advisors are focused on all things HR technology. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions and learn about the latest trends in HR tech.

3 Ways Technology Is Making HR Better

September 18th, 2015 Comments off
3 ways HR tech will make HR better and easier

Whenever someone talks to me about HR technology, I always black out from boredom. While it’s important to talk tech as a talent advisor, sometimes I just want to talk about Kim Kardashian.

As I dig deeper and expand my knowledge of HR, I realize HR technology is not as boring as it seems. (Okay, that might not be true. All the Silicon Valley jargon is monotonous.) I do believe there are three specific ways in which technology is helping HR play a bigger role in the changing nature of the workforce.

3 ways I see tech making HR easier and better:

1. Compliance and Payroll Continue to Get Better.

In my first HR job, payroll checks were cut on a typewriter by a woman who looked like Maxine on the old Hallmark greeting cards. She always wore a cardigan sweater, even in July, because her office was always too cold. When I think about those old days, with cranky Maxine and the illegal space heater she kept under her desk, I praise all the nerds who enjoyed math and science classes and excelled in computer programming. Compliance and payroll used to be a nightmare. Now it’s an outsourced process, informed by cloud-based databases that are linked to the most up-to-date tax codes, which rarely let anybody down.

2. Finance and HR talk to one another with greater ease.

No HR technology vendor can deliver a seamless and foolproof link between financial data and HR data; however, they are getting close. Cloud software as a service, or SaaS, HR vendors are moving their customers to a future where managers and supervisors can make better recruiting, performance, and learning decisions for their employees. Until SaaS vendors can create a unified system with predictive capabilities that pull from reliable and timely financial and workforce information, finance and HR will have to talk to one another. But it gets easier to have a holistic conversation about money and employees as these technology systems evolve and issue new releases.

3. Learning is Fun Again.

At one point in my mediocre HR career, I achieved Master Trainer Certification with DDI. Every blue moon, someone would ask me to run a session on how to hold better meetings. All of that rote, entry-level stuff is now on the Internet — good riddance. You want to learn behavioral interviewing or how to accelerate “new hire productivity levels” in the first 90 days? There is a YouTube video for that. And training geeks can focus on the fun stuff: strategic and advisory services that help leaders do great things.

While HR technology doesn’t solve world hunger or encourage the rains to fall in Africa, it can make your job a little easier. Whether it’s transforming the candidate experience or helping your small business find big talent, technology can help you work effectively and efficiently as a talent advisor.

Are you ready to embrace new HR technologies and change the very nature of HR? How has tech made your job easier? Leave me a comment below! 

Throughout the month of September, our resident talent advisors are focused on offering tactical advice to human capital management professionals do their jobs smarter. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions to help take your professional game to the next level.

Why Talent Advisors Must Be Curious Observers of HR Technology

January 9th, 2015 Comments off
Why talent advisors must be curious about HR tech

In the constant flurry of information that one faces on a daily basis as a talent advisor, it seems HR technology is the area making the most noise.

HR technology is important, and it’s a reality. When it comes to HR tech, what knowledge is truly needed in a talent advisor role?

In my current position, the needs of my role don’t always fit the software platforms out there. My role covers multiple locations and I work with a variable, part-time workforce. We don’t quite have the scale to take on larger HR technology platforms — plus, we really need to have things that are more customized than what is normally available on the market.

It doesn’t mean I shy away from HR technology, even though there are challenges with my current workforce structure: In fact, far from it. HR professionals tend to avoid what they don’t understand if things don’t fit easily. As a talent advisor, I have an obligation to see how the various systems can, or can’t, fit what I do. If there is a technology that can make our company better, I need to see how it can work versus throwing up my arms and saying, “Well, that won’t work!”

Being a talent advisor isn’t a passive role. As we head into 2015, I’d like to encourage you to be a curious observer of HR technology. Curiosity is a characteristic that is necessary for talent advisors. To be able to peek, poke, and experiment gives you more context around what HR tech has to offer because you are taking the time to understand what various systems bring to the table.

It is up to you as an integrated business professional to make a recommendation to your company as to whether HR technology is a good investment or not. The key thing to remember is that you are making a business decision when you add HR technology to your company. You shouldn’t just be purchasing the next set of bells and whistles because the marketing pitch was attractive.

I would also encourage you to think about technology outside of your personal role. If you consider and review the technology your employees use to make their jobs better, you are even more integrated.

Remember, we have a chance to develop talented employees in our organizations, rather than simply making sure they have a great hiring and onboarding experience. Technology that develops an employee’s strengths only makes them a more valued asset of your organization.

So, I am keeping my eyes open as to what HR technology will continue to offer our profession and our broader organizations. I am sure that I will find some vendors who will be interesting, and I’ll make sure to meet with them to see how they can make our company more successful.

Curiosity leads to intrigue, and intrigue leads to decisions. This year, be curious!


Throughout the month of January, the Talent Advisor Portal will feature HR leaders who will help you win the war for talent by interpreting technology trends, breaking stereotypes and rethinking your approach to technology. Check out our first posts of the month, “Win the War for Talent With Technology” and “Job Seekers Are From Mars, Recruiters From Venus.”