November 26, 2015

11 Insights from HR Tech 2015

The HR Technology Conference is a collection of the brightest companies and minds in the HR space. 2015’s show in Las Vegas featured many people who care deeply about the past, present, and future of human resources software and best practices.

Listen below to an audio review of the show featuring presenters, attendees, and sponsors from HR Tech. Read on for the most compelling insights and quotes we heard.

Amy Rosenberg from Namely on why it’s important to keep your best employees:

“One big theme this year is the idea that your employees are your biggest asset. They may also cost you the most, but they’re worth it. You want to make sure you keep your best employees, you’re able to get them to grow within your company. That’s something every technology is trying to help companies do.”

Ivan Casanova from Jibe on the intersection of data and HR:

“The big challenge is the ability to use data proactively. A job application or people visiting your site creates tons of data. How are you going to use that data to leverage and create a great experience and figure out which candidates are the best? Companies are moving beyond driving more traffic or getting more applications.

Now they’re trying to figure out who is the right fit for the right job. ‘How can I present the right job to a candidate when they come to my career sight? How can I connect that candidate back to the recruiters if they’re the right person for the right job?’ That’s going to be an interesting area where companies go in the future.”

Michele Reed from SkillSurvey on the growing importance of quality hires:

“It’s all about finding the best candidates and getting the best people on the bus so they’re more engaged to help you grow your business. That’s what we’re all looking for. Getting the right people on your team who are passionate about what they’re doing. When you have that and are engaging with your employees, then your customers are happier, your profits are higher. All those things work hand-in-hand. For businesses, the focus is now on the quality of a hire and bringing the right people into the organization.”

Jeff Hazard from Zenefits on how deep the HR software roster has become:

“There are a lot of players. Ten years ago HR was not hot or sexy. Now people see it as ‘wait a minute, our employees are the most important asset to the company.’

If you look at what you spend, 80 percent of your cost generally goes toward your employees. If we can help companies get more out of this most important asset, that’s pretty important for them. That’s where HR is going. That’s why conferences such as HR Tech are so big.”

Laura Zifchak from PeopleDoc on the growth of HR buy-in:

“Walking around the expo hall, people are getting into more alternative technologies. I’ve even seen drones flying around. People are getting very creative. They’re trying to stand out in a crowd that’s increasingly digital. HR really has some buying power in organizations now. The budgets are opening up to HR and they’re going digital with everything. We’ve been hearing there’s no one size fits all. When choosing HR software, you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole.”

Jose Gaona from Replicon on the challenges of a multigenerational workforce:

“One of the biggest challenges is a diversified workforce. You have multiple generations working today. You need to have systems that are easy to use and that are challenging to the younger generation They don’t want some archaic system in the workplace. You also have multi-location and global workforces. It’s a real challenge. How do we get those people to enter time or capture it? You need 24/7 accessibility and a mobile device that can be used. It’s a necessity now and in the future will become even more.”

Safwan Shah from PayActiv on the theme of HR Tech 2015:

“For me, it was amazing to hear the narratives that drive the whole HCM/HR mindset. Two or three things I observed are consistent with trends we see in other industries.

One is aggregation. Companies aren’t just doing one thing like payroll. They’re doing talent management, statistics, analytics, big data, etc. Everybody is talking about a single sign-on, end to end, 360 degrees, and a single version to measure, manage, and monitor your entire HCM infrastructure.

The second theme is how technology in the HR world has been lagging. It is an industry or segment that hasn’t yet got the latest and greatest of what’s possible. That trend is changing dramatically. Because the value of the knowledge worker, the value of our understanding of what drives human productivity, all of that is increasing with better studies and data. All of that knowledge is coming into software and technology.

The third theme is mobility, mobility, mobility. Whether that’s good, bad, or terrible, you can work on your systems anywhere and anytime.”

Brett Knowles from Alliance Enterprises on the status quo in HR today:

“About 85-90 percent of booths are just about automating a manual process. How can I recruit better? How can I do better video conferencing? It’s all about process improvement. There’s nothing wrong with that, but only about 15-20 percent of booths are bringing new ideas to use technology to do stuff we could never do before. We couldn’t do this stuff without dashboards and mobile. I’ve talked to 5-6 other booths that are now bringing interesting solutions to bear.

One group of guys has a great idea. They take a look at your exchange server, see who you email, and ask those people to rate you as a fellow employee. That is interesting because it’s people that know me best because that’s who I email. The incentive is if you don’t rate me, you don’t get to see your score. I don’t know if it’s a good idea or a bad idea, but there’s a new use of technology we couldn’t have done 5-10 years ago. That’s a new way of achieving HR success using technology.”

Dan Cox, a conference attendee from a law firm in Chicago,  weighs in on what’s big right now in HR:

“The two things that have stuck out at HR Tech have been predictive analytics and integration. Vendors are putting a lot of time and effort into developing better ways to integrate with other vendors. Part of that is because predictive analytics pull from so many different data sources, if you don’t have a holistic solution, then you need something to unify solutions you are using.”

Preston Lewis from Intactic on investment in HR and the recent influx of capital:

“Like any rapid growth industry,  investors, firms, VCs, and angels are lookig to HR tech to make more money than they already have. They are chasing these investment opportunities. There are myriad survey vendors, some focused on employee engagement, others much more broad. At this point, investors have their pick of the crop, whichi s great.

Technology is only as good as a company and how they use it. If you aren’t asking the right questions or creating the right content to influence the opinions of employees then you’re missing the boat.”

Amber Hyatt from SilkRoad on retaining Millenial employees: 

“Millennial expectations are shaping where technology is going and where the modern worker will be. In 2020, we’re still going to be talking about retention. How do we retain our star employees? That comes back to everything you’re doing from a recruiting standpoint and really building on that culture. Is what you promised them while recruiting what they’re really experiencing?”

Thanks to all of these experts for their insight! Want to find out even more about our coverage from HR Tech? Our full playlist, featuring every interview listed above, is available for your listening pleasure on Soundcloud.

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