2017 HR Technology Conference & Exposition Recap

Blog post
HR Tech 2017 is now in the history books. We thought it would be helpful to share our take aways from the Annual HR Tech Conference. This event is attended by every major provider in the industry and is the go-to place to learn about up-and-coming start-ups. We sent our team to gather as much information as possible about new and existing applications, industry trends and best practices. Here are our team’s big takeaways which we have organized around three themes:
  • Industry growth
  • Digital transformation
  • Artificial intelligence
Industry Growth
  • Over $5.5 billion have been invested in HR tech start-ups since 2014! There has been more money invested in HR technology in the past three years than in the previous 20 years combined.
  • An ex-senior VP of Google reviewed the six steps for creating a team and organizational innovation:
  1.  Connect people with a mission that matters.
  2. Tap into and interdict motivators; team, pride, autonomy.
  3. Reduce fear and increase psychological safety.
  4. Build portfolio of moon shots and roof shots.
  5. Know your enemy (and it’s not in this room).
  6. Be lucky and encourage casual collisions.
  • The much-awaited 20th edition of Sierra Cedar HR Systems survey was launched and some quick highlights are:
    • 40% increase in Cloud adoption.
    • 5% increase in overall HCM satisfaction.
    • Increased movers want more customizable and better service.
    • Biggest growth areas include talent management, recruiting analytics.
  • The mid-market is driving HR technology (defined here as less than 5,000 employees). HRWINS debuted its 2018 Future of HR Technology Report which revealed some interesting insights about the new market:
    • The new market is on the rise. This is where employment happens in the U.S.
    • Mid-market businesses are adopting HR technology at accelerated rates--significantly impacting the direction of HR technology innovation.
    • More than 50% of mid-market is considering a change in payroll systems this year.
    • The biggest mid-market challenges are in integration and ease of use.
Digital Transformation
  • “86% of companies say their organization’s structure is getting in the way of their digital transformation”, “65% of people view technological disruption as an opportunity rather than a threat”. Priorities to focus in on digital transformation:
  1. Foundation and data—You can’t build on an unstable foundation.
  2. Work force experience—Focus on how it will make them feel.
  3. Automation versus digitalization—Stop thinking linear.
  4. Reskilling of HR—New skills might be required in your current team.
  • Important concept of digital transformation is that HR technology isn’t a destination, but is “intravenous” to the work force and should be running through the veins of all organizations, influencing every process. In short, these are not tools for HR, but tools for your employees. However, the true value of HR technology isn’t revealed without first having a vision. Employers must set goals to see valuable returns.
  • Some comments that were heard relating to people and changed management that we found insightful:
    • “HR transformation requires changed management.”
    • “You have to create your vision for transformation and sell it for success.”
    • “Unlock the power of your people.”
    • “Technology is the enabler of strategy.”
    • “The difference between a company being okay and being awesome is its people.”
    • “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”
    • “Work force technology—it’s no longer software for HR—it’s for employees.”
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is taking the HR technology world by storm. In their latest systems upgrades, SAP SuccessFactors, ADP, Workday, Ceridian and Oracle all showed hallmarks of AI.
  • Although sales of AI tools are brisk, currently there is no fully-realized AI system available. AI needs time to learn and adapt just as we do. If you’re buying AI, make sure you are really buying AI and not complex analytics.
With all of the changes recently in the area of HR Technology, we encourage all of our clients who have not reviewed their marketplace, pricing or new enhancements in the last two years to get in touch with our Director of HR Technology, John Tunney, to review their situation. A brief phone call could help you determine if any opportunities exist that are not being leveraged.