We’re back from a terrific HR Technology conference which took place October 4-7 in Chicago. Congratulations to the team at HR Executive. For those who have been involved in HR technology over the years, it is exciting to see how much the show has grown and how the caliber of the sessions and the expo builds each year.

Show organizer and HR tech guru Steve Boese said in the opening session, there has never been a more exciting time for HR technology and the level of innovation is unprecedented. According to the 19th annual Sierra-Cedar 2016–2017 HR Systems Survey White Paper, which was released at the show:

  • 42% of organizations plan to increase their spending on HR technology
  • 20% expect to change one of their major systems in the next year
  • 20% plan to focus on improvements in recruiting process improvements

Here are some other interesting themes that we picked up from leaders who presented:

The Network Effect

The conference kicked off with a session by Barry Libert, author of “The Network Imperative” who shared how digital networks are transforming business today (think Uber, Amazon, and Airbnb) and how HR is at the epicenter of that digital transformation as more organizations update their their business processes.

Another interesting theme heard from a number of speakers is how technology provides more transparency into corporate cultures, and even is helping “humanize” organizations. People analytics can provide a “fitbit” type manager’s dashboard helps keep employees connected. And, technology such as internal social networks provide faster and better feedback connections to leadership that amplify employee issues for resolution much faster than would have occurred just a few years ago.

People Data Drives Decision-making

In other sessions, HR executives discussed how talent leaders can provide more value strategic value, using data that can show ROI that links back to revenue. HR leaders are challenged to identify the right metrics and data that is truly predictive. Understanding the successful profiles of top performers is especially changing, as more fluid workforce models (global, remote-based, and more decentralized) demand new skills and capabilities for the workforce of tomorrow – especially for managers.

HR and Marketing Get Closer

“Last year, I spent more time with the head of marketing than ever before,” said one HR leader participating on a panel. In addition to working with marketing to align branding and social activities, HR is taking more advice on its digital initiatives. For example, one talent leader described how important it is to measure use tools to measure your corporate brand and your career website bounces (those who visit your page but drop off without taking any action) and to ensure your website career site is engaging, “sticky” and easy to use.

Of course, SkillSurvey was there as an exhibitor. We’re proud to play our role in reshaping the hiring process as we consider the how digital reference checking, through our solution, Pre-Hire 360, can quickly provide feedback from a greater number references of that is far more detailed and job specific than manual methods.

It’s also interesting to think about the concept that technology humanizes and helps to bring people together. Our clients soon learn that by alleviating the hassles of phone call chasing, voicemails and note-taking, online reference checking provides faster, richer information that helps recruiters have better conversations with potential candidates. Check out our video to see how it works.

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