3 HR Tech Trends to Watch

If you work in HR, you know that the HR tech marketplace is absolutely exploding. Your inbox is probably overflowing with marketing emails from vendors that want to help you improve every part of the talent lifecycle, from sourcing to hiring to onboarding to engagement. With all of the (very exciting!) noise and activity in HR tech, which trends are worth watching? We flagged three HR tech developments we’re keeping an eye on.

Better People Analytics

“The continued evolution of HR technology is introducing more granular access to data that shapes decision-making in real time,” says Tom Hammond, vice president of corporate strategy and product management for Paychex. He cites a recent Paychex Pulse of HR Survey that found 86 percent of HR leaders said analytics allow them to be more informed and objective.

“Those who are using analytics are doing so to target HR communications more effectively (64 percent), but analytics are also often used to identify high-potential employees (61 percent) and what they’d like more of from their employer.”

When HR is integrated with technology and analytics, Hammond says, there’s also less room for manual errors and siloed data.

Employee Self-Service (ESS)

The Paychex survey also revealed that 73 percent of employees expect a high level of self-service so they can complete an assortment of HR tasks on their own, and 80 percent would prefer to use a desktop or mobile device instead of paper. However, Hammond says nearly half of business owners don’t offer a paperless self-service option for basic HR-related functions like updating an address or filling out a tax form, even though it would reduce HR’s workload and allow departments to focus on more strategic responsibilities.

“Current trends and consumer behaviors show we’re in the beginning stages of a mobile-strategy shift,” says Kevin Andrews, chief technology officer at benefits-tech company Hodges-Mace. “HR understands that, in order to keep up with employees’ fast-paced, easy-access lifestyles, employers must connect via their mobile devices.” Andrews predicts that more companies will look for mobile-accessible HR solutions as they hear increased demand from employees.

Social Collaboration Tools

Research from Gallup reveals that companies with an engaged workforce perform better, and companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147 percent. Hammond believes that integrating social collaboration tools such as chat rooms, instant messaging and video communication can help companies promote employee engagement.

“Similar to ESS mobile apps, social collaboration tools in the workplace offer a level of familiarity and resemblance to personal apps that helps engage employees from the start,” Hammond says. In private conversations or wider collaboration, social collaboration can improve internal connectivity. “For example, social collaboration allows for streamlined, personalized onboarding, offering employees access to the forms, information and people they need to start on the right foot.”

Realizing the importance of an engaged workforce, Thomas Bradbury, CEO of WorkplaceUX, also believes there will be in increase in solutions and platforms that are designed to increase employee engagement. “Businesses today want and need to keep employees connected so that the workplace is one that is mutually beneficial both to the organization (and its bottom line) as well as to employees, so that they feel valued, experience growth and have a sense of community.”

One element of employee engagement is self-determination, and HR tech will help workers take more control over their own success. “Employees feel more invested in their work and their company’s future when they have a greater sense of ownership in their success, and they see that their performance has a direct impact on the company’s overall goals and objectives,” says Rajeev Behera, founder of Reflektive. “Growth-minded companies are empowering their people with new tools to solicit and provide real-time feedback, build success recognition into the fabric of the culture and ensure that both managers and employees have the resources they need to innovate, grow and perform at their best,” Behera says.

When the Social Collaboration Magic Happens

Mercy me, my MySpace experience is one I’ll never forget. It was my first foray into social media beyond simply blogging, online groups and forums like AOL, and sharing collaboratively via email.

There I was early in 2007, in front of my computer setting up my MySpace profile. I filled it out, not sure of where exactly this online adventure would take me. I hit “publish” and waited.

Ten minutes later I received a connection request. Eagerly I read, in graphic detail, a business proposition of sorts from another woman. Yes, that. A minute later I deleted my profile not sure what the heck I had gotten myself into. So much for the magic at that point. (I’m sure it’s a different experience today.)

Before that email was my social tool of choice. I know, based on what I know and practice now, that’s practically blasphemy. I used it when journaling to family and friends during travel with my wife, collaboratively communicating with colleagues and peers on projects, and communicating real-time with whomever included all of the above.

Many of you may have had similar experiences. If so, you remember that what may have seemed foreign at first – take email for example – a tool I started using way back in the late 1980’s when I attended and worked at San Jose State University. Not only did we have email to communicate with one another campus-wide via email and intranet, we could communicate with any other campus in the state and UC system as well as many other educational institutions.

Of course, email had been used even before my experience at the university. It was also supposed to be the demise of businesses everywhere, public or private, because employees were (are) loose cannons who will share critical business information with complete strangers and competitors alike.

It didn’t thankfully. Now, many of us did (and still do) share too much erroneous and volatile information, inappropriate messages that should’ve been deleted before the send button was ever close to being hit. No, I won’t share a story here, but just know I’ve been one of the many.

What it did do – including the email, the Internet, online forums and more – was increase productivity, innovation and the speed of positive business outcomes. There are smarter academics, entrepreneurs and captains of industry than me who can attest to that. All of these tools and activities had to be adopted and sustained over time in order to bring so much good to fruition, not only by leadership, but also by nearly every single individual contributor inside the organization.

Blogging was my second social activity of choice at the time. I also joined LinkedIn, but after setting up my initial profile and connecting for a handful of others I knew, I didn’t do anything with it (which has changed dramatically for me since). And then I joined Twitter and tweeted out: I’m setting up my Twitter account and have no idea what to do next. After that I joined Facebook where my early social sharing adoption took hold with immediate family and friends.

In 2010 is when Meghan M. Biro and I co-founded the TalentCulture #TChat Show on Twitter (and now have expanded beyond that into multiple online social channels and now includes audio and video), and look where that’s gotten us – a growing highly collaborative community of thousands of HR, recruiting and business professionals who network, learn, share, innovate and engage online with one another every single day around the greater theme of empowering a better workforce and workplace one day at a time.

However, all this adoption has been primarily on external social networks. Plus, the way in which people access the Internet has been transformed in recent years as more people use mobile devices to go online practically anywhere today. There are now 5.2 billion mobile devices in use across the world, compared to only 789 million laptops and 743 million desktop PCs. And according to Aragon Research, by the end of 2015, 85% of businesses will have defined some form of bring your own technology to work.

What about social media and networking inside organizations? With rare exception, it’s been tough enough to get traction with any new social network today, but it’s been even harder to get it internally. Or at least, what’s been difficult has started to finally be embraced with limited open arms.

Many HR technology software providers have embedded the power of social collaboration into their talent acquisition and talent management software (including my own PeopleFluent), so that from the point of being courted by a company, to then being hired, onboarded and beyond, companies can better enable workforce collaboration and communication and amplify their people and the value each brings.

The McKinsey Global Institute has estimated productivity improves by 20-25% in organizations with connected employees, and the potential for revenue amounts to $1.3 trillion per year. Also according to McKinsey, a remarkable 83 percent of respondents say their companies are using at least one social technology, and 65 percent say employees at their companies access at least one tool on a mobile device.

Given the focus on engagement and some other key internal communications trends, communicators will take a more active role in promoting the adoption of internal social media, which will require a strategic change management initiative to move away from email that still dominates the enterprise today (thank goodness). It must be a cultural adoption throughout an organization, practiced by business leadership but fully embraced by everyone else.

According to Social Media Sites within the Workplace by Prof. Hope Koch, PhD of Baylor University, employees had a greater sense of well-being and organizational commitment and better employee engagement when participating on internal social sites.

But this kind of organizational change means understanding how your current level of employee engagement impacts the ultimate adoption and continued usage of any social software, something that the principal of Holtz Communication + Technology Shel Holtz emphasized on the TalentCulture #TChat Show.

Ultimately what business leaders should invest in is social collaboration software. Besides the improvements and possible return outlined above, it might also be used as an “early warning” system to improve overall risk management. Remember, social networks can be a giant public sieve for inadvertently sharing proprietary corporate secrets and inappropriate employee behavior. Most of us do a pretty good job of not sharing that much, but when emotions flare for whatever reason, transparency isn’t usually one for restraint.

Lastly, according to The Social Workplace Trust Study, when employees are empowered to communication openly internally as well as externally with others, and to engage regularly across social networks, employees evidence greater loyalty to and trust of their employers, have more pride in their work, and feel that they can make a difference at work.

Here’s my proposition (and I promise it won’t make you squirm): when we can network, learn, share, innovate, engage, even play with one another every single day, both inside and out of our “motherships,” that’s when the social collaboration magic happens and we can all empower a better workforce and workplace one day at a time.

About the Author: Kevin W. Grossman co-founded and co-hosts the highly popular weekly TalentCulture #TChat Show with Meghan M. Biro. He’s also currently the Product Marketing Director for Total Talent Acquisition products at PeopleFluent.

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#TChat Recap: Adopting Social Software For Workforce Collaboration

There is no question about it – social software enables workforce collaboration and communication. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates productivity improves by 20-25% in organizations with connected employees, and the potential for revenue amounts to $1.3 trillion per year.

So why is it so hard to get adoption traction for internal social media and internal communication? How can enterprises today resume responsibility for communication happening among employees and even encourage it?

This week’s #TChat guests: Shel Holtz, Principal of Holtz Communication + Technology and a prolific blogger and co-host of the first and longest-running communications podcast shared his insight on the adoption of social software for workforce collaboration and communication

Email has proven to be very hard to move away from as an internal communication method, and is often the only communication tool that organizations use. So what happens when employees are not given tools that provide value and can work alongside with email? They find external collaboration tools on their own.

With a lack of better options, email do provide stability in a fast-paced world where tech is constantly changing.

Organizations will need someone to be in charge of the message mission control. It is vital to be looking at the company culture and then initiate leadership mandate to initiate change. When leaders empower their employees to use social software and inform them about benefits such as an increase in efficiency, collaboration, and productivity, only then will we see the true benefits of social software.

Some enterprises are concerned with controlling the message, especially in highly regulated industries.

What would happen if instead of fearing the message, leaders would rethink the communication in their organizations based on mobility? It could encourage brand ambassadors to emerge, working collaboratively towards a common goal and strengthening the Oh-So-Important company culture.

See What The #TChat Community Said About Social Software For Workforce Collaboration:

What’s Up Next? #TChat Returns Wednesday, April 15th!

#TChat Radio Kicks Off at 7pm ET / 4pm PT — Our weekly radio show runs 30 minutes. Usually, our social community joins us on Twitter as well. Next week’s topic: Looking People in the Eye Digitally with Ted Rubin

#TChat Twitter Kicks Off at 7:30pm ET / 4:30pm PT — Our halfway point begins with our highly engaging Twitter discussion. We take a social inside look at our weekly topic. Everyone is welcome to share their social insights #TChat.

Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date!

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics through our weekly email newsletter. Signing up is just a click away!


photo credit: by timothy muza

Twitter: The Great Global Collaborator

Once upon a tweet, I was curious and a bit puzzled by the little blue bird. The social media network had a peculiar name and an even more peculiar personality.

What was once a mere chirp in the cacophony of social media channels now boasts close to 1 billion registered users.

Pretty impressive, until you find out only 30% of those registered users are active. Twitter, we have a problem.

We are in The Social Age where cloud technology, social media, and mobile are changing how we do business and live our daily lives.

We are more empowered and enabled to collaborate across time zones and cultures.

Twitter is the great global collaborator. But it will take time, knowledge, and skill to make Twitter a powerful tool for your personal and employer brand and business.

The start is the hardest part. But keep this in mind: the brightest Twitter superstars were once nebulous newbies.

My nebulous start began about one year ago. I started with a few tweets per week, followed influencers, and joined Twitter chat communities that supported my personal and professional interests. With practice, patience, and persistence, Twitter became my #1 go-to collaboration tool.

In my Twitter travels, I came across the TalentCulture #TChat community. #TChat is one of the largest and longest-running global Twitter chat communities. It was recently listed as one of the top 15 business Twitter chats.

The community’s wide arms are balanced by its ability to nurture deeper relationships and collaborations. #TChat is an inspiring example of using Twitter to grow a thriving global and collaborative community.

Building a global Twitter community, whether you’re a big brand or solopreneur, is available to anyone. In the Social Age, we have unprecedented access to connect, share, and learn.

I want to share an event dedicated to teaching you how to use Twitter in a more efficient and productive way.

The 25-hour Chirp, Chirp Extravaganza takes place February 12, from  9:00am to 10:00am ET. There will be 22 different sessions during the 25-hour event.

Global guest speakers, from superstar influencers to small business entrepreneurs, will share their stories and expertise. I am honored to be one of the speakers during this one-of-a-kind event.

If you would like to join, you can register here.

Then join us on #TChat and share your experiences with us!

About the Author: Jessica E. Roberts is the Community Manager for TalentCulture and The World of Work Community. 

photo credit: Cea. via photopin cc

#TChat Preview: The HR Technology Mic Drop

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, October 8th, 2014, from 7-8 pm ET (4-5 pm PT). The #TChat radio portion runs the first 30 minutes from 7-7:30 pm ET, followed by the #TChat Twitter chat from 7:30-8 pm ET.

Last week we talked about how to successfully work from anywhere, and this week we’re going to talk about the HR Technology mic drop.

Specifically this is our very special 2014 HR Technology Conference & Exposition show, live from fabulous Las Vegas and complete with one of the most influential influencers in the HR Technology space, Jessica Miller-Merrell. Follow the hashtag #HRTechConf to get all the daily updates on activities!

Fact is, the HR technology industry will most likely be worth nearly $10 billion (or more) in 2015. That’s the mic drop. Boom.

A lot of opportunity for HR vendors, and great news for buyers because integrated “talent engagement” software is here to stay, including recruiting, performance, compensation, succession, learning and so much more, all of which are helping improve employee engagement, productivity and driving business outcomes.

Plus, data management, social collaboration and video technologies are all still very hot. Oh, and talent analytics across the board, that’s really the big, big mic drop. Double boom.

Join TalentCulture #TChat Show co-creators and co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as we learn more about the HR Technology mic drop with this week’s guest: Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, President/CEO of Xceptional HR, author, speaker, HR professional, and workplace social media expert who has a passion for recruiting, training, and all things social media.

Related Reading:

Meghan M. Biro: Sink Or Swim: A Tidal Wave Of Tech Is Shaping HR

Didier Bonnet: Convincing Employees to Use New Technology

Trish McFarlane: Big Trends in HR Technology and Beyond

Elaine Orler:  Top Trends in Talent Acquisition Technology

Ben Nelson: Wanted: Long-Term Thinking about Technology and Education

We hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas with our guest and the TalentCulture Community.

#TChat Events: The HR Technology Mic Drop

TChatRadio_logo_020813#TChat Radio — Wed, October 8th — 7 pm ET / 4 pm PT Tune in to the #TChat Radio show with our host, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman, as they talk with our guest: Jessica Miller-Merrell.

Tune in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, October 8th — 7:30 pm ET / 4:30 pm PT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and Jessica will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What’s innovative and exciting in HR technology today? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q2: How are companies using talent analytics to drive business outcomes? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q3: What are your recommendations for HR buyers attending this year’s HR Technology conference? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!

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The Death of Traditional Talent Management

by Jeff Carr, President and CEO, PeopleFluent

As organizations increasingly grasp the true value of their workforce and view employees as important business assets rather than cogs in a wheel, conversations in boardrooms across the globe are focusing on talent acquisition, management and retention. Organizations are starting to ask questions about their workforce, such as: How can I develop an actively engaged workforce that performs above the norm? How can I find the right talent for open positions and predict if they will become disenchanted or unhappy and will begin to think about leaving? How can I connect my talent initiatives and investments to tangible business results?


What should be obvious to anyone with an HR pedigree is that traditional talent management practices are the solution of a bygone age – they are far too often obsolete and irrelevant. But with an astonishing 70 percent of the typical U.S. workforce disengaged[1], where do businesses go from here?

Our goal? Design a next-generation Talent Management system for the person, not the HR process. We want to transform day-to-day talent management processes into highly configurable and collaborative engagement experiences infused with social, video, and analytic capabilities. This is the future of talent management.The answer is to tailor and configure talent management to each employee, treating them as individuals. This radical idea was validated when we spoke to over 5,000 talent executives, and led us to develop the new PeopleFluent MirrorTM, which we invite you to discover during this week’s launch.

At PeopleFluent, we work with thousands of customers from a range of industries, including 80 percent of the Fortune 100, to hone in on what talent executives really need. We have a unique viewpoint about talent management as we understand that everyone is different – people work differently, are wired and motivated differently and are actively engaged through different means. Today’s priority for talent executives is employee engagement and to find the right talent strategy to fit the modern workforce reality or risk getting left behind by the competition.

PeopleFluent Mirror Launch Events

I invite you to join PeopleFluent this week at a number of engaging events to discuss this approach further.

Throughout the week, we’ll be hosting events that look at the future of talent management and the future of work to discuss the important topics that matter to you most.

Here is what we have planned:



Monday, April 28, 201411:00 a.m. ET live from Washington D.C.

  • This session will include a keynote from Carly Fiorina and an Expert Panel moderated by PeopleFluent CEO Jeff Carr on PeopleFluent’s Mirror Suite, benefits of deeper workforce engagement and how this impacts business outcomes. Participants include Michael Fauscette and Lisa Rowan of IDC and Carly Fiorina. Register

Tuesday, April 29, 20141:00 p.m. ET via online event

  • In this session, Elaine Orler of Talent Function will speak to the value created by PeopleFluent’s Recruiting Mirror, the importance of the candidate experience and the role of social and video in recruiting. Register

Wednesday, April 30, 20141:00 p.m. ET via online event

Thursday, May 1, 20141:00 p.m. ET via online event

Friday, May 2, 20141 p.m. via online event

  • Bryan Pena of SIA will discuss how to manage a growing contingent workforce and the value of PeopleFluent’s VMS Mirror. Register

Feel free to check out our brand new video news site at, our new corporate branding, and an overview of our new Mirror Suite for more details. We look forward to your feedback!

jeff carr
About the Author: Jeff Carr is President and CEO of PeopleFluent, a leading total workforce HCM technology company, that reduces productivity loss and improves financial results by building solutions around people instead of processes and redefining employee engagement through a single Talent Engagement Cloud.

[1] Gallup, 2014