Shine Your HR Tech Talent Torch Even Brighter

Lately there has been a lot of noise about the rapid rise of technology in HR, and its impact on the traditionally very human face of recruitment. Conjectures fill the webisphere on whether or not HR Tech will ever completely replace human-driven hiring and recruiting altogether, some are drawing such parallels between the relationship of HR to new tech as akin to that of the traditional job search to the emergence of the ole Internet itself.

But tech’s scope and speed should be no-brainers by now. Tools like automated outreach turn recruiting into a constant, global two-way street. The oft-cited LinkedIn and similar networking sites have mastered this kind of passive recruiting, enhancing a company’s visibility at the same time as they uncover possibly ideal candidates: company and brand X, meet candidate Y; candidate Y, meet company and brand X. It’s becoming enough of a norm in our world that we’ve stopped seeing this as a novel innovation, but about five minutes ago, it was.

Now, smartified candidate-tailored active recruiting is close on its heels, with new talent outreach and on boarding systems being developed that can locate prospects based on far more than a checklist of education and experience criteria. These methods are designed to be stratified and fluid, create a kind of built in “decision tree” that dovetails outreach, analytics and data with human input and decision making.

The point is: whether or not tech will ever take over HR entirely is, well, beside the point. Tech is a medium; a tool; and savvy companies need to take advantage of it to gain strategic position. A 2014 survey on HR Service Delivery and Technology. found that a third of companies plan to increase their investment in HR tech this year, which means that two-thirds of the companies surveyed may wind up in the dark.

Among the hottest areas of investment were:

  • Talent Management Services
  • Mobile Access Services
  • Cloud-based software-as-a-service systems

About That Survey

Another area of investment growth the Towers Watson study notes is in HR data and workforce analytics. With the far greater scope and reach of HR tech-generated campaigns, Old Hat has a new bang. Among the various data sources HR organizations are now mining, according to the study, are employee engagement surveys. Their effectiveness now upped exponentially with a dose of tech, those same little sleepy surveys that floated onto employees’ desk (and were tackled, unenthusiastically, during 4 pm lulls) are now powerful treasure troves of usable data.

Employee engagement surveys now provide invaluable insights that play a key role in corporate planning, according to half of the companies who surveyed their employees at least every two years. One third of respondents reported that the results of employee engagement surveys will have a substantial role in their organization’s direction and strategy. Tech has made the old new.

Dive In

There’s an endless race for talent going on in the world of work. And clearly, technology’s presence in HR and talent acquisition is not a question of when, or even if. Tech is here to facilitate HR, as we ask it to: We’d best be involved on the ground floor and making sure it facilitates our needs and goals.

HR’s role in tech, from the initial search to recruitment, from training to bringing new recruits up to speed, is what will turn the vast potential of a technology into a competitive advantage. Its effectiveness, in terms of functionality that supports an organization, is a matter of tailoring and customization. That means getting in the pool. To help shape tech to your best advantage, recruitment needs to make sure it’s involved in the process from the start.

Scott Klososky, founding partner of Future Point of View, a tech consulting firm in Edmond, Oklahoma, recently underscored this, saying that HR professionals should become more educated on technology to stay relevant and competitive. From upper management workshops on how to link up leadership and technology to frequent consults with IT and business and marketing analysts, the more closely HR can be involved, the better.

A version of this post was first published on Forbes.

7 Hottest Trends In HR Technology

Technology has been dominating the HR and Talent Management space for the past decade – with more “real serious widespread adoption” happening in the past year. Has its application plateaued? Is HR finally taking a more active role in driving user adoption? Are there more exciting developments on the way that help to recruit, retain and engage your talent? Where do things stand and where are they going? These are definitely exciting times.

Here’s My Take On The Top 7 Trends in HR Technology:

1) There Will Be A Move From Quantity To Quality. We’ve been deluged with technological advances, and many Leaders and HR departments have embraced some, or if very innovative, many of them. Only to later find out (after spending money and resources) that some are a terrible match for their organizations. I see much more selectivity in the year ahead. Instead of asking, “Is this amazing technology?”, the question will become, “Is this technology a good match for us?”

2) The Number Of So-Called Breakthrough HR Technologies Will Diminish.We’re now in the second decade of the computer revolution, which has indeed changed the way we live and work. But even something as epic as the computer reaches its limits. What we’re seeing now is a welcome emphasis on refinements of the core technologies. Beware of vendors who try and dazzle you with hype, or are selling wildly complicated products. Look for smart (and often simple) technologies that are user-friendly and deliver targeted results.

3) It’s All About Implementation. Smart people are shutting out all the clutter and asking themselves: “Is this technology going to be easy to implement and will be my employees actually adopt?” Ignore all the bells and whistles, the shiny toys and pretty graphics. In the end it’s about usage, smart data and building stronger teams. Will this product be worth the effort and expense? Deconstruct the technology down its core deliverables. The rest is just a waste of time.

4) Analytics Is The Special Sauce. Software analytics, single stack software and any tool that enables relevant data to be collected and shared between departments with ease and consistency is basically good. It allows everyone to be on the same page, speaking the same language. It’s a fantastic leadership and HR tool. We can see what’s happening – the good, the weird, the amazing and the stuff that makes us ask better questions — across the organization and respond quickly. We are now seeking numbers to back up what we say. We have the tools – let’s use them.

5) Social Media And Continuous Learning Continues To Grow In Significance. Social media is one area that has lived up to its hype. It’s an amazing talent management, branding and employee engagement tool. For example – by creating a 3-dimensional profile of an applicant (Google the person’s name-Wink), talent simply leaps out. Peoples quirks, interesting detours, offbeat skills all come to life as we learn more about people’s personalities and “real lives”. As do certain negatives like rigid ideology, or a tendency to be snarky or combative. Within an organization, social media, social learning and big data are an unparalleled communication and cohesion tool if understood and utilized correctly.

6) Real Time Talent Management Matters. Tools that allow continuous monitoring of performance are better for everyone. A formal employee review every six months is fast becoming obsolete. What is far more important is software that enables us to stay on top of things in real time. Problems are nipped in the bud and the good stuff like recognition, gamification and rewards are in place to offer more productive employee relationships that can be nurtured. No more playing catch-up. Real time monitoring gives HR and Leaders more power to do more good and weed out the people who are not a good fit. 

7) Mobile, Mobile, Mobile. There’s a new generation of talent coming up that views desktops as a relic from the past. The world is growing evermore global and mobile and HR has to be, too. To reach the right talent, you need to be mobile-friendly in design and ease of usage. HR should always go where the talent is – and these days it’s on mobile.

It’s going to be an exciting, if at times overwhelming, week, year. I’d love to know what you think of my list. We live in fascinating times for HR and Leadership and the conference is always interesting. Have a blast. Let’s keep learning and innovating together.

A version of this post was first published on

photo credit: Brain Health via photopin (license)

5 Attributes Of A World-Class Workforce

There’s a technology-driven revolution happening in HR these days. It’s called self-service and it gives employees more power over their careers. In a nutshell, self-service gives people control over many functions that used to be handled by HR. With a private log-in, employees can now manage their own payroll and retirement plans, request time-off and other schedule adjustments, book on-line courses and other learning and development tools, engage and be social with colleagues on intranets, and just generally manage their own work lives to an extent that was previously impossible. This leads to more engaged, empowered and productive teams.

Self-service is a key development in building and retaining a work-class workforce. It is a key leadership and learning tool. It is what the future looks like. And it’s here today.

But, wait! Before you walk away from your computer and start doing cartwheels down the hallways, there is a major caveat!

Self-service is no substitute for savvy hiring. It can take smart hiring to a new level, but never ever forget that hiring is the bottom line in HR and leadership. Hire wrong and all the self-service in the world will be worthless.

So, let’s do a quick refresher on the five most important attributes to look to for when building a world-class team of talent:

1) Talent. There is simply no substitute for talent. Talented people bring ideas, spontaneity, innovation, spark, and inspiration to your organization. Talent is invaluable, it is the heart and soul of a great company. Learn how to recognize talent. Hint: talent in one field is a predictor, if not a guarantee, of talent in another. Look for amazing accomplishments even if they’re not directly related to what your company produces.

2) Passion. Passion drives greatness. Passion is contagious. A passionate employee will go the extra mile – and then some. When hiring, look for people who have interesting quirks in their resumes, who are passionate about mountain climbing, Russian literature, recycling, whatever. A passionate person brings fire, heart and inspiration to your organization and culture.

3) Attitude. There is nothing as refreshing and uplifting as someone with an upbeat, kind, generous personality. They are one of the foundations of a world-class workforce. People with a positive attitude are teachable, eager to grow, develop, expand their skill set and deliver stellar performance. Plus, a can-do attitude, sense of fun and generous spirit are contagious, and lift morale and workplace happiness.

4) Aptitude. For some jobs, skills are the bottom line. IT and other complex systems demand up-to-the-nanosecond expertise. Yes, talent can be trained, but to stay ahead of the game you need a workforce infused with hands-on know-how, filled with people who are plugged into what is happening now and have their pulse on tomorrow. They must have the ability to quickly master the newest innovations. This requires aptitude and the confidence it spreads. A confidence that permeates an organization and leadership, that signals to everyone – employees in other departments, customers, social communities, and stakeholders – that you know what you’re doing.

5) Fortitude. A great company and great leadership never rests. It is never quite satisfied. It is always looking to better not only the competition, but itself. This takes a lot of good old-fashioned hard work. Hire people who are have a track record of delivering results, even it means pulling an all-nighter now and then. Look for people who love to get their hands dirty and nail down the details. You want to create that synergy between inspiration and perspiration. And hardworking people set an example that infuses energy into a workplace culture.

Hire people with these five attributes and then empower them with self-service technology – and you will soon find yourself on the way to building an ever-evolving, stellar-performing, world-class workforce.

A version of this post was first published on

 Image credit: Pixabay