HR Innovation Should Keep us All In Business: #TChat Recap

“Gadgets be gone.”

Ah, no truer words have ever been spoken. That was one of my lighter “tweetable” sentiments from yesterday’s HRO Today Forum analyst panel where we discussed the process of innovation between HR technology suppliers and practitioner buyers, and more specifically the lack thereof. A recent HRO Today survey of over 100 buyers and providers of HR technology revealed quite a disparity, more so than I would’ve guessed.

The analyst panel was a great group that included Madeline Laurano, Talent Systems Analyst of The Newman Group; Mark McMillan, co-founder of Talent Function Group; Katherine Jones, Principal Analyst of Bersin & Associates; Jayson Saba, Senior Research Associate of Aberdeen Group; and myself. Look for collaborative content to come from this group and HRO Today about the state of innovation in HR technology.

The survey itself revealed that while providers for the most part feel they are highly innovative, the practitioners disagree. This is contradictory of where many vendors are with their customer service and user adoption, because time and again late vendors will tell you that besides customer advisory councils, focus groups and user group gatherings, some SaaS deployed products have created the “sandbox” approach.

This is where customers can play with features and enhancements before they’re live. They’ve also created online care/idea centers where customers can suggest, vent and collaborate. However, the democratization of customer product development hasn’t quite closed the gap yet.

My fellow analysts and I agreed that innovation must be something new, or a re-imagining, of how technology can drive efficiencies in HR/recruitment processes and activities as well as contribute to overall business growth. It must take into consideration the how and why of the workplace today — the best practices in acquiring, empowering and retaining talent. It can’t be a gadget for gadget’s sake just so the vendor can say, “Hey, you can log in to our system on your smart phones now.”

“To do what exactly?”

“To do…cool stuff. You know.”

“No, I don’t. Can I download your system information to a spreadsheet?”

“Why would you want to do that when you’ve got our perfectly good system to work within?”

“To do…cool stuff. You know.”

Maybe you’ve heard some of that kind of conversation. But, HR practitioners need to also better educate themselves on the use of technology in the workplace and even take business “tours of duty” in finance, operations, IT, customer service and more to understand what it means to run and grow a business, not just keep it in compliance and be risk-averse.

We posed similar survey questions to #TChat-land last night (questions below), and there was a resounding agreement on one thing:

Tech and innovation is great to a point, as long as it helps to humanize acquiring, empowering and retaining the workforce.

And keep us all in business.

Read Meghan’s great preview here as well as the questions from last night:

  • Q1: How important is technology innovation in acquiring, empowering and retaining a workforce today?
  • Q2: Are HR and recruitment technology providers truly “innovative” today? Why or why not?
  • Q3: Are HR and recruitment practitioners truly “innovative” today? Why or why not?
  • Q4: How have technology innovations impacted end users’ experiences? Using it or not?
  • Q5:How do you use technology to support business strategies and objectives?
  • Q6: Do HR and recruitment technology innovations support the work, or are they just gadgets? Why?
  • Q7: What can practitioners and providers do to facilitate and improve technology innovation?
  • Q8: In summary, what do you think it means to be innovative in the HR and recruiting business today?

Thank you all who participated last night! We’re taking an extended Memorial Day weekend break from #TChat next week, but we’ll resume on Tuesday, June 7

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