It is not the choice of technology that matters, but how well you leverage it for the culture that the company stands for
Pankaj Bansal, CEO and Co-founder, PeopleStrong, shares his experiences of the recently concluded HR Tech Conference in Chicago
Steve Jobs said that Apple was “at the intersection of technology and liberal arts”, and I thought that the story ended with Apple. What I saw and experienced at the 15th HR Tech Conference and Expo, left me pleasantly surprised. Art, people and technology amalgamated to create a show that was not only larger than life, but also relevant, showcasing the possible integrations for the entire HR ecosystem.
Picture perfect settings, with Chicago weather playing a warm host to the conference had sessions packed to the brim. The event had exhibits and attendees from dozens of countries around the world, making this one of the most exciting events in the corporate world, and not just in HR!
The Conference, a brainchild of Bill Kutik and Dace Shtoviz, is an event that defines HR conversations and aligns current flavours skillfully interwoven with the next gen thoughts. So, Bill is, rightfully enough, one of the most influential HR leaders today.
Over 4,500 people and 300 vendors came together under one roof in McCormick Place in Chicago on a subject like HR Tech. There were the usual suspects from SAP to Oracle and matching them was a TalentBin and a HireVue. Maybe, you think this is a given, but what could have explained the presence of the outsourcing companies across the spectrum at an HR technology conference? This is a big shift - you can't be at the top of your game as a HR partner if you are not leveraging and integrating with the best in technology. The most emphasizsed point was that it is not the choice of technology that matters, but how well you leverage it for the culture that the company stands for, and how the platforms facilitate the implementation of people strategy.
The mantra of all the sessions and the Expo floor was that HR is all about ASC (Analytics, Social and Cloud) - Analytics to make technology more relevant to context, Social to create effectiveness for employees, and Cloud to make it seamlessly perfect.
On the customer and buyers side, one of the interesting challenges is to integrate and have best-of-the-breed rather than have one large behemoth which is inflexible and becomes shelf-ware rather than just software.
I was bowled over with two cases of HR technology. One was a tool that trawls the Internet for everything about the person on the Internet, and then matches it to the job. There are about over fifteen networks that the tool mines to develop a profile. This is not just a CV, but really ‘big data’ about an individual that will intuitively speak much beyond what is written in the CV. Apart from blogs, Linkedin and Facebook; the tool also looks at patents, journals and professional blogs to construct a really cool profile.
Another was a new office application on Android which revolutionises the way employees work with a time clock. It is an Employee Self Service (ESS) and Manager Self Service (MSS) rolled into one for manufacturing, retail and other distributed operations for frontline employees. The highlights: It takes pictures of employees when they punch in, preventing buddy punching. Managers can send messages, videos and assign tasks to the employees when they clock in. They can also get an audit trail of employees having read and seen those messages.
It was really a fantasy land for HR. Every hour there was a new idea, a new thought, making it truly a celebration of minds, and the change that technology is driving in the way organizations function, in effect, creating value for the end-users and of course, the clients.