Okay, I’ll admit it: I began a career in recruitment marketing two decades ago and this week marks my first trip to HR Tech. Granted, the roles I held prior to joining the GR8 People marketing team focused on workforce research and employer brand strategy. And while the work wasn’t technically technical, it did require understanding the effects of technology—both good and bad—on the experiences of job seekers and employees, as well as those charged with managing an organization’s talent practices.
So, to say that I’m looking forward to every aspect of HR Tech is an understatement. First up, I get to see my smart, dedicated and fun GR8 People colleagues and attend our HR Tech Talk with Teradata, which explores how its talent acquisition team took a strategic approach to using AI to improve talent sourcing. But I’m also excited to attend the conference keynotes and breakout sessions for my ongoing education and to better gauge the concerns that are top of mind among HR leaders at what’s clearly a critical juncture for the talent acquisition and management profession.
12 HR Tech Session Tracks and 100+ Sessions = Serious Learning Potential
If there was ever a time to clone myself, this is it. Determining which breakout sessions to attend is no small feat, given the breadth of relevant topics and industry experts. From the theoretical (visions of our future workforce) and the groundbreaking (how organizations are saving millions of dollars thanks to big data) to the practical (the nuts and bolts of tech implementations), the 2019 agenda promises to be thought-provoking while delivering highly actionable takeaways based on the experiences of HR and talent management practitioners.
Breakout sessions offer the opportunity to hear firsthand how leaders are grappling with a rapidly changing workforce alongside the need to dramatically transform the HR function in response to the availability of massive amounts of data and the technology that promises to make sense of it all. These kinds of insights are gleaned mainly through conversations with fellow attendees and by listening for the recurring themes that emerge through the questions posed to speakers during their sessions. Among the perspectives I hope to better understand by attending HR Tech:
• Are HR leaders, even those eager to purchase AI-driven applications to improve talent outcomes, truly ready to get the most out of the technology? Many of the studies conducted over the past year by global management consulting firms indicate that few leaders feel prepared to manage digital transformation within their organizations. Even fewer know where to begin and how to properly assess available technologies. This is a valid concern because it’s the organizations that take a disciplined approach to assessing HR tech solutions, including auditing their AI and automation readiness, that are far better positioned for long-term success.
• How are HR priorities most likely to shift as we head into 2020 and beyond? There’s been significant buzz around technology to improve candidate sourcing and matching, as well as assessment and performance management. But as even more of our time-consuming, task-based work is absorbed by robots—freeing us up to think critically and creatively about our work—what will it mean for how we attract, engage and retain talent? It’s likely that greater emphasis will be placed on organizational network analysis (ONA), however, accurately predicting the forces, many of which are beyond our control or nearly impossible to anticipate, that will shape tomorrow’s priorities remains a challenge.
• Will the HR tech landscape be driven by point solutions, full platform providers or the mix that we have today? New players have entered the HR tech market at a dizzying rate, opting to focus on an extremely narrow aspect of HR such as video-based interview assessments or financial wellness apps for employees. The drawback of highly specialized point systems is that they must be layered over an existing enterprise software system—a prospect that Chris Cella, GR8 People’s vice president of product, cautions can come with data integrity and integration maintenance headaches, as well as additional recurring costs. Given this, it’s conceivable that organizations will derive greater value by adopting talent platforms that offer cutting-edge, AI-driven applications natively.
It’s a big agenda, and my job is to absorb as much as possible while I’m there. One thing I am certain of is the experience will foster new ideas, new ways of approaching the subjects that are important to our customers, and new connections with—what still matters the most—people.