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A Look Back On The HR Tech Conference And Expo

A look back on the HR Tech Conference and Expo

The HR Technology Conference and Expo is a big show. We’re talking thousands of attendees and over 450 different technology vendors represented in the marketplace. If you’re looking to explore technology solutions to address your HR challenges it’s a great show to attend. If you couldn’t make it I wanted to share three interesting trends from the time I spent in the sessions and walking the trade show floor.

HR is like a “hurricane” – Growing and swirling (or changing) rapidly

Be on the look-out for a new report from Josh Bersin in the coming months as a “definitive” guide to what’s going on in HR and HR Tech. He lead a great session previewing the results.

Josh touted the days of HR being viewed as a cost center are over. With the talent shortages that exist in markets like the US and UK HR plays a key role in an organization’s most valuable assets – talent. To that end HR technologies will shift towards focussing on productivity and employee experience, with engagement a result of building great organizations and environments for employees to work (with items like proper career pathing and development).


The “Future” of Work

Another popular topic at the show was the future of work. In the one session titled “Navigating the Future of Work” three macro trends were identified impacting how organizations operate and the work employees do at them. They are: the power of the individual, expectations that business need to fill a widening leadership/skill gap, and technology change. Today 86% of millennials feel that business success should be measured by more than just financial performance (such as items like charitability, quality of life provided for EE and being socially and environmentally responsible). In addition people are increasingly placing more trust in businesses vs governments to solve problems (averaging 52% trust in business vs 43% in government). Lastly 87% of c-level executives say that digital revolution will lead to more equality, more stability and, more than govt, the ability to influence the future.

What does this mean for future of work? Expect to see an augmented workforce with greater number of talent options: contractors, freelancers, EEs, crowds, robots etc. Companies will need to help talent facilitate these transitions keeping in mind three dimensions in a changing future of work: Who (workforce), What (work), and Where (workplace).


AI is here

When you walk the tradeshow floor you undoubtedly notice many solutions for the popular HR areas: Recruiting, Capital Management, Engagement, Learning etc.. But what you’re seeing now are a lot of solutions using AI – which, just a year or two ago was a buzz word without many real applications. It’s to be determined if these solutions are using true artificial intelligence yet, or perhaps just machine learning and algorithms, but the evidence is that AI is  not going away

Josh Bersin touched on this when he previewed the results of his upcoming research report noting that 42% of companies believe AI and automation will be widely deployed fin their companies within 3-5 years, however only 3% of organizations feel ready to deal with this change. HR will play a crucial role in facilitating training (through education platforms) and redeploying talent (leveraging mobility tools).

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It’s an exciting time to be in HR. HR teams are addressing wide organizational challenges and are in a position to really impact the employee’s day to day life. If you’ve never been to the HR Tech show, I’d definitely recommend you attempt to attend. But if you can’t make it, be sure to download the research put out by the analysts like Josh Bersin to keep yourself up to date on what’s happening in the HR marketplace.

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