HR Tech Conference Roundup

Nolan Gray Corporate Recruiting, Market Trends, Staffing

The HR Technology Conference ended today in Las Vegas, and it was an event full of insights and revelations for many in the talent acquisition space.

Several blog posts and plenty of Twitter activity sprang from the conference. Everyone wanted to outline what they learned and what trends are emerging in the HR tech industry. Though the conference only ended very recently, there's plenty of material about what happened in Las Vegas. Here are a few key insights attendees have pinpointed:

Machine Learning is In
Jessica Miller-Merrell, writing in Blogging4Jobs, heard "machine learning" come up repeatedly at the conference. Many companies are adding machine learning features to existing products to personalize and focus the user experience. Machine learning is what it sounds like, to the uninitiated: interacting with a program over time will teach it what you need and the kind of tips you could use. The program can then make recommendations for processes and tips that save time. This ranges from extremely complex to comparatively simple, and focuses on making the act of using HR technology more intuitive and easier.

Data and Analytics in the Workplace
On the second day of the conference, there was a session on how data and analyzing it will change the future of work, called "Workforce 2020." IBM curated a Twitter story of the session, and picked out certain highlights from it. These included the quotation "It's not just how much data you collect; it's how you act on it," from David Gergen, who moderated the session. There were also insights from Dr. John Boudreau, who compared data-enabled HR processes to chess, and Steven Rice of Juniper Networks, who said "Data will set you free."

Clearly, there's a lot of excitement around data in the workplace. There were also calls to gather and analyze data for the sake of better leadership, rather than just to collect it.

Other attendees noted how important it is to look for the right data. Jessica Miller-Merrell on Blogging4Jobs wrote "we must think and act like our peers do in sales, finance and operations," meaning information needs to be an integral part of HR operations. In a similar vein, Meghan M. Biro wrote "HR departments and organizations need to think carefully about the metrics that matter to their companies."

Tech Newcomers Abound
Miller-Merrell also noted a lot of companies are coming into the HR tech space from outside of the industry. Their products and services have already been successful elsewhere, and they are trying to bring the best of those offerings to HR. She said many companies seem not to understand the HR industry, or the HR buyer – and she also said it was hard to explain just how important influence is to a culture of trust in the industry. Recruiting leaders may want to keep that in mind as they interact with new vendors.

Overall, HR Tech Conference this year was both productive and fun, bringing people from across the industry to sit and talk about the future of technology in creating better workplaces.

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