New, Intelligent Technologies Unveiled at HR Tech

By Aliah D. Wright Oct 20, 2015
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LAS VEGAS—Tuesday found thousands of attendees at Human Resource Executives 18th Annual HR Technology Conference & Exposition rushing to and from some 60 sessions, the expo hall and availing themselves to two mega-sessions: Awesome New Technologies where companies ADP, Korn Ferry, Oracle, SAP Workday, and Visier unveiled new solutions and then later in the day, the first ever HR Tech Hackathon. That's where ADP, Cornerstone OnDemand, Jibe, Salesforce, SAPandUltimate Software were given 48 hours to design, build and then demonstrate live on stage brand-new solutions that addressed real HR and business challenges.

The companies demonstrated tools in talent acquisition, employee engagement; a personalization platform for companies' career sites; an ideation platform; a platform to define and improve employee culture; and a mobile app that allows passive candidates to look for jobs. Audience members voted in real-time on the winner: Jibe for its career site personalization platform.

Are Personalized HR Systems on the Horizon

Yes, say the folks from SAP, a leader in cloud-based human resources software.

“People who walk into work on Monday mornings want the business systems they use to behave like the consumer systems they used over the weekend,” SAP’s Group Vice President David Ludlow told SHRM Online in an interview at the conference. His company unveiled Intelligent Services two months ago. It turns "HR self-service on its head" by using the same personalization users find on Netflix and Amazon in their HR self-service actions.

For example, a person going on an unexpected leave of absence who has signed up for professional development might go into Intelligent Services and be prompted to cancel that course. They may then be prompted to touch payroll systems or benefit systems.

"So when the employee initiates an event, such as a leave of absence he or she is guided through all of the transactions necessary before leaving," he said.

"We can also take the next step--think of the experience like on Amazon and Netflix--once I've done something [the site] can track my behavior or the things I've done and it can turn it around for other people to leverage as well. So if someone else is searching for something in the platform, the system will say, 'well other people looked at this.' It can leverage the experience of other people and turn that into suggestions for other employees.

The conference ends tomorrow afternoon after an early morning closing keynote address by James Whitehurt, president and CEO of open source tech company Red Hat and the debut of the 18th Annual Sierra-Cedar HR Systems Survey as well as a few additional sessions.

Aliah D. Wright is an online editor/manager for SHRM. You can follow SHRMs coverage of the HR Technology Conference at and via Twitter @1SHRMScribe. The hashtag for the conference is #HRTechConf.

2015 HR Technology Conference Blog Day Two:

LAS VEGAS—If you want to know what the future of HR technology looks like, watch your kid play any Xbox game, Marcus Buckingham of The Marcus Buckingham Company said as he opened the second day of Human Resource Executive's 18th Annual HR Technology Conference & Exposition here.

He said the ways in which gamers (including his 14-year-old son) spend their time asking and considering the strengths of the characters they're deploying in video games is exactly what HR should do when it comes to employee engagement. He said those gamers are asking how their characters are doing and feeling. HR, too, should consider the strengths of their employees. Inquiring how they're doing and how they are feeling are the kinds of things HR should be considering when evaluating their employees, he said.

His sentiments were also echoed Monday during a session on social recognition titled How Novo Nordisk Uses Social Media to Drive Employee Recognition and Well-being.

People want to bring their whole selves to work, conference attendees were told during the session.

Why is this important? Asked Henry Albrecht, CEO of Washington state-based Limeade, an employee wellness firm that partnered with employee recognition specialists Achievers, located in San Francisco. When people feel you care about their well being they are more engaged and more engaged at work, Albrecht said.

In a session titled Mobile HR Technology: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Bryon Abramaowitz, director of PwC said that technological advances including making workplace applications more accessible on mobile devicesis not necessarily about millennials [who are] the next generation of workers. Internet access, mobile computing, is something they've had their entire lives. As they come into the workforce the expectations they bring are radically different from the workforce of yesterday.

Abramaowitz presided over a panel of experts from PwC, Texas Mutual Instance Company, and Club Corp. who discussed moving their employees to using their mobile devices to access core HR systems and other work-related documents.

Other sessions at the conference are broken down among 10 different tracks, including Core HR and Workforce Management; Customer Success; HR Executive: Ideas and Innovators; Learning and Development; Recruiting; Talent Management; Technical Insight; Total Rewards, and Workforce Analytics and Planning.

Last year, more than 4,000 attendees converged on Las Vegas for the conference. Conference totals are not yet available, but conference co-chair Steve Boese told attendees Monday morning that more than 340 exhibitors were in the expo hall and 150 speakers were on hand for nearly 60 sessions.

Most of those in attendance were HR directors or senior directors; senior executives, and those in the HRIT field. Sixty-one percent of those here are attending for the first time.

2015 HR Technology Conference Blog Day One

LAS VEGAS—Human Resource Executive's 18th Annual HR Technology Conference & Exposition kicked off with four pre-conference sessions Sunday, Oct. 18. During the first session, titled Workplace, Wearables and Workout Wednesday, Marci Cooper, manager of Employee Wellness at Indiana University Health, a not-for-profit, academic medical health center and Heather Kennedy, director of Customer Success at Fitbit Wellness discussed how companies can incorporate Fitbit challenges among staff, family and friends to improve employee wellness and to cut health care costs.

Meanwhile, during a session on how to Infuse Analytics Into Every Talent Decision, executives from IBM and the Research Director for Aberdeen Group's Human Capital Management Practice Michael Moon shared ways in which recruiters should use analytics to study how their employees work and how they attract talent. They should take that information and use marketing techniques to improve the quality of hires and make them stay longer.

It really is a candidates world now, said Dyke DeBrie, IBMs executive director of Talent Acquisition and Learn Offerings at IBM. The panel said companies should market jobs to candidates who are expecting the same types of customer experiences with recruiters and companies that they get in their lives everyday. They also suggested HR use analytics to understand how candidates engage with companies in order to make better quality hires. Moon said, for example, that 77 percent of candidates think less of companies that dont respond to them after theyve applied for jobs. They must understand, too, that some candidates are researching companies before they submit an application.

You can become aware of a job in thousands of different ways through social media, job ads, job boards, but the research has gotten more complicated, DeBrie said, citing a CareerBuilder survey that said candidates on average are searching 18 different points of data before applying for a job.

The first day wrapped up with a general session Sunday afternoon by introducing six new startups for HR.

They included:

  • Bridge US, whose technology streamlines the immigration process by eliminating paperwork.
  • Great Hires, a candidate experience platform that prepares both candidates and interviewers for onsite job interviews.
  • Kanjoya. It offers pulse surveys to improve employeeengagement.
  • One Model. It aims to collect HR data from disparate systems that track applicants, succession planning, payroll, etc.) and quickly put it all in one place.
  • OrgVue. It is a workforce planning toolbox that uses relational and graph-based databases, data visualization and software-as-a-service (SAAS) to help users manipulate data and implement graphic visualization tools.
  • The Marcus Buckingham Company unveiled Standout. It delivers tools, not for HR, but for team leaders to help them improve employee engagement and performance through education, coaching and training.

The first full day of sessions begins Monday, Oct. 19.

Aliah D. Wright is an online editor/manager for SHRM. You can follow SHRMs coverage of the HR Technology Conference at and via Twitter @1SHRMScribe and Periscope @aliahwrites. The hashtag for the conference is #HRTechConf.

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