2016 HR Technology Conference Themes #HRTechConf

The 2016 HR Technology Conference is in the books!  I’ve said this a number of times, but it’s my favorite conference of the year. I love the interaction between attendees and all the great technology vendors at the conference, the energy is unlike any other conference on the planet.

Each year there are major themes that come out of HR Tech. Many we know even going in. We knew this year would be the year of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. You could not talk to a vendor that didn’t have some take on this. The problem is still what everyday HR and TA leaders believe A.I. is, is not what you’re being sold.

Here are the themes I took away from HR Tech 2016:

1. Confusion by the buyer is at an all-time high and getting worse. This is going to be a problem for vendors and most don’t get it. The main point of confusion is that so many of the technologies are now overlapping each other and claiming to do what the other does, but it’s usually to a lesser degree. The buyer is the one having to try to figure this out, and they can’t. That usually turns into a “no buy”.

2. A Talent Acquisition Tech Stack is starting to emerge and the HR Tech Stack (HRIS core providers) folks are trying to stop this from happening by offering up their own watered-down, vanilla version of what you really need.  The reality is today, HRIS providers don’t offer up the same level of TA technology that you can get from TA-specific tech vendors. What I haven’t seen yet is the TA Tech vendor community providing a model of what that TA Tech stack looks like – the first one to do that effectively will have a huge advantage in positioning.

3. Conferences, not just HR Tech, have a real problem that needs to be addressed and it doesn’t seem to me like anyone cares. Sessions are lightly attended. This has been a criticism of HR Tech in the past, but I think the HR Tech team addressed it by providing really strong content. The sessions I attended were really good, but not seen by most people. This is a problem because practitioners won’t keep coming if they think they’re going to sit in a mostly empty room. They want to feel the same energy as those folks on the expo floor, which happens when you have full session rooms.  Right now conference organizers don’t view this as a problem because vendors are falling over themselves to shell out more and more money to attend and sponsor. That bubble will eventually burst.

4. HR and TA Leaders still have this belief that you must have one system talking to each other at the enterprise level.  I heard more and more examples of this belief getting blown up and enterprise-level organizations starting to use the latest greatest HR and TA Saas-based software on the market. I don’t need by TA stack and HR stack connected for it to be great. Onboading can be my bridge point and any good BI software will pull the data I need from both.

5. If you are a CHRO of an organization that has 5000+ employees and you don’t have HR Data pros on your team, you’re losing out to your peer group and you have no idea why. Do yourself a favor and take a deep dive into this side of HR. Organizations are transforming themselves because of what their HR and TA data is telling them, and those not utilizing this information are falling behind fast.

Next year HR Tech 2017 will be back in Las Vegas for a three run.  If you haven’t ever gone to the HR Technology Conference and you’re an HR and/or TA Tech geek, it’s a must attend conference.  You can spend three straight days on the expo floor and not come close to seeing all the tech that’s available, and there are tons of great sessions as well.

5 thoughts on “2016 HR Technology Conference Themes #HRTechConf

    • I think you have to look at any and every piece of technology you use along that candidate life cycle. The ATS and CRM are core for sure. But there are so many things to add on for pre-apply, post interview, sourcing, etc. I would bet the normal TA Tech Stack probably has anywhere from 7 to 20 pieces of technology when you really dig into the full stack based on the complexity of your shop.

  1. So I’ve been outed on Twitter as a fan. This blog shows why. One quibble: I went to lots of sessions that were SRO. Not requiring formal pre-registration means organizers can’t fulfill the #1 dictum of PR: always make the room a little smaller than the expected crowd. It really is a matter of perception.

    • My life could not be better that publicly Bill Kutik just said he’s a fan of mine! Drop mic. Leave profession.

      Bill – to your point, you probably hit more sessions that I did and I have been in some sessions that were fairly full. Like I said, I do think you guys have ramped up the level of content each year I’ve attended and it’s at a really high level right now, better than almost any other conference I attend.


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