A big list got released yesterday and I wouldn’t be writing about it unless I’m on it, right?! Well, I might write about it if I wasn’t on it. I mean, it feels great to be recognized for something you have passion for and enjoy. Recognition at any level tends to feel good, which is why it’s so powerful.
There are so many people on the 2022 Top HR Tech Influencers that I admire and call friends including my two HR Famous podcast partners – Jessica Lee and Madeline Laurano! They both made the list. Also friends like: Steve Boese, Sarah White, Laurie Ruettimann, Jeanne Achille, Stacy Zapar, Jackye Clayton, Torin Ellis, Kyle Lagunas, George LaRocque, Trish McFarlane, Erin Spencer, Joey Price, Jason Averbook, and so many others.
What the heck is an HR Tech Influencer?
I know, personally, probably 65% of the Top 100 list. So, I can only speak about those individuals, but I’m guessing the rest of the list is fairly similar. First, they are super passionate about HR technology. We are all super nerds for this stuff and when we get together the talk gets deep into nerdy. Second, they all care about making technology and the function of HR, and all the sub-functions of HR, better.
Some do this through working as an actual practitioner in the weeds of day-to-day HR. Some do it by working on the vendor side to improve and create the next generation of technology we will come to rely on. And others work in the analyst space building a bridge between the vendor and practitioner improving the knowledge base about what we buy and why.
Every single one of these folks is a 1%er when it comes to HR Tech knowledge. Meaning, on average, they would know more about HR Tech than 99% of the other folks working in HR. They are the definition of Gladwell’s 10,000 hours. They made themselves into experts and that by itself is a pretty amazing accomplishment. Not many folks in the world could call themselves an expert at anything!
Who has the “real” juice?
Damn! That’s the million-dollar question! And I literally mean, a million dollars! Because vendors and conferences are trying to figure out who has the juice! What’s the juice? It’s that something special that a person has, through a combination of a lot of factors, where they command a large audience of potential buyers. It’s a combination of expertise, personality, access, charisma, honesty, giving back, etc. No two folks have the same factors or create the same juice.
In the HR Tech World, there is one person who has more juice than anyone at the moment. That guy is Josh Bersin. Josh is like the gallon-size bottle of juice and most of the rest of us are like the 6 oz glass of juice in comparison! That’s just a fact. I’m lucky that Josh invited me to be a faculty member in his academy, but I’m not saying this because of that. The reality is he moves the market like no one else in our space.
Vendors are always trying to figure out who has the juice. Who is going to bring buyers into the tent? Honestly, if you can’t afford Josh, it’s probably a combination of a lot of folks on that list, as well as a bunch of folks who aren’t on the list but still have juice (William Tincup, Matt Charney, Kris Dunn, Deb McGrath, Rob Kelly, Hung Lee, Guillermo Gorea, Chris Hoyt, Gerry Crispin, Erica Young, Chris Harvilla, etc.).
Juice has little to do with the social footprint, but you can’t ignore a large audience. Some folks might have a ton of juice on Twitter, but nothing on LinkedIn, or IG. No presence on Twitter, but a great following on Facebook. The key is interaction on whatever platform they are on. Like, are you really on Twitter if you tweet and no one engages?
TL;DR – There’s Josh Bersin, then there is a cliff, and then there are the rest of us at the bottom of that cliff. Also, no one wants to see their real “juice” number, it’s humbling.
Do these lists matter?
So many people will say, No. I get that. But, for the millions of HR pros out in the world, this is a great start if you are trying to educate yourself about technology within HR. So, in that vein, these lists do matter. I got into HR Tech because of a conversation I had with William Tincup seven years ago! I met him through my interactions with other influencers on the list. I became an expert in this space because of that interaction.
Because of lists, like the Top 100 HR Tech Influencers, I have people reach out to me daily with questions they have about the technology in our space. A list like this gives people an avenue to pursue and access expert opinions.
Are these lists inclusive of every voice that should be heard? Of course not, that would be impossible. It’s also super hard to get minority and young voices on these lists, based on the demographic of HR Tech nerds in general. But this list does an exceptional job at adding these voices, especially around female voices (which make up the majority of HR pros!). It’s a snapshot of a moment, and the list is ever-evolving. Also, vendors rarely make it on because of conflict of interest with selling, but some of the best minds in HR Tech are working at vendors. But they do matter to a great number of people who are trying to better their HR Tech knowledge.
Shout out to the HR Exec team, including, Elizabeth Clarke and Rebecca McKenna for putting in the work to create and edit this list. It’s a thankless task usually that only comes with criticism.