The largest HR Technology Conference in the world took place a couple of weeks ago in Las Vegas, and I attended it for my 10th year in a row! At this conference, I did 26 briefings with various HR Technology companies and judged two rounds of the Pitchfest HR Tech Startup competition! I also hit 13 cocktail parties and had my shared BFF cocktail party with Madeline Laurano and Kyle Lagunas get shutdown do to overcrowding! Welcome back to Vegas, HR Tech!!!
The big question is always: What did I learn and see?
– First, it was giant! Over 600+ vendors at the expo make it the largest ever, and I can’t even describe how incredible it is!
– The vibe? High energy! Folks were excited to be back in person, and it seemed like everyone was happy with the show and the content. Josh Bersin, once again, killed his keynote to a packed audience. I’m not sure who can fill his shoes in our space! There is really no one who pulls such a crowd like Josh. I’m positioning myself as his opening act at HR Tech Fest Asia next spring! He’s that HR Famous that he needs an opening act!
– The Pitchfest winner this year was Spotlyfe, an employee engagement platform that makes sense coming out of the pandemic, with so many more employees working remotely and hybrid and more awareness around our employee’s mental health!
– Other Pitchfest startups that I really liked also: Dalia (recruiting automation), JobSync (recruiting orchestration), and SmartRank (candidate screening). That’s the hard part of Pitchfest. 33 startups, and think about ten could have won!
– The rise of Talent Orchestration! HiredScore is the originator of this new marketing speak, to give credit where credit is due, and an amazing technology to check out! What is “talent orchestration”? Basically, it’s an invisible AI-driven technology that connects all of your recruiting technology and makes it work as it should! I spoke to some enterprise-level TA leaders who had great things to say about their experience using HiredScore.
– I was a bit surprised that I didn’t really see anyone who has figured out how to leverage technology to figure out the cultural dilemma we currently have with remote, hybrid, and on-premise workers. How do you bring all three of these segments together, effectively and efficiently, under one culture? It just shows how complex of an issue this is for HR!
– The Future of HR Technology is technology you don’t see. That is amazing and what is needed, but also a problem for marketers! “Invisible Tech” is the technology you don’t see, but it does exactly what you want it to do. Most tech is sold through a demo, and you see what you’re buying. The future tech you won’t see, but it will actually work! Hard to sell six and seven-figure deals of something you don’t see! But this is exactly how our tech should work. I want to fill job “X” and all of a sudden, candidates who are interested and match the job show up in my email or on my calendar to interview for job”X.” I don’t need to see any of that. I just need it to work!
– Apparently, vendors think the future of HR Technology is “Skills”! I’m not 100% sold we are in a skills economy. We are in a definite lack of skills economy, which puts us in need to build and develop skills. The problem is, it’s really hard to do! We have historically been really bad at building talent for our organizations. Just because you can now measure and deliver skills doesn’t necessarily make us better at building talent. But, it won’t be for lack of trying from the vendor community around HR Technology!
– My friend and HR Famous fellow podcaster, Madeline Laurano, did a session on the future of talent acquisition technology and the current landscape. She did an absolute mic drop when it came to DEI recruiting technology when she put up the slide of the vendors you should look at, and it was EMPTY! Her point is most of the DEI tech on the market is vapor. You either have great recruiting technology, or you don’t. Calling yourself DEI recruiting tech, but no one uses it for recruiting tech, is very telling! By the way, she’s right. You can either help a company recruit better, or you can’t. There’s nothing special about DEI recruiting tech that shouldn’t be built into your core recruiting technology.
– The overlap of technologies is becoming a problem. Basically, we have techs building out more and more and encroaching on each other’s turf. Great, but it’s confusing the buyer in a major way. Normally, when a technology space gets like this, you would see massive consolidation. The problem is the values of tech in our space over the past few years are extremely overvalued, so we aren’t seeing this consolidation happen yet. If a recession does impact HR tech values, it’s going to get crazy with folks buying each other!
Recruiting is going to continue to be very difficult over the next few years, even with a business slowdown. There just aren’t enough humans for the jobs we have open. Automation and robotics will catch up and help, but we still have some major demographic issues we will face. This means the technology and investment will continue as well. We are being forced into a path of choosing your pain – steal talent from others, build your own talent, do a combination, or die waiting for applicants to apply to your jobs.
The ones with the best technology stacks, best measures, and best insights into their data will win. Today is not the time to sit by and watch the world pass you in HR. The technology that runs our people business is changing fast, and the top leaders in HR stay on top of this curve.
Shoutout to the LRP Team and Devon Team for all the work that goes into pulling off this event. I’m just not quite sure how they do it!
Set your calendar for 2023 – The HR Technology Conference will be back at the Mandalay Bay on October 10-13th, and god willing, I’ll be back for my 11th time!