What we learned from 2016’s HR Tech Conference

The 2016 HR Tech Conference in Chicago had a host of excellent speakers and panels in the Windy City, all talking about what’s the state-of-the-art in human resource technology. Our own Autumn Manning was there, and participated in what Steve Boese called their first ever Women in HR Technology Summit. This pre-conference event featured speakers like Tacy Byham, who gave a closing address: Lead Like A Girl. For a great roundup of what was discussed, and for more insight on how women are impacting the HR space, be sure to read Jennifer Payne’s article, Be Fearless!

Speaking of roundups, Michael Morrison wrote an excellent 6 Key Takeaways from the HR Tech Conference. Something that struck our fancy is Morrison’s mention of the employee experience, and how work is tending towards real-time continuous feedback. As he puts it, “A number of HR technology companies are creating experiences that get employees to interact with the system every day—or even multiple times per day—to keep a pulse of how employees are improving.” That sounds pretty familiar to our customers for sure.

Meanwhile, Chris Russell at Recruiting Headlines found that artificial intelligence is finally pushing its way into HR Tech in a big way, although perhaps not always for the better. As a veteran of the industry, he notes that “Shiny new objects like those found at HR Tech can be alluring but not always prove to be the right choice for employers. HR needs to hire more technical people on staff to manage and maintain the systems in place. And products need to get better at making their interfaces easier to use.” It’s inevitable that as more technology is introduced into HR, there will need to be better interfaces and more tech staff to realize the full potential of these systems.

Speaking of new tech, this was the second year of the HR Tech hackathon, where teams have 48 hours to create a new idea and prototype it. Steve Boese posted a cool Instagram of the hackathon’s result, which included a tool to remove bias from hiring, a gamified knowledge sharing tool, a career path mapping tool and a way for tracking disparate systems and staying motivated. The common thread among these prototypes is that they are using many data sources to create a clearer picture of what’s happening in your business, whether it’s sales or hiring data. Of course, big data is here to stay — as if there was any question!

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from HR Tech these days could be summed up in the following Tweet by Jill Elliot before the conference started:

“Top tech” is of course including big data, artificial intelligence and real-time platforms. These systems, in addition to real-time feedback platforms, are making the workplace not just more effective, but a better place to be, day in and day out. If you’re interested in more tidbits from the show, there’s an excellent Storify of dozens of tweets courtesy Smashfly here.

If you are interested in learning more about the HR Tech space and figuring out which tools are available and which might best fit your company, be sure to check out our HR Tech Field Guide:

YouEarnedIt and Virgin Pulse Field Guide to HR Technology and Employee Engagement

Download here!

Victor Agreda
Victor Agreda