The Why Behind HR Technology’s Hype Cycle

I’ve been giving a lot of thought these days to the adoption speed or lack there of when it comes to human resources technology. In trying to explain the cycle, I’ve taken a page from Gartner and how the cycle moves. Adoption is often very slow with it happening 18-48 months or more after the general population adopts a tech or tool in the consumer industry.

The Adoption of  HR Technology

This week over on Blogging4Jobs I discussed about how hype is built around a marketing angle or technology. At current, this is happening in our industry with mobile, big data and sourcing technologies. Technology providers, marketers and influencers are pushing the buzz word and hype agenda without really discussing how it is being adopted, adapted or even used in our industry.

Because HR and Recruiters are late to the technology party, particularly mobile, the consumer markets are way ahead helping to force the use care for our industry. Current adoption rate by Fortune 500 for mobile is somewhere just past the early adopters and early majority as only 12% of recruiting teams have added mobile into their talent strategies. Consumer mobile usage has skyrocketed. There are more mobile phones than toothbrushes. How’s that for the adoption of a product and technology?


Many say that mobile is a pure vendor play, however, I think they are wrong. There’s an actual use case for the technology based on the adoption of consumer use. Most investment firms or founders in our industry aren’t or won’t invest a technology that is completely useless. They, however aren’t taking the time to understand their buyer in order to market them effectively. The naysayers when it comes to mobile, big data or whatever buzz word would have you disagree with me that they aren’t needed.  They like to blame it on the hype created by vendors, marketers and thought leaders. Many would believe that I fall into this category.

HR & Recruiting’s Trough of Disillusionment

Gartner calls this the trough of disillusionment where people get overwhelmed or just jaded by the bombardment of the tech for the solution they seek. It’s complicated, overwhelming or just down right slimey marketing.



It’s important for reputable influencers, thought leaders, early adopters or practitioners to focus on the use case of the technology. Let focus groups, survey data, research and numbers guide practitioners in making their own decisions to cut through the hype and decide whether to integrate that piece of technology into their own business strategy.

The hype is nothing but hype just as statistics are only numbers positioned a certain way. Practitioners, adopters and business managers need to use judgement, experience and peer information in addition to blogs, white papers and thought leadership posts to help them format how they build their future HR and recruiting strategies combined with the use and adoption of technology.

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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