HR Tech 2021 Roundup: Announcements & More #HRTechConf

We just got back from the HR Technology Conference & Exposition® (September 28 – October 1, 2021 in Las Vegas). While the conference was lower in attendance than past years, the need for HR technology to support organizations has never been more important than the world we are working and living in. Our industry is changing and evolving — just as we are evolving to support our organizations, company leaders, and employees. Josh Bersin calls this change a move from transaction to intelligence. I think that is the simplest way to describe what we’re experiencing as HR and workplace leaders right now because, well…intelligence is hella complicated.

The event was intimate and in some ways I enjoyed my experience even more. For those of you who weren’t able to attend the event, I wanted to share some insights and exciting announcements from the conference. The pandemic has disrupted the workplace for a year and a half now, and while many of us are suffering from burnout, struggling to find talent, learning how to support remote teams and adapting to how strange it feels to meet in person again, one of the positive changes in our industry is that there has been an acceleration of innovation in the HR technology space. Don’t worry, I’m here to make sense of the noise and share some of my favorite moments and announcements from this year’s HR Technology Conference. 

Here are just some of the standout announcements and technologies that created a lot of buzz at #HRTechConf this year:


Business leaders from the smallest startups to the largest global corporations have publicly committed to taking action against bias and discrimination in their own workplaces. But have they succeeded? Check out the new SmartRecruiters State of Diversity Hiring Report and find out. 

Jobvite won an HR Top Product of the Year Award for its Zero Click Intelligent Sourcing. It automates sourcing efforts when a job requisition is first opened. The solution saves recruiters time while surfacing and activating qualified candidates from their CRM, Talemetry. Talemetry by Jobvite leverages AI-powered candidate matching to identify a list of top prospects found in a client’s CRM based on the requirements in the job description and reviewing previous hires from similar positions.

Paradox, the conversational recruiting software company helping global brands like Unilever and McDonald’s streamline the hiring process through automation with a human touch, announced that its newest product, Experience Assistant, earned the top honor in Human Resource Executive’s annual best HR technology solutions awards (the winners were announced during the conference). A little more about the product (and video) here

Eightfold AI, provider of the Talent Intelligence Platform™, announced several new capabilities, including a consumer-grade user experience, and powerful new reporting and analytics enhancements, all with the goal of empowering employees to intuitively engage with an AI platform and use it to progress their own individual careers.

In a first-of-its-kind study, ADP Research Institute (ADPRI) uncovered the HR XPerience Score (HRXPS) metric to measure HR service quality and the impact of the human resources (HR) function, as well as identified the key factors that directly correlate to a strong talent brand as seen through the lens of the employee’s experience. This 25-country study of more than 32,000 respondents offers studied intel on the importance of HR to the talent brand based on key interactions during an employee’s talent journey, providing new insights for the HR and business community as the workforce refocuses efforts on engaging, hiring and retaining talent.

Paychex, Inc., a provider of integrated human capital management (HCM) software solutions for HR, payroll, benefits, and insurance services, announced new enhancements designed to help employers hire and keep top talent, improve efficiency through automation, and provide access to HR information whenever and wherever is most convenient to them and their employees. See details on all new enhancements for Paychex Fall 2021 launch here.

Recruiting software maker Gem raised $100 million in a funding round led by investment firm ICONIQ Capital, lifting its valuation to $1.2 billion. The new capital brings the company’s total funding to $148 million. Funds raised will be used for product improvement and to expand internationally, such as in high-growth regions of Western Europe and parts of Asia Pacific.

HireVue Builder was recognized as a 2021 Top HR Product by Human Resources Executive Magazine at the HR Tech Conference. HireVue Builder enables hiring teams to quickly create high-quality structured interviews based on key skills for the job, helping companies find the necessary top talent to support a rebounding global economy.

Canvas has raised $50 million in Series C funding at a $400M valuation. Coupled with the Series C is the launch of a new product, Canvas Diversity Analytics & Benchmarking™, which provides companies with detailed data insights and diversity benchmarks, so hiring teams can uncover diversity disparities, identify biases and track progress in real time. Canvas also helps companies source underrepresented talent, run engaging virtual events, enhance employer brand, and measure the ROI of diversity recruiting initiatives.

Gloat announced The Anything Workforce Ecosystem, a coalition of technology and services firms collaborating to help organizations leverage talent marketplace dynamics for different aspects of workforce management. The Anything Workforce Ecosystem brings powerful capabilities across the HR technology and consulting ecosystem – from recruiting to learning, to performance management, to rewards and recognition, to people analytics and human capital consulting – so that enterprises using Gloat’s talent marketplace platform for agile work and workforce management can leverage other best of breed workforce solutions and leading human capital consulting services to achieve their business transformations. is taking a new approach, shifting gears from employee experience to return on experience (ROX). Read more on what the return on experience means here!

Payactiv, Inc, a certified B Corp and the leader in Earned Wage Access (EWA), has won the grand prize for innovation at the 2021 Digital Wallet Impact Innovation Awards presented by Aite-Novarica Group in partnership with the Mobile Payment Conference and sponsored by Cybersource, a Visa® solution.


Other HR Tech Conference Roundup Posts:

The Tim Sackett Project: What I learned at #HRTechConf 2021!

Chris Russell: Update from RecTech Media

Josh Bersin: Ten New Truths About The HR Technology Market

Aptitude Research: HR Technology Conference

MeBeBot: The ROI of the Employee Experience

Despite the fact that no-one could have seen a global pandemic or shutdown in 2020 coming, HR leaders were forced to be nimble and adapt swiftly to support remote workforces. We are stronger and better for it. This I absolutely know.

And HR technology vendors did exactly the same — except they created products and integrations that supported HR leaders. Many of the new products entering the market focus on improving experiences and promoting learning and development as companies navigate today’s hybrid and intelligent workplace and workforce.

Do you have an announcement I missed? Feel free to leave it as a comment below or send me an email at


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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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