As the world begins to push forward creating a post-COVID world, the workplace is no exception. Countless stories pepper the news about hybrid workforces, the future of offices, and the uncertainty of business travel – not to mention the compliance changes for US employers surrounding things like I-9 virtual verification, COBRA, and so much more. It’s been an unbelievably busy and challenging times working in HR, and as we ramp up our businesses, employers are beginning to outline what’s next for their employees and organizational structures.
As a student of the human resources industry, I am also interested in how technology continues to support our efforts as workplace and people leaders. In April of this year, Lighthouse Research and Workology once again partnered for our second HR Analyst Day. HR Analyst Day offers HR technology companies an opportunity to meet, connect, and share with us about their technology companies and how they support human capital efforts. Some organizations we speak with are completely new and others are old friends we’ve watched grow up in the industry. In this spring’s HR Analyst Day, we spoke to 15 companies, meeting with them for a 45 minute briefing. Companies apply at www.hranalystday.com and are invited to schedule briefing meetings collectively with our organizations. It’s a fun collaboration, as Ben Eubanks and I have known each other for over 12 years. I appreciate and enjoy his perspective. We make a great team each bringing different insights and experiences to the conversations. Plus, we both have a love of the industry.
Emerging HR Technology Trends from Spring HR Analyst Day
Some real themes in our briefings emerging very quickly. Each company we spoke with fit into one of three categories that Ben put into a Venn Diagram (above).
– The Data Play. Decisions in our human capital are being driven by data versus gut reactions and compliance driving policies, processes, and business strategies. With the number of growing HR technologies being used by organizations, the availability of data is increasing to drive strategies and decisions based on information, furthering the adoption and use of forecasting and the adoption of machine learning and artificial intelligence.
– Fluid Work. Whether it’s remote work, leveraging the freelance and gig economies or hiring globally, the candidate pool is expanding and more HR technologies are available than ever before to make it easier to take advantage of talent globally and by a project by project basis. The use and adoption of the gig and freelance workforce is increasing by enterprise companies providing them with new opportunities.
– Skills as Currency. As more talent enters the marketplace due to its global nature and fluidity, skills are more important than ever before. Employers must rely on developing talent to retain and keep them engaged but also as a way to quickly respond to changing talent marketplaces and economies like we’ve seen over the past year.
I want to note that one company is not better than another because of their placement in the diagram. Each area serves a different purpose and solves one of the many pain points that organizations experience when it comes to human capital.
The HR Tech Landscape is Shaped by More Than Organizational Size and Employee Life Cycle
One of the most exciting things is the shifts I am seeing in the landscape for HR technology. It’s becoming more complex as new technologies enter the market and are refined by the needs and imaginations of technologist, investment firms, business leaders, and startup founders driving these innovations. Even a pandemic could not slow venture investments, major acquisitions, and consolidations within our industry. As these HR technology providers grow from pre-seed startup to publicly traded company their services and offerings grow from niche product lines to mature technology that serve larger enterprises or provide a suite of technologies across HR or other parts of the organization. In our April briefing meetings, we met with the following companies:
The offerings from our Spring HR Analyst Day class as well as the markets they served and company sizes were all unique. This complexity I have described is one of the challenges we face working in HR. It’s also one of the reasons I love the industry. Operationally within HR, there are similarities by vertical, company size or based on compliance, but there are so many different ways to problem solve organizational HR challenges like talent management, talent acquisition, onboarding, or workforce planning. To demonstrate this with our current HR Analyst Day cohort, I created a graphic that demonstrates the complexity of this for the small number of companies we met with. You can see the variety of markets and areas they served.
Now, imagine if you were to map the 3,000+ HR technology companies currently in the ecosystem. Some companies we spoke to were focused on verticals like healthcare, government, or hospitality while most were focused on company size and the specific areas of the employee life cycle and the particular HR pain point they sought to solve. In most cases, the more mature the technology, the more likely they were to sell to large enterprise organizations but not always.
A special thank you to our Spring 2021 HR Analyst Day cohort. Ben and I enjoyed the conversations. As a student of HR tech, we are always open to briefings and conversations, I’d love to invite you to complete an application to have a special briefing with Lighthouse and Workology. You can complete an application and learn more about some of the companies we’ve briefed with by visiting www.hranalystday.com.