Reflections of a #hrtechoholic – AHRI 2017

#hrtechoholic is a word, there I said it. And thanks to Australian HR Institute (AHRI) for feeding my hrtechoholism (yes that is another word now too!).

Without any drum-roll, here are my observations from the few hours spent at the exhibition and gala dinner:

  1. I am so glad to see new names and faces. Frankly, it is boring to just see the same players. Sure, it helps with knowing the new bits about the products and services they offer but nothing like some fresh technology to play with. Talking about old dog new tricks, there have been some significant changes in some product offerings – a great example is Sumtotal systems, boy their product has changed since I last implemented it in 2012/13! The clean user-interface combined with depth of functionality will give the big boys in town a run for their money! Nothing like some healthy competition!
  2. At least a third of the product and services being offered were training, education and learning related. That speaks to the importance of learning in organisations.
  3. There were approximately 25 offerings for leadership development, coaching, and mentoring. This is great to see given every employee needs those elements in their day to day work.
  4. The rise of bespoke onboarding solutions – this is definitely a trending area in Australia and I suspect the rest of the world alongwith engagement and analytics. While it is fantastic to see the investments in employee engagement, it does create for varied qualities of end-user experience unless it is part of a bigger solution for HR Technology. And will most likely create complexity in technology integration. Look out for HROnboard and Enboarder.
  5. Health and Wellbeing is the new ‘black’ – not only are bigger vendors playing in the safety, health and wellbeing space and growing their offerings, there is a rise in bespoke solutions. And I am not just talking about gym memberships which were part of reward programs previously. There is a definite move to truly consider wellbeing both physiological and psychological. I saw at least 10 providers in this space with very unqiue offerings. Watch-out for Uprise, they are doing some interesting stuff!
  6. SME’s rejoice – there are loads of great HRIS’s out there and the good news is they won’t cost you a fortune (although fortune is open to interpretation based on your company size, revenues and budgets). Some that I spotted are ZohoPeople and IntelliHR.
  7. Some final thoughts – from having met some old connections and making new connections:
    • There are loads of options out there in terms of HR solutions, don’t stick to known brands only. This limits your ability to seek innovative offerings and value for money.
    • Think about cost of integrating bespoke solutions.
    • If you are in HR, there is no shame in asking for help from your IT departments. They have been implementing software for a long time, albeit the world of cloud technology has changed roles and responsibilities of system ownership. HR is doing great at asking for systems and agreeing to own them, but they’re still a long-way from actually appreciating all that goes before, into and after a implementing a system.
    • Consider making research, trying new things and automation, mentoring and leadership development part of every single role and measure it. Don’t let ‘being busy’ stop you from developing yourself and others around you.
    • No man is an island, if you are not investing in team collaboration and measuring it, you are creating unhealthy competition between individual contributors.
    • Consumer-isation of HR technology – this is a big one. All businesses now want functional combined with fabulousness (of user experience), I am creating a new acronym for this because frankly there aren’t enough of those around to bamboozle everyone – #f&f . If your business is driving a digital experience for customers there is absolutely no reason for a poor HR technology experience for your employees. Your employees are most likely your current and future customers.

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