Time for an Upgrade – the HR Technology Experience

coin-laundry-coin-slot-1-1I’m always somewhat amused when a new iPhone (or pick your device) comes out. As soon as the iPhone7 went on sale on September 16th my Facebook timeline was filled with status updates of “I’ve ordered mine!” and “my phone should be shipped by xx date!” The memes quickly followed. Headphone jacks? Anyone?

Pundits and bloggers in the tech world weighed in on the standard upgraded features any new release is expected to give us…thinner, faster, more battery life….you know the drill. (note: while the Schooling household phones are eligible for upgrade, we have, thus far, postponed any activity).

The fanfare. The lines at the stores. The delayed shipment dates. I have yet to speak with anyone in person about their new gadget; therefore I have zero insight on individual satisfaction levels.

It did get me thinking though, as I get ready to head off to the HR Technology Conference & Exposition (#HRTechConf) next week, about the ‘upgrade’ experience for the users of HR technology. And I mean all the users; HR staff and administrators, employees, managers, and candidates. What do they expect from a new system launch or upgrade? When we, as HR practitioners, select a new solution and subsequently go through the planning and implementation phase (whether that be a few months or a few years) are we really looking at the end result through the eyes of our users? The final, full-on, ‘let’s make this go-live” end result?

Quite often I think the answer is no.

When we’re working through the project, as we’re building codes and tables, and when we find ourselves knuckle-deep in migrating data from potentially disparate systems, we tend to focus on our back-end/HR-back-of-house improvements. It’s top of mind, naturally, for us to get excited about how the solution is improving our HR day-to-day; ease of use, reporting, and data integrity come to mind. Move me from four systems (with dozens hundreds of spreadsheet thrown in) that can’t talk-to-each-other to a platform with full connectivity and integration and I’m a happy HR gal. Right?

Oh sure, we may give cursory thought to our end-users, especially as we begin the communication phase and gear up for user adoption. “How we will get our team members to not only use this platform but also love this platform?” we ask ourselves. Well…hopefully we’re asking that question.

But I think the work around user adoption requires a couple key elements we, in HR, often neglect to think about:

  • Our users (employees, applicants, managers) want to replicate the type of experience they have with technology outside-of-work, and
  • Our users want access to all the features

At the end of the day our users aren’t comparing this “new” solution we roll out from the human resources department to the previous solution we’ve provided for them. “Hey wow! We now have electronic workflow approval to sign off on training requests!” (said no manager ever). Rather they’re comparing what we’re giving them to their personal experience and the expectations they have for interacting with technology outside-of-work.

Our average candidate, meanwhile, wonders “If I can apply for a mortgage with one click why in the hell can’t I apply for this damn job with one click?”

What do our system users want?

They want simple sign on, ease of use, instant upgrades and the ability to self-solve. They want to reset their own password and recover their own user ID and sign-in. They want, when they click on an embedded “how to video” link, to be able to watch the training video apparently embedded within.

Our fellow HR users (you know – the people on your HR team?) want access to report writing capabilities, our managers want access to the full manager self-service functionality, and our applicants want to be able to change or update their log-in information without having to track down a phone number in order to place a call (a phone call!) to the HR Department. (note: you may scoff; you mean to tell me HR teams buy these solutions and then keep these basic features turned-off? Yes; that’s exactly what I’m telling you).

Think about it…if you bought a new iPhone7 would you be satisfied with something sort-of easy to use? Somewhat useful? With partial functionality?

I didn’t think so. That’s the headphone jack of HR.

Discovering the Next Great HR Technology Company – #HRTechConf

hrtcHere’s one of the things I like about the HR Technology Conference & Exposition – discovering where the innovation is happening. What solutions are being created? What problems are being solved? How, let’s get down to brass tacks people, does software assist HR leaders (and business leaders) as they look to solve day-to-day business challenges?

If you’re curious, like I am, to find out which startups are shaking up the HR industry then you need to pay attention to the #HRTechConf session “Discovering the Next Great HR Technology Company” (Tuesday, October 4th at 3:45 PM CDT). After working with one of the expert coaches (Steve Boese, Jason Averbook, Kyle Lagunas, George LaRoque, Madeline Laurano, or Trish McFarlane) each company gets to showcase their solution on the big stage … and then the attendees vote for the winner.

The participating startups include:


ClickBoarding is a comprehensive employee onboarding software focused on the new hire experience by not only leveraging cutting-edge cloudtechnology, but also embracing regulatory compliance and providing a Candidate Care services team as an extension of the company. ClickBoarding believes the recruiting process never ends for a candidate, nor does a company get a second chance to make a first impression. A great onboarding solution is more than a software application providing a website to simply manage forms, I-9/E-Verify and workflows.


Clinch is a Recruitment Marketing and CRM platform designed to centralize a company’s career pages, recruitment marketing and talent network initiatives, enabling employers to source, identify, understand, engage and convert the best candidates – including the 90 percent of those who demonstrate an interest in their company, but don’t apply.


HighGround enables organizations to modernize performance development and engagement for a more productive, motivated workforce. The agile and social “people platform” gives organizations invaluable insights into daily interactions by empowering employees to create stretch goals, initiate coaching conversations with their managers, give recognition to peers, and share sentiments and opinions.


InvestiPro is a fully-automated workplace investigation solution designed to simplify the way employers conduct investigations. The InvestiPro online process walks you through every step, start to finish.


LifeWorks will present its industry-first wellness and engagement platform that makes employees Feel Loved in any organization. LifeWorks multi-point platform provides employee assistance, wellness, perks, internal communications and recognition all in one place. Users currently login more than three times a day on average.


Qwalify will present its solution, Talent Dojo: a professional digital networking platform that is the evolution of talent engagement for recruitment. Through brand-building discussions, the solution builds meaningful relationships between customers, candidates and companies. Focusing on character, personality and knowledge, Talent Dojo reveals the true fit of the candidate; delivering actionable insights on company culture, brand alignment and career fit. Talent Dojo helps you find the right candidates before the job application process even begins.


RolePoint will present its leading internal talent mobility tool to deliver a streamlined career progression experience for employees and enable talent development teams to improve retention across their entire organization.

The Chemistry Group

The Chemistry Group believes everyone should have an opportunity to be brilliant at work. The combination of its technology and award-winning intellectual property allows its global clients to predict the future performance of potential and existing employees to an unparalleled level of accuracy. Global organizations such as SAP, Experian, Diageo and Pizza Hut are reducing their operational spend and increasing their productivity by hiring great people and realizing the potential of their existing workforce through their scalable cloud platform.

Still haven’t registered? Use Promo Code SCHOOL16 for a $200.00 discount off the current HR Tech rate.  Or, if you just want to spend some time in the Expo Hall, use the Promo Code EXPO75 to get a “One Day Expo Pass” for only $75 (this offer expires 10/1/16!)

Register here.

Startup Pavilion at the #HRTechConf

techIn just a few short weeks (October 4 – 7, 2016) the always anticipated, never imitated, HR Technology Conference & Exposition will be kicking off at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

While the Expo Hall is an HR tech enthusiast’s dream come true (with more than 400 companies exhibiting, answering questions, conducting demos, passing out snacks and dispensing cocktails), I particularly enjoy the Startup Pavilion embedded within the Expo Hall. This year, in the Startup Pavilion’s 3rd year, attendees will get to see 40 of the most promising new startups that have entered the market.

Take it for a test drive! Talk to the founders and developers! Check out the swag! Swing by on day 1 and then come back on day 3 for more!

How are these firms changing the market? Stop by and check them out:



The Expo floor will be open 5 – 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 4; 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 5; and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Thursday, October 6.

Still haven’t registered? Use Promo Code SCHOOL16 for a $200.00 discount off the current HR Tech rate.  Or, if you just want to spend some time in the Expo Hall, use the Promo Code EXPO75 to get a “One Day Expo Pass” for only $75 (this offer expires 10/1/16!)

Register here.