Blog | 3 Big Things we Learnt in Vegas at HR Tech 2019
They say that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. And while that might be true of the money I put into the virtual blackjack table, that’s pretty much where the old cliché stops for me.
It was our first year exhibiting at the 'World’s leading event on Technology for HR' (a case of loyal, long-time attendee, first time exhibitor).
We went all-in and brought a combined team from our offices in Houston, New York, Oslo, and London to launch two of our latest products, Questback Leadership 360 and Qubie for Microsoft Teams.
It was great meeting new people and discovering new things. And because we're all in on 'extraordinary experiences,' we even gave an Oculus Quest away to one lucky attendee, Sayaka Kawahara, an associate for Mercer who traveled to the show all the way from Japan!
Aside from the several pounds of excess weight caused by the awesome Las Vegas food scene, here’s what I brought back from HR Tech 2019.
Our lucky competition winner together with Maurice, our President and General Manager for North America!
Embedded Apps are the Future
Tools that help improve the 'employee experience' are starting to embed themselves into everyday productivity platforms, like Microsoft Teams and Slack. Josh Bersin summed this up best with the phrase ‘HR in the flow of work.’ By this, he meant instead of going to different HR applications to do something, the apps you need are embedded in the software you’re already using through the use of AI, bots, and Machine Learning.
It’s fantastic to see this recognized by Bersin. We launched Qubie for Microsoft Teams at the show this year, and as a product person, I love that what we do resonates! If you're curious about Qubie, take a look here. But there’s also a note of caution here: the more we digitize the experience, the more important human leadership is. So don’t forget to keep on top of that.
Gary and Erik prospecting
Diversity, Diversity, Diversity
I’ll be a bit more specific. I’m not just talking about the 100 new startups at the show, which is super exciting (think of all the apps!). I’m talking about the continued rise of 'diversity and inclusion' as a critical challenge for employers. Workday’s Carin Taylor leads the charge here with her belief that data is fundamental to solving this (I also happen to think that her job title ‘Chief Diversity Officer’ is among the most valuable of those to emerge from the C-Suite explosion but that's a topic for another time).
I think she’s certainly on the right path. Better data drives a better awareness of what's going on inside an organization, and that's precisely why we built our Talent Parity product. Click here to find out how we’re helping the NHS in the UK to resolve these important issues.
It's Time to Start Caring About the Overall Employee Journey
OK, so we all know this. But as leading talent analyst Mervyn Dinnen said at the show, "We, unfortunately, have been sectionalizing [the journey into] candidate experience, recruitment experience […] with different people as the stakeholders." It's true we weren't the only vendor on the show floor to have a software solution to address the entire employee experience journey. So the technology exists even if the demand is somewhat latent as of today. I’ve definitely witnessed what Dinnen describes first-hand with customers and, in one instance, a colleague of mine was even told, 'I don’t really care about the onboarding bit, can I just buy the candidate and recruitment part’ (I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea).
So there’s good news here. First, visible frustration from the analysts (and me) that companies have been building silos in the employee journey. Second, there’s plenty of technology designed to address it. And, lastly, there's a new CEO in town - the Chief Experience Officer, who really cares about fixing this and has made it their job to do so. Have a read of this Harvard Business Review article to learn more about the rise of the CXO. Wow, that’s two new C-Suite roles in one blog. Maybe I should write a blog about leadership next?
Time to Run...
Right, that’s it for the business side of things: now I need to go and shed the one thing my wife says I definitely took away from the show this year, by hitting the gym….
See you next year, Vegas!