HR Tech 2014: 4 Trends Disrupting the Industry

After the whirlwind that was the 2014 HR Technology Conference & Expo, everyone is likely back from Las Vegas to their corners of the working world. If you were unable to attend, or even if you did and couldn’t digest the enormity of the four-day show, I’ve put together my annual recap of the 17th annual event.

One of the things I love most about HR Tech (@HRTechConf) is the opportunity to get a glimpse of trends as they are represented in physical space, in addition to taking part in real conversations and presentations around these trends and other innovations. Each year it seems there’s a specific buzz in the air related to a certain topic – be it social recruiting, video interviewing or data analytics – that’s almost palpable throughout the conference.


From left to right: Cielo CEO, Sue Marks, Neil Davies, Adam Godson and Annamarie Andrews

In 2014, these were the 4 themes that stood out most during HR Tech:

It’s (finally) all about the data. Whether it was “big data,” analytics, predictive analytics or data visualization, you simply could not cross a hallway without someone talking about data. I’ve previously written about HR’s infatuation with data as a “future trend,” but it’s quite clear that the vendor space has arrived with their product offerings around data analytics. Companies such as IBM, HireVueVisierZeroedin and dozens of others were promoting new data analytics product offerings, and perhaps nothing spoke bigger than Cornerstone’s announcement of their $42 million purchase of Evolv. It’s pretty clear that data is the big thing in HR technology – what’s unclear is just how far ahead vendors are from companies.

Companies are concerned about employee engagement (and they should be). A slew of startups were front and center promoting new product offerings, as were existing companies with new offerings centered on the idea of optimizing employee engagement, retention, along with career paths and goals. As the “war for talent” churns on, companies are wisely realizing that it’s better to retain their top talent than have to go find it again and again. In my mind, these have various permutations such as career path apps, goal-visualization (PlanDoGoalRecorder), as well as reward and recognition apps, but they all have the same ultimate goal – retaining key talent.

Crowdsourcing gets organized. For years, we’ve heard of crowdsourcing with companies like TopCoder, but there were some newer companies at HR Tech looking to disrupt the HR world. For instance, New York-based Recruitifi and Australia-based RecruitLoop tap into the markets of independent recruiters to create flexibility in how companies and recruiters connect. Similarly, HoneIt seeks to connect jobseekers with crowdsourced phone interviews to vet their skills from someone from within their industry. Certainly, we’re seeing companies grow more comfortable with the idea of crowdsourcing and its use in our industry.

HR Tech’s Startup Pavilion. HR Tech’s first-ever Startup Pavilion was a fantastic idea, allowing very early stage startups to exhibit how they may change the face of the industry. I was fortunate enough to have conversations with young companies and hear some bright new ideas on their potential to disrupt HR. One that I like in particular was Wonolo, an app that connects people looking to work that day with companies strictly looking for day labor. Probably not one that resonates much with corporate HR, but it is an inventive idea that will make an inefficient market much more efficient. That’s exactly what I want out of the Startup Pavilion – bold, new ideas that may seem years away from mainstream (but are much closer than we might imagine).

As always, the 2014 HR Technology Conference & Expo was a great show and most certainly will be next year as well. We would love to see you there! How was your HR Tech experience? We’d love to hear your trends, takeaways and hot topics on the Cielo social media pages – FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn.


Post contributed by Adam Godson, Cielo Director of Technology Solutions. Connect with Adam via LinkedIn or on Twitter @AdamGodson.