#HRTechConf - Puppies. Performance. Productivity. [5-Minute Friday]

In this week's 5-Minute Friday, John shares his topline observations on this week's HR Technology event in Chicago. Puppies. Performance. Productivity.


I've been to my fair share of HR tradeshows and I thought I'd seen it all in terms of attractions and enticements. From a guy dressed as a robot several years ago to a proper roboty thing today (basically an iPAD that drove itself around on wheels). Today however, the bar was raised with puppies.


"They've got puppies" I heard one excited attendee say.  Adorable and smile-inducing, yes. Attention-grabbing, certainly.

Behind this marketing genius, there seems to be a lot of products doing the same kind of stuff...and it's really difficult to gauge differentiated capabilities at a tradeshow. It's hard to get noticed and to stand out amongst the crowd. 

And now, the puppy card has been played.

So, assuming you are looking at a new product (and not just puppies) tradeshows can be a great place to get a contact name, schedule a follow up call and a demo where you can have a real conversation based on YOUR specific needs and with YOUR business goals front-and-centre.

William Tincup was bang on with his comment... a demo a day keeps mediocrity away.

Petting zoo next year anyone?


The business of performance management, engagement, pulse taking, recognition and rewards (etc. etc.) is starting to blend and is becoming embedded into what great managers, supportive colleagues and inspired employees naturally do.

The notion here is that great cultures do this as a way of living their culture, and not as a process. And today's HR Technology is recognizing that.

When the fit is right, these converged platforms of engagement and talent management can be very effective at supporting the ways you do things, and to make it easier and more timely for performance to be managed, recognition to occur, and engagement to be understood. 

But if you have a culture that isn't aligned across its value chain, or struggles to embrace a more social and team-based sharing of the love, then you may be pushing up hill on this one... and these new platforms of engagement may not be right for your environment or deliver what you are looking for.

As Josh Bersin points out in his latest position on disruption in the HR business, you need to watch this space as it is moving very fast with the goal of moving away from transactions to enabling a more collaborative, engaged and well aligned culture. 


Yes, there was that roboty thing spinning around, but in my opinon, we had a very big gap related to tangibly driving organizational productivity - which leads to an immense opportunity for HR.

Let me explain. 

Once we implement this new HR Technology to become better at engaging our teams and giving feedback in a more natural and constructive way, so what? What's the hard ROI in business terms?

I thought this was largely missing because it's hard, and very few HR Tech companies truly get this. How does this new HR technology actually help us improve people productivity and business outcomes. This, in my perspective, is what the business or your CEO is ultimately looking for you to answer.

How does your new recruitment platform help you reduce the risk of missing your quarterly sales goals? Or help you understand the key roles which you need to look at alternate talent acquisition strategies for? And how you can quantify the revenue impact on the business if you miss targets on filling these key roles? Or how time to productivity can be improved for new employees and the impact that will have on lifetime employee value created? Or what's the best source and the anticipated cost of a top quality hire?

How does your new engagement and talent platform help you understand if next month's productivity or utilization target will be met? You get the picture.

We need to get better at articulating the "so what" of HR Technology investments in real business terms. 

In my opinion, it's about how your people, your people programs, and your HR Technology can help you drive productivity. And to accomplish this, you need to somehow connect your recruitment platform data (ATS, psychometric assessments etc.) to your system of record data (HRIS, payroll etc.), to your platform of engagement and talent management data, to business outcomes data.

What this gives you, is the ability to gain insight into who your most productive segments of your organization are, the value that they create for the business by role, the lifetime value they, as employees create for you, where you are most likely to find them, and what programs or criteria have the most impact on delivering business results.

And as I said in last week's 5 Minute Friday, we are faced with HR's one-time, here and now opportunity to use our data as an asset to drive business value. And If we don't start to leverage our HR data as an asset, someone else in our businesses will (hello finance).

Using your people data to make decisions that improve productivity is something we should all be striving for.

And speaking of productivity, I'd like to take this opportunity to recognize one of our amazing team members from PeopleInsight.

See what I did there?  Everyone loves a puppy... :-) 

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