Takeaways from UNLEASH London

UNLEASH should help SHAPE the HR Tech Market not only reflect it.

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It’s a jungle out there! And yes, I am referring to the HR Tech market. It’s messy, it’s overbearing, it’s noisy. You can’t see the forest for the trees. Constant need to separate the wheat from the chaff. Every one wants a piece of it. From a barren piece of land to very rich soil, bearing fruits like we have never seen before. Not a clod of earth left unturned.

Enough of the imageries….2 days at UNLEASH London has proven to me exactly that. Kudos to the organizers, who did a great job at reflecting the market. Moguls next to startups and a long list of topics touching on Brexit, GDPR, transforming the workforce experience, new learning / mentoring / coaching experiences, Performance review, user adoption, HR & AI, Leadership, Ethics and so much more. Regretfully, I could not attend all of them.

One thing became incredibly clear to me. I used to be annoyed with HRs for not jumping on the HR Tech wagon sooner. “HRs are not technologically inclined”, we like to say…But really? Even a tech-savvy HR would have a very hard time making decisions right now. And even if you THINK you made the right decision for your company, how do you know this will still be the case a year or 2 from now, when even more advanced solutions will be available to choose from? All this is happening BEFORE real AI is in the picture. Can we really blame them for wanting to sit on the fence for just a little bit more?…

I believe consulting HRs on what to purchase now is harder then ever, if do-able at all. Do I bring in a new ATS with built-in gazillion features or do I just integrate a chatbot, let’s say, to the existing one? Do I buy the chatbot from a vendor or do I build my own in-house? Do I use an app to daily check the general mood of my employees or should I find one that also has an option for “continuous performance management” and should it enable “micro performance management” in real time?…..

Tip – Best to connect with platforms/apps that are open to present and future integration. That MAY keep your decision to purchase HR Tech relevant 2 years from now.

Data and People Analytics were huge at UNLEASH as well. What about all this data that we are collecting? We call it “caring about our employees”, but I think there is a fine line between stalking their every move and every word and “caring” for them. And I am not sure where the line should cross for the benefit of both sides. Ethics is such a huge potential problem, why not try to avoid the pitfalls and collect only that information we will actually need? As Einstein said “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it”. However, in People Analytics, we see the obstacle, we are talking about it (Session with David Green on “Ethics, Trust and People Analytics”), but we are still driving towards it full speed.

Credit: Anna Ott

Being a judge on the startup competition was a humbling experience. Founders are investing their blood and sweat into these ventures. One even said he loves his startup “almost as much as he loves his wife and kids” :-). I believe the feedback they got from us will help them improve their game going forward. Kudos to RoboRecruiter for winning this competition!

Talking to most of the 40+ startups I felt stronger about what I already presented in my public speaking 8 months ago (and was scolded for saying so..) – Many startups are currently exhibiting stand alone features. I believe integrating into platforms will bring much more value to them and to the users. It’s obvious we will see a lot of partnerships in the very near future. I have to say that SmartRecruiters are already exhibiting this trend with the marketplace built-in within their platform. I believe one-stop-shops are the answer. And when that becomes mainstream, I believe many who will want to recruit for their own, will be able to do so. And by that I mean, recruiters as we know them today, may become obsolete. Hopefully they will evolve into other roles, such as consultants and more.

All of the startups had great solutions. Which one stood out for me for their simplicity? PathMotion. A very simple but great idea. Their platform enables potential candidates wanting to apply to a job within a certain company to chat with “ambassadors” from that company and ask them questions. The platform is integrated into the career page. This is a step up from the videos on the career page. Now you can actually chat with them. I like it!

Another one was Small Improvements, that immediately stood out to me on the startup stage, for their values. They are self funding and by that are able to follow their hearts and not the wishes of VCs. They donate back to society and oh yeah…their human friendly performance management app is great too 😉

 I would like to see more GLOBAL STARTUP ATTENDANCE
in the upcoming UNLEASH events.

I’d like UNLEASH to become a “patron” to struggling startups (financially), with great ideas, from countries OUTSIDE the US and Europe. When you become a leader in your market,  you also have a social responsibility.
As the co-Founder of HRTechnation.com, I do my best to shine the light on other HR Tech markets such as Africa, South America, Far East, Middle East and more.

In short, I am looking forward to the next UNLEASH conferences and see how they can help SHAPE the HR Tech market and not only reflect it. They certainly have the best people working there to accomplish that!

Stay tuned to more posts highlighting content from the UNLEASH HR Tech startup scene!

Feel free to connect with me on Linkedin or by email: karen@hrtechnation.com

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