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Hosts Stacey Harris and John Sumser discuss important news and topics in recruiting and HR technology. Listen live every Thursday or catch up on full episodes with transcriptions here.

HR Tech Weekly

Episode: 238
Air Date: October 10, 2019





Important: Our transcripts at HRExaminer are AI-powered (and fairly accurate) but there are still instances where the robots get confused (or extremely confused) and make errors. Please expect some inaccuracies as you read through the text of this conversation and let us know if you find something wrong and we’ll get it fixed right away. Thank you for your understanding.

John Sumser
Stacey Harris


Good morning, and welcome to HR Tech Weekly, One Step Closer with Stacey Harris and John Sumser. Hi Stacey!

[00:00:20] Stacey Harris: [00:00:20] Good morning, John. How are you doing this week? We are one week out of the craziness that is HR Tech. Have you recovered yet?

[00:00:27] John Sumser: [00:00:27] You know it’s kind of a slow thing. Right? That is the peak of my year and I run five 18-hour days scheduled half hour to half hour, and so it’s, it is intense, it is intense, but what a great experience and how wonderful to see everybody who was in Las Vegas last week.

[00:00:48] Stacey Harris: [00:00:48] Yeah, it is definitely not only is it sort of you know, like for you same with me and that is the the culmination of a year’s worth of work and that one couple of days but there’s no doubt that I think HR Tech has become not only you know a great industry event that we both been a long time preparing for but it’s very much a bit of a family reunion in a way, right?

[00:01:09] For everyone who’s been in this industry for more than a few years. You see friends who you just don’t get to see throughout the year people who you’ve worked with in the past. It’s one of those type of events where at least for those of us who go on a regular basis where you’re constantly stopping in the hallway to talk and chat and see people who you know, you haven’t had a chance to catch up with and at least a year if not more in some cases.

[00:01:30] So yeah, it’s it’s a it’s a wonderful event from that perspective I think as well as from just the the ability to be able to reach a lot of people with some of the the research that both you and I are due on an annual basis. So yeah.

[00:01:44] John Sumser: [00:01:44] it was amazing and too short and too long all of the same time.

[00:01:50] There is some truth to the too long, when you do like six cocktail events in one night and you realize you are not a person made to do cocktail event. Yeah, it’s a long can be a long week too.

[00:02:02] John Sumser: [00:02:02] Yes. Yes, yes, yes. So, what’s in the mail bag?

[00:02:08] Stacey Harris: [00:02:08] Well, I took a couple things and kind of went back and looked at some of the announcements that we didn’t get to hit on last week because there was just such a flurry of them.

[00:02:14] And so I’ve included some of that there is some new stuff going on this week. I think people are like you said that you’re just starting to sort of climb out of what is the the at least here in North America the annual HR Tech busy craziness? And we know there are a lot of vendor events going on over the next couple weeks. So we’ll probably be getting a lot of news coming out over, you know between now and and sort of the December holiday season. So not only do we have new that you and I both launched big research reports last week, but we also had a lot of announcements from the vendors as well as the HR technology.

[00:02:45] Conference itself. So there is two big Winners probably if you call them winners from nature technology conference South one is the HR Tech Fest winner, which was pilot and application pick has been coaching for those kind of follow the emerging Tech new track Trends and then there was also the 2019 top HR product that was announced that the HR technology conference as well this year.

[00:03:04] It went two ADP’s Next Generation HCM, which we’ve talked about on the show before we can definitely have some more conversations about. There was also I think some other news things that came out of the week one is that we mentioned montage and Shaker National actually last week a little bit on some of the things they’re doing but I don’t know that we really emphasize that they have now completely merged and gone under a completely new brand called modern higher.

[00:03:27] So if you follow a montage and Shaker International should a video interviewing and assessment tool organizations. They are now in a single entity called modern higher. We also saw that alight Solutions launched their artificial intelligence for payroll transformation often times not things you here together artificial intelligence in payroll.

[00:03:47] So that’s kind of a fun thing. I think to follow. Saba did a big launch of their new brand that I think is now connecting what used to be the halogen world with the Saba World. They have been about two years now and that acquisition and you can see they have a new brand and they launched a new just for me learning experience platform as a probably a primary competitor.

[00:04:11] I would say to what’s going on over with Skillsoft some total as well as Cornerstone OnDemand with the sort of personalized development plans program. We also saw some little companies like meQuilibrium launching new cognitive performance modules and coaching modules and structure also, which is another learning management system that you and I have followed and talked a little bit about their Bridge technology.

[00:04:35] They launched a new skills and Career Connections and coaching module. Sailaja coaching stuff a sentence launched a new smart time clock we can have some conversation about that. Those are serve all the announcements from last week. We did get some funding going on this week to lean the I’m not sure if I’m saying that correctly as an AI technology recruitment company that got a six point five million dollar funding round.

[00:04:55] Now, we also saw course dream securing investment from LOL partners for those who follow the benefits based course stream is a firm that does different types of benefits and and allows organizations to pick those so they’ve got funding from a private Equity Firm. And then if we have any time at all today, we may want to talk a little bit about new systems that are kind of hitting the market not normally seen as HR but they’re called FM systems announced a plan to acquire a sure software’s workspace management portfolio product.

[00:05:26] So if you track any of the Internet of Things, these are the systems that like track who’s sitting in your conference rooms, and for how long. So there’s some new stuff going on there. Yeah, lots of stuff going on even though it was a busy week last week as well. So any of those spark your interest you want to start on a specific topics of those items I talked about what’s

[00:05:46] John Sumser: [00:05:46] Let’s start at the top and work or way through the list.

[00:05:48] So there’s a ton there’s a ton to talk about so coaching coaching listen coaching before.

[00:05:55] Stacey Harris: [00:05:55] We have yeah, I would say, you know, you know about 2008/2009 back at what back we sort of Hit the peak of the integrated talent management cycle of things those systems as they had filled out all of their various application areas from recruiting to learning to Performance Management.

[00:06:13] For the last thing to get sort of address or dealt with was Career Development and coaching and mentoring applications. And I saw I remember a lot of focus on them that point in time and then it kind of died out and went away and it seems to be you when I went back and looked at all the notes about what was going on at HR Tech conference.

[00:06:29] There’s a lot of focus on artificial intelligence and Analytics. But the other words that seem to pop up over and over again and everybody’s commentary was this focus on coaching mentoring Career Development as sort of one of those modules that never quite gets really developed. I think in a lot of organizations that I don’t know.

[00:06:46] Did you be any of that John or what

[00:06:48] John Sumser: [00:06:48] do you think this is there is this increased complicated emphasis on Career navigation right in the and it is largely derivative from the retention problem. Tight labor market and so if you’re going to keep people for a long time, you have to help them with their careers.

[00:07:08] So they stay right that’s kind of a simple of it. And if you’re going to help people with their careers, it turns out that most companies are kind of unique career environments. And so you have to help people understand the rules of the road and I think that’s the heart of this you is that right?

[00:07:26] Stacey Harris: [00:07:26] I would agree, but I haven’t have to say I think that you know, I think when we were talking about earlier like I you know, this is not something that seems sustainable the minute the minute the economy drops in a minute recruiting becomes a little bit easier and your don’t have skill gaps and you’re not struggling to find the right people things like Career Development programs go away.

[00:07:44] They just literally go away inside organizations funding drop. The tools get less use it’s really and this we definitely saw in the downturn was that this was the one product area where you just didn’t see investment after the market got worse. And that’s the thing that I feel it’s sad, but this is another case where if the market drops will this will you even hear about these things in a year from now, right?

[00:08:05] John Sumser: [00:08:05] So pilate is pilot one of these I don’t know and and I and I am actually trying to look it up pilot dot coach is what this is and I think that it’s really a reference system that gets you in touch with the coach. Is that is that why you okay?

[00:08:27] Stacey Harris: [00:08:27] Yeah, yeah, exactly. This is a pitch Fest and so these are brand new technologies pilot is and so yeah, they’re their tagline here is Empower employees accelerated performance, right?

[00:08:38] So there is a performance component to what they’re doing. But yeah, it’s very much about connecting you to the right coach if they’ve got weekly coaching activities monthly live video coaching customer analytic reports. So it’s a coaching platform and it and a matching platform, right? I didn’t see any notes as so to why people said they won the pitch Fest over others, that would be an interesting conversation.

[00:09:00] I was on the people who made some of the judging there, but you know the comment that sort of caught my eye here is that pilot? Stop selling point was it’s an affordable way to develop Talent that’s really effective. So they’re saying that this was cheaper than custom building training or content or skills, right?

[00:09:18] John Sumser: [00:09:18] Yeah. So the so so it’s a wraparound of individual career coaching sections, right? And there are human beings doing the career coaching that is

[00:09:29] Stacey Harris: [00:09:29] definitely a human beings and video-based right or no pre that content. Yeah.

[00:09:34] John Sumser: [00:09:34] So the matching system is it just matches employees with coaches? So

[00:09:41] Stacey Harris: [00:09:41] find your company is my understanding I could be wrong on that I get and not having seen everything they’re doing but yesterday on some seems to be

[00:09:48] John Sumser: [00:09:48] oh so well, anyhow, I don’t imagine this is going to be much of anything.

[00:09:53] I will be really surprised. I’m happy to be persuaded, but people are busy. Coaching takes time. And so if this is about causing people in the organization who are already busy to take on additional responsibilities, that’s a much bigger commitment than a piece of software. That’s

[00:10:13] Stacey Harris: [00:10:13] a really good point.

[00:10:14] I mean, I heard the same kind of conversation coming from both montage and Shaker in the new modern higher. They were talking about using some of their new tool wouldn’t you? Basically they do assessments and they’re and they’re probably some of the best Assessments in the world on sort of job Pacific day in the life virtual environments, right?

[00:10:33] They were talking about how they could now take some of their assessment tools from background performance and culture as well as their job virtual try out and start to use those to match people with coaches and gaps in areas. You might have internally as well as maybe even for Java hiring. So there they were also talking about it.

[00:10:51] I also had an interview and and in the news was me equilibrium. Now let me go Librium is a an organization that focuses on the change in Wellness aspect of organizations. This is change in change fatigue. So they’re focusing on basically the resiliency of your employees and they’ve got a large study of or body of work that has been done by a PhD University Professor around what is resiliency and how employees.

[00:11:21] Should have can Rank and rate their various levels of resiliency and how you can improve your resiliency if that’s important to you as an organization and it’s basically people who are comfortable with change and they were talking about how they would manage. Matching up people from mentoring and coaching and this way now they’re specific answer to that was but our approach is going to be very different because you’re only matching them for three meetings on a specific resiliency topic you are not trying to give people a point where they have to go and meet with someone on an ongoing coaching and mentoring basis.

[00:11:49] So yeah, those are conversations I had with all three of them on this topic of if I’m a coach. How do I have time for it, right?

[00:11:56] John Sumser: [00:11:56] Yeah, sorry. I I took the time to take a quick look at the pilot website. And so this is this is a digital technology that delivers relevant and actionable real world advice that provides the benefits of individual career coaching sessions on demand for a fraction of the price.

[00:12:14] So this is like, you know in the beginning success factors. The whole stickit success factors was that it was a very set of answers to typical management questions. That was the origins of the company was that it was it was the automation of a book about management technique and this is kind of like that.

[00:12:33] Right? This is individual sessions interfacing with some sort of large database to get career advice and that’s better than the idea that you can have generic people doing it. All right, you just have Pearl about the fact that this is this isn’t really tailored for you. This is out of a database and you get to so last week.

[00:12:54] I went to the women and Tech Summit at the HR Tech conference and I listened very carefully to about a dozen women talk about how they got to where they are. Right every speaker described her trajectory in her career trajectory the none of them had linear careers. One of them did you know engineering class 1 engineering class to line manager middle manager CEO that sort of straight progression.

[00:13:23] They did a stint in PR followed by a student marketing followed by a student operations and then the priority of the radiation lab two-mile write something like that show really interesting set of connections that happened in real time. Were the heart of every everybody’s career. Nobody have a straight line career.

[00:13:42] And I think that’s I think that’s generally true that people don’t have straight like arrears.

[00:13:47] Stacey Harris: [00:13:47] I think it’s generally true of those. I think who I would say those who are out doing something different right? I will say no I speak to a lot of of employees. Who have gone up that four-letter sort of started out as an HR technologist moved into a senior HR technology.

[00:14:06] Just rolling into a sort of and executive HR Technology’s role and that’s their career director and that work for them. So my sense would be that those people who hop around and have very diverse careers. Purple are generally also people who are going to be looking to do things that are different in the base.

[00:14:24] Right and they’re going to make maybe a little bit more noise about it. So I think there’s a probably a good mix of the question is to which one do you more often D? I don’t know that answer. Like what’s the break out between those who kind of follow a standard path versus those who follow what you described I think which is when people like us tend to have very different career

[00:14:42] John Sumser: [00:14:42] paths, right?

[00:14:43] I don’t know you work for a while in the company you get really good at something and then you get laid off. And then you go to work for a while and another company to get pretty good at something else and then you get laid off, right? This is this is how it’s been for 40 years. So so I don’t know where these people are who have straight line.

[00:15:02] I guess to the people who didn’t get laid off.

[00:15:06] Stacey Harris: [00:15:06] Oh, yeah, I mean it guess it depends on on whether or not you go looking for a job that that is similar to the job that you previously had. But I’ll give you I’ll give you that aspect that if you get laid off or you get in somewhere in the middle of your process get really sort of just sort of engaged with what’s happening.

[00:15:23] You definitely shift gears generally, right? And so that definitely is taking place. I don’t know. I think I’m just going to push back on you a little bit. I don’t think everybody has that type of career. I guess that a lot of people have that type of career bounce but not everybody would be my son.

[00:15:36] There are people who still say.

[00:15:37] John Sumser: [00:15:37] Yeah, I don’t have I don’t have any day though. It’s so I’m curious if somebody if somebody out there has collected data that shows this as long as she is.

[00:15:48] Stacey Harris: [00:15:48] Yeah, if that would be an interesting perspective not just by percentage is but like what percentage has sort of a straight line versus a a sort of moving all over the place kind of career.

[00:15:57] And what’s the difference between those type of roles? They’re holding? Yeah, definitely but these type of coaching technology is our bill maybe for one or the other right depending on which you were looking at here. The idea of resiliency is the idea of actually exactly what you’re talking about.

[00:16:13] That’s what Mica Librium does or at least a supposed to do, right? Is there supposed to be identifying two people who are comfortable that kind of constant change and movement and rethinking right or or at least helping people identify for their own personal self how they can become more comfortable with that because that also gets back to personality types and what you’re comfortable with.

[00:16:31] So yeah, and then to think about whether or not coaching is built around a straight line career versus a career that jumps all over the place, right? So just transitioning into some of the other stuff that we saw I think we we they were talking about ATP also having sort of the most at least getting the top winning 19 HR product from HR executive magazine.

[00:16:54] Now, I don’t know exactly how HR executive magazine says their assessments of these top products. So I don’t want to go into that perspective. But you and I were having a great conversation that the ATP product kind of along the same lines, but we’re talking about it still feels to me after seeing all of what we saw at a chart.

[00:17:09] Like it has one of the most unique or more forward-thinking approaches that I’ve seen right now in the market to the core hrms HR technology space with their new next-gen HCM, which is more of a modularized plug and play a team based framework environment. What do you think about that? Do you think that that something like this might actually enable this coaching conversation we’re talking about or is this really as unique as I feel like it is.

[00:17:35] John Sumser: [00:17:35] Well, so let’s just start talking about what makes it unique because it they’re certainly amazing stuff here. So so the thing that the thing that blew me away when I when I saw ADP talk about this was that you don’t have to follow the hierarchy to manage a group. Great, this HCM to is not org chart dependent.

[00:17:57] So you can instantly start monitoring a project group that is cross-functional and didn’t exist before yesterday. I got started today and this picking up steam as if it were any other organization. You can just do that or you can or you can track and watch the sort of aggregate behavior of a demographic subset in the organization.

[00:18:22] And so there’s a great deal of difference that I haven’t seen elsewhere. Just haven’t seen it.

[00:18:29] Stacey Harris: [00:18:29] That’s my feeling as well. I mean, that’s definitely because I was hoping to see some really new and engaging things at a chart act as your night. I saw some interesting stuff and we talked about paychecks last week and I thought some of the stuff that they were doing is really fabulous and should have four where they’re at in the market a lot of really cool stuff with wearables and Geo tracking and and and their new user interfaces.

[00:18:50] I saw some really interesting stuff. No come out of what we’re seeing happening in the time management space in the the sort of workforce management stays but this is I think the most serve different that’s that’s my take on it. But do you think they can actually a lot of what they’re talking about seems really great.

[00:19:06] Do you think it’s actually achievable? Do you think that the technology can do what they’re saying it can do for everyone? Yes. Yes,

[00:19:12] John Sumser: [00:19:12] I do. I think I think that they are going to have to spend some significant training energy helping their clients understand how they use the capabilities and what’s interesting.

[00:19:27] So so so there are. Multiple aspects of the story right one of the aspects of the stories. They’ve built this it’s even smaller chunks than something you might consider modules is this architecture that is easy to configure and that has affordances. So that clients can build their own stuff. Like I saw first time I’ve ever seen a client usable chatbot designer.

[00:19:53] Yeah, that’s him better than the same thing as is this broad ability to decide what’s a group that you’re going to manage on the Fly just cuz you need to rather than you having to go through some laborious process to get there. It’s possible that they’ve done some things that will make the transition to a data-oriented HR department easier for their clients.

[00:20:19] To Vassar with the pudding, but it looks to me like this can facilitate the movement to Super data-centric HR. Yeah,

[00:20:28] Stacey Harris: [00:20:28] no, it is worth noting that probably more more. I would say than half. I mean most of their current 600,000 and customers are already on a cloud application which is fairly new and and and got a pretty good new architecture called Workforce Now.

[00:20:44] My question I think we were talking about this is is this technology for those customers or is it more for their top 10 or 20% in size organizations their Enterprise customers as they call them who are often times shared by very large corporations like a workday Oracle or sap both in the form of either payroll or core hrms are other applications.

[00:21:06] So that’s another piece of this picture which is who is this technology for right?

[00:21:10] John Sumser: [00:21:10] Yep, I think there’s an interesting struggles is too large word, but the competition for market share is getting more aggressive and louder. You know with 800,000 clients you sort of have to ask yourself who isn’t an ADP client

[00:21:33] Stacey Harris: [00:21:33] in one way or another.

[00:21:35] Yeah.

[00:21:36] John Sumser: [00:21:36] Yeah. Yeah, there’s so much bigger than anybody else that it’s crazy. That one is tempted to see them as less successful than some of the smaller operations and so they are in the middle of a sort of a hairy little I’m going. Aggressive competition for the small the medium Market while they are with these products.

[00:22:01] I think expanding into the other price faced with a vengeance.

[00:22:05] Stacey Harris: [00:22:05] Yeah, and the way you can pair that you know that conversation about sort of 800,000 companies right than organization has and I think the probably the next biggest one. I think I have double check but probably be paycheck with their I think they’re in that range somewhere that maybe three four five hundred thousand or something like that.

[00:22:22] But the other side of that picture is the number of employees, right? So they may have 800,000 companies but most of those companies are maybe ten employees are less than some cases, right? And then you look at someone like workday who just recently has Walmart being installed on their platform with 2.1 million employees in that data set is that the other side of this picture right which is the largest companies on one platform versus a lot of small companies and other platform and how those kind of organizations have to differ or stay the same and some ways,

[00:22:55] John Sumser: [00:22:55] right.

[00:22:56] So much of the experience of the organization and of the individual employee is tied to the software vendor that it’s really really important to understand that that when you make a choice you’re choosing the world that your employees will live in and each of the vendors offers. Unique point of view about what’s important.

[00:23:20] And so what you have to do is try to figure out how to discover what they think is important and whether or not that aligns with you and it’s a challenging thing

[00:23:29] Stacey Harris: [00:23:29] the one group we haven’t mentioned at all in all of our sort of conversation about what happened HR Tack and some of the things that are coming out this week.

[00:23:36] Is the recruiting phase there was as I said a a bit of money here for talena, which is an AI technology recruitment company 6.5 million dollar funding round by Ibex Partners Monday. We’ve got artificial intelligence and recruiting and and the whole bit but I was my sense of what’s happening in the recruiting space feels like everybody’s saying the same thing the first integrated platform.

[00:23:57] Everybody has the first integrated platform for recruiting right now. I didn’t see a lot of new news of everything felt like it was sort of a rehash of artificial intelligence matching connections. Those type of things probably the most interesting thing. I heard was from greenhouse and they were talking a little bit about how they’re thinking about reorganizing some of their support based off of the maturity of organizations versus the size of organizations, which is what we were just talking about right.

[00:24:22] Did you see anything from the recruiting space that just blew your socks off this year?

[00:24:26] John Sumser: [00:24:26] No,

[00:24:27] Stacey Harris: [00:24:27] no.

[00:24:28] John Sumser: [00:24:28] No, I think there’s some things that are coming right and you know, it’s an environment where all the names are terrible, but there are because the heart of the recruiting system problem is really a data integration issue the companies that are doing data integration.

[00:24:46] Don’t get to put out much in the way of sexy press releases. We made one more we made sense out of what more pile of we are data. That’s a good against to the in that way. But that’s where the action is. Right? That’s where the action isn’t Loop Talent continues to to do just amazing things with data transformation that that allows you to not have to clean so much.

[00:25:16] Hiring higher score hired score has a pretty interesting way of getting at matching and and hiring solved. I’m probably butchering the names is doing astonishing work with a quiet kind of integration of a lot of different pieces part of what’s happening is there are now like 30 different ways 30 different kinds of software that you can use to get recruiting done.

[00:25:45] And so and so there isn’t a this this is why the tagline single provider works. So well is there isn’t a industry leader, although for some people is doing a good job of trying to become them, but there isn’t really an industry leader who’s the dominant player of next-generation work. We’re going to old and they’re bigger than an 80s and sometimes just shit on top of an 80s and have everything from very sophisticated matching.

[00:26:14] David calls to programmatic advertising and and and lots of communications stuff in between. And so it’s a part of what you’re seeing is it’s a very very complicated mesh in the recruiting ecosystem and there hasn’t really been anybody to come along and say Here’s how all that stuff goes together.

[00:26:39] Stacey Harris: [00:26:39] No, I think it’s a great way of explaining it because it because it is and they’re all doing in their own right sort of unique things that other applications would love to do but it’s just feels like it’s in such a small Niche area. It’s such just a focus on just the new hires or finding the right candidate that it is.

[00:26:53] Like you said it it becomes more complex and nuanced than maybe it’s easier to put into a headline. But my only request is please no more hired x-rite or so many different versions of those titles and names, you know, When you come up with at least with like some of the other ones that have been out like the Phenom people in the items, that’s at least they come up with sort of a different name what we just do recommend that but that’s

[00:27:17] John Sumser: [00:27:17] So we’re through our time and it’s been another great conversation Stacey. Thanks for doing this.

[00:27:24] Stacey Harris: [00:27:24] Definitely. We had a good time last week and next week we’ll both be calling in, I think we’re going to be at Workday’s Workday Rising event. So, people can hear us from there. And then after that, we’ve got a couple other events that we will be doing that we will tell everybody about so, yeah, it’ll be a good couple of weeks on the road will have some updates for everybody.

[00:27:40] John Sumser: [00:27:40] Great. Thanks everybody. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you back here next week. Bye. Bye now.

[00:27:55] Stacey Harris: [00:27:55] Bye.