@TheOneCrystal: My Top 3 Technology Finds from HR Technology 2013 #HRTechconf

Once again, HCI vendors, analysts, and HR executives made the annual pilgrimage to Vegas... not to gamble, but to see what's new, what's exciting and deem what's important in HR Tech.  For my part, I work in Talent Attraction / Recruiting, so I pay particular attention to technology in that arena, which accounted for approximately 7% of the exhibiting companies this year.  Even still, I met with approximately 23 different solution providers about their platform offerings.  
Here's a rundown on my "top 3" finds:
1)  Loop  -  This is, without a doubt, the most interesting technology find of the year for me and has had pretty fantastic reception from the analysts and consultants I've pointed to them to "gut-check" my initial reaction to their offering.  John Hancock, CEO of Loop, will tell you they fancy themselves to be a "telecommunications company for HR," but don't let that throw you off.  They're a communications platform and quite frankly?  They will rock your talent attraction process - internally and externally - here's how:

Yes, they also have a mobile apply feature, but there's 2 parts to Loop that I want to hit on:  their text messaging platform, which is part of their Mobile Career Tools and their newest offering, which they call "Engage."  The text messaging function is certainly not new, and on it's own might not rock your socks off - but it's one of the smoother programs I've seen.  From a cost perspective, they're less expensive and provide a better candidate experience than any of their competitors in the space that I have come across thus far by personalizing the process to the candidate in a series of leading questions.  The data collected stays with the system, thus "learning" that candidate and providing what's relevant to them without blowing up their phone... keeping you compliant with the newly changed CAN laws (head's up, they're changing again the 16th of this month).

The second piece of their offering is "Engage:"  this is a mobilization of the apply and ongoing recruitment communications process that's simply brilliant.  You can share the job description, of course, but you can also use simple gamification  features to help gauge initial culture fit w/ a candidate, test for knowledge and skill level, poll for interest in opportunities and receive not only reporting directly into your CRM/ATS on accuracy of responses, but the speed in which the questions were answered as well.  The system also has gamification features, such as a leaderboard, which can be of help with adoption and building a little friendly competition with ERPs.

On the back-end, the analytics are equally impressive.

All in all, this is a technology offering whose time has not only come, but is backed with a founder-leader who has a thorough knowledge of the recruitment function, the legal advisement necessary to keep its users on-top of issues and knowledge needed to navigate the telecommunications space with candidates, and a robust feature-set to help progressive organizations completely differentiate their candidate experience by balancing the candidate wants necessary to keep them engaged to fill the organizational talent needs.  Check them out, and when you do, be sure to tell John I said hello. ;)

2)  Clear Company  -  Bersin's report on 2014 Predictions was weighted heavily on HR's need to be more "business integrated" and Clear Company's performance management platform does exactly that.  While this start-up's launch pitch still needs fine-tuning, the purpose, design and functionality makes perfect sense.  Simply put, Clear Company focuses on the reason businesses have employees to begin with:  to achieve a business purpose and then drills down into the work goals needed to accomplish them.  Their mission?  To help companies recoup the 40% bleed-out that the average company experiences from lost payroll productivity.

I'll give you a moment to take that in:  the average company wastes 40% of its payroll - because that's the amount of time in the average work day/week/year that the typical employee is engaged in activities NOT associated with work associated to achieving the business purposes/objectives they were brought in to do in the first place.

In all candor, I truly have an apathy for most performance management systems.  Many are cumbersome, clunky, and have a lot of unnecessary data that they want to collect that the employee doesn't quite know why it's being asked for or how it's ultimately used in improving the performance of their career. Gamification, when applied, seems to focus on the wrong areas in an effort to gain user adoption, and ironically often still fails to meet that objective. However, the project management features associated with Clear Company alone made me want to get this for my team.

Each user on the team being able to then look up to see how their work impacts the work objectives and current projects of the other members of the department and even peek in on other departments to understand WHAT they do and how that impacts overall organizational goals (and make comments/ask questions about it) was simply the icing on the "collaborative cake."

Not convinced?  Talk with the Dale Carnegie organization, who can't seem to get enough of it. And when it comes to productivity and engagement, didn't they literally write the book?

3)  Modern Survey - To say that I was excited about the possibilities that Modern Survey offered my own organization would be a bit of an understatement - it actually made me downright giddy,  Data, from the collection to the subsequent analyzation and alignment for use in meeting program/organizational objectives is an often under-appreciated part of Talent Attraction and Acquisition outside of the "Big Three Conversion Set"

1). Clicks
2). Applies
3). Cost-Per-App/Cost-Per-Hire

Clearly, there's far more to a good program than those metrics... Especially if you're creating or retooling a employer branding or recruitment marketing campaign, or adjusting a kink in your recruitment process.  Don McPherson helps you take the problem you're trying to solve for and create a series of questions you need to poll your audience set to get the data you need to create an appropriate solution.   This help makes a complex process simple and branded in a way much smoother than a SurveyMonkey poll ever could hope to be.  Here's a run-down of the features set:
  • Proprietary survey items
  • Accessible via mobile
  • Intuitive reporting
  • Data mining tool to drill down into the demographic groups and explore discovered trends.
  • Post-Survey action planning module to help you simplify change management and act on the results.
The implications into how this could help you reengage your employees (of whom over 60% at any given time are disengaged from their job, thus not as productive as they could be) is fantastic.  How that data could then be used to help your organization optimize its talent attraction campaigns?  Even better.  Check them out - this is money that would be well spent & Don seems to be a great guy to work with who really understands the point of what to do with the "big data" you're collecting from your organization.
There you have it.  There's an honorable mention for Zoomforth that I'd like to make, but as I don't think they were technically presenting at HRTech, I'm saving that for a separate post.  Look for it next week along with my take from LinkedIn's Talent Connect conference, happening this week in Las Vegas.

Views: 1573

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on October 14, 2013 at 2:33pm

Thanks, Crystal. Which of these 3 (or the other 20 tools you saw) make an internal recruiter's work easier, better and/or more enjoyable?



Comment by Crystal Miller on October 14, 2013 at 3:13pm

Keith,  all three of them have the ability to make an internal recruiter's work easier, better and more enjoyable.  Here's how: 

Loop:  allows for much smoother communication.  Seriously, test out the text part of the platform: 

To see a demo: text 'demo' to 90206

On the engage side, think about how much enjoyable working a candidate through the process would be if you a) knew they "got" the culture that you as a recruiter shared with them and b) self-identified that they "fit it" through knowledge testing?  Loop Engage can help with that.  

Modern Survey allows for you to survey candidate experience, which arguably can improve your work over time.  It could also allow you to survey your candidate pool on drivers, what's important to them, etc - which can help you craft communications campaigns, discover new networks/places to mine for candidates, etc. 

I'll be writing more on the other 20 tools in the coming weeks! :) 

Comment by Crystal Miller on October 14, 2013 at 3:14pm

Oh, Clear Company can help make your work more enjoyable by helping other parts of the company better understand what you do and helping you stay on top of your work. :)  It's probably worth the disclaimer that none of these 3 products are likely purchased at the individual contributor level, though.

Comment by Tim Spagnola on October 14, 2013 at 4:17pm
Loop looks interesting indeed. Thanks for sharing Crystal. I will need to look into this a bit more. Nice to have your voice in the RBC mix.
Comment by Keith D. Halperin on October 14, 2013 at 8:32pm

Thanks, Crystal. I'll need to see more and I appreciate the link to the demo. It sounds like Loop could do a lot of useful things, but would it work with my existing ATS or would I have to get a new one? Also, there's the rule of thumb that says: "If you have time to worry about an applicant's cultural fit, you don't have enough reqs."

Clear Company: "Performance management" tool sounds like "micro-management" tool to me...

Modern: Survey: a good sounding employment-branding tool, but that sort of thing is to recruiting what marketing is to sales. If recruiting bosses cared about CE, they'd hire $2.00/hr Virtual Candidate Care Assistants to make sure each and every applicant had a professional (and possibly pleasant) application experience.

Did any of these vendors actually survey recruiters to see what RECRUITERS want in a product?  I want things that  no-source (eliminate), through-source (automate), or out-source (send away) the brain dead, low-touch, low value add boring and unpleasant activities we do, so we can concentrate on the high-touch high value-add interesting and enjoyable aspects of recruiting.

Thanks, Again,




Comment by Crystal Miller on October 17, 2013 at 6:20pm

Thank you, Tim!  I was really impressed by it and Clear Company was actually noted in Forbes following HRTech.  Keith, if I knew you "offline" then your comment would have spurred me to pick the phone up and invite you out to coffee to discuss why you believe what you wrote in response re:  rule of thumb.  

But, I don't - so, will comment here:  that "rule of thumb" applies to transactional recruiters at best, and it's quite narrow in thinking.  If you're not paying attention to potential cultural fit (at least at the "big rocks" level), then as a corporate recruiter you're likely costing your company money... it's certainly not helping attrition rates.  As an agency recruiter, paying attention to cultural fit is a big part of what allows you to charge more and gain repeat business... because you're doing a very valuable service for your clients (as you get to know them and have done thorough intake calls/meetings, this gets easier).  

To the point of your questions:  no, you would not need to get a new ATS for Loop and actually, that particular vendor worked in the Staffing Industry, so yes, I believe he is in-touch with what recruiters/HR departments want & need in this particular product.  

Be careful what you wish for in the desire for elimination of sourcing and automation.  While you may not see value in them, employers do (or you likely wouldn't be doing them).   

Comment by Crystal Miller on October 17, 2013 at 6:24pm

Keith - btw, I am assuming you're kidding about the $2/hr virtual assistant for Candidate Care - the cost/hire implications aren't fabulous and frankly, that's a big part of a recruiter's job.  You can automate (or semi-automate) messaging that helps keep the candidate "in the loop" and create a positive experience with very little effort.   Also, recruiting?  Is marketing and sales combined... so... there's that. 

Modern Survey - very good EB tool, but it's also good for the segment just below EB:  recruitment marketing.  If your organization (or client, if you're agency) is having difficulties recruiting in any particular job segment, or are feeling a competitive pinch, then doing a survey of your talent network/database to better understand the market reputation of your company to that segment of your pipeline population, their motivational drivers, etc ... that can REALLY help you tighten up your message and understand where some "stop-gaps" may exist that the organization will need to deal with in order to become more successful in its Talent Attraction & Acquisition efforts.  Modern Survey can help you do that. 

Hope that helps. :)  Thanks for the lively discussion - Crystal 

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on October 17, 2013 at 9:00pm

Thanks, Crystal. The less F2F time required (aka, the more virtually you can work), the less cultural fit matters. While some things definitely do require actual, non-telepresence face-time, you don't need it 8/5/50 and the less you have to be around someone, the less they have to "fit in". Furthermore, work tenures are often shorter and more transient than they used to be- another argument toward the minimizing of the cultural fit: often somebody unpleasant can be endured if it's known they're not going to be around too long. Fundamentally,my experience with culture is it means: "go find people just like the founders/sr. execs" The vast majority of us out there (particularly in the contractor-placement area ARE transactional, and don't have time to do more than see if someone would definitely NOT get along with those around them.....

As far as the other is concerned: IMHO if you aren't prepared to pay someone $50/hr+ to do a given recruiting task (like mentoring, advising, streamlining/improving recruiting processes, CLOSING), then you can probably no-source (eliminate), through-source (automate), or out-source (send away) it for less than U.S. minimum wage. I am completely serious about getting a pleasant and capable offshore Virtual Candidate  Care Rep for $2.00/hr  to handle everyone a recruiter doesn't want to deal with (at the moment) and help make those people feel respected and valued. You can probably automate much of that for less than $2.00/hr, but often we like to speak to a real person for our problems, concerns, feedback, and unless I'm moving forward with someone at the moment, I'd just assume that person not be me....

Modern Survey sounds like a useful tool- it's just not one for recruiters who have to" put quality butts in chairs right now" has time to use. I think that if you gave a demo to most internal or 3P recruiters, while they might think it a good tool, I doubt many would put it high up on the list of things that would make their own jobs  better in the short run.


Please keep writing....




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