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2011 HR Technology Europe: Back to the Basics

This week marked the first-ever HR Technology Show in Europe, held in Amsterdam.  Like its namesake in the United States, the show strives to bring together many of the top minds and vendors in HR – and the show didn’t disappoint.

The show featured much of what you’d expect: discussions about HR integration, globalization, social, mobile, and gamification. As pointed out by Thomas Otter from Gartner, HR has been wrongly branded as lagging behind in technology.  In fact, HR was the first to drive the selection of many enterprise applications.

But for all the presentations, the most impactful things heard during the show were about the basics.  It’s easy to get drawn into all the “new” stuff in the industry.  But if you don’t truly know how to use the latest and greatest, doesn’t it even matter?  Or have no idea how to measure it, what’s the point?

HR is in charge of the most valuable asset for companies today: people.  Without the right talent, none of the top products across all industries would be created.  Yes, top leadership is important.  Yes, the late Steve Jobs was a visionary.  But there would be no iPad or iPhone without the extraordinary talent that Steve and the rest of his leadership team found, cultivated, and developed.  They were the ones who created the culture of innovation, which in turn enabled and drove the awesome products that followed.

So when it comes to HR technologies, it ultimately comes down to a few key questions, which should guide all product/service evaluations):

*   Why am I looking at this specific HR tool – what problems are you addressing?

*   How will the program/tool be measured?  Business goals? Retention/engagement rates?   How will it be reported to senior management?

*   What is the impact on culture, retention, and engagement?  Those three areas are everyone’s responsibility in HR.  The success of your company is contingent upon your culture and levels of engagement. High levels there in turn attract more talent…and so the cycle begins.

*   Will the vendor help you be successful?  Be your partner?

    Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, one of the key pieces of advice from the show is to involve others. You can’t be successful without many people across the organization.  Be honest and forthright about the challenges you are trying to address.  Because if you want that winning culture, to quote Jerome Ternynck from SmartRecruiters (a speaker at the show),  “transparency brings better behaviors.”  Quite true indeed.

     


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