Closes in 10 seconds skip ×

3 takeaways from Day 2 of HR Tech

Despite the pandemic, innovation hasn’t stopped, purpose has grown in importance, and talent and skills are more important than ever, conference attendees heard.
By: | October 28, 2020 • 3 min read

The virtual HR Technology Conference & Exposition continued Wednesday with speakers and demos and important discussions for HR and tech leaders. And although we weren’t gathered in Las Vegas as usual, the usual joy at seeing longtime friends and colleagues, even if it was on a virtual platform, was still there. And so were the a-ha moments, in live chat, when attendees recognized their own accomplishments, opportunities and frustrations in the sessions they attended.

The event continued with speakers and demos and important discussions for HR and tech leaders. And although we weren’t gathered in Las Vegas as usual, the usual joy at seeing longtime friends and colleagues, even if it was on a virtual platform, was still there. And so were the a-ha moments, in live chat and on social media, when attendees recognized their own accomplishments, opportunities and frustrations in the sessions they attended.

Conversations didn’t stray far from COVID-19 and its impact on the world of work—and everything else. But some things remain just as important now as they were a year ago, even if the approach might be different.

Here are three top themes that emerged Wednesday:

  1. Purpose is good for business.

HR Tech keynote speaker Stacia Garr discussed Wednesday the intersection of purpose, HR and business.

HR leaders and HR technology vendors both have vital roles to play in the increasingly important work to integrate purpose into an organization. The pandemic and the social unrest this year have made that even more apparent, researcher and analyst Stacia Garr said during her keynote this morning. Whether its attracting and hiring talent, enabling a purpose-focused employee experience, developing talent and connecting employees with the organization’s purpose, or retaining workers, HR practitioners and vendors have an opportunity here that starts with understanding and ends with integration.

  1. COVID-19 is accelerating talent management tech.

Delta’s Myria Peek presents during the 2020 virtual HR Tech Conference.

Internal talent mobility has been a nice conversation piece among HR leaders and businesses, until now. As the pandemic forces businesses to restructure and reassign people to new roles virtually overnight, finding quick and effective ways to shift talent has become critical, Deloitte’s Sona Manzo said during her session. Early adopters of talent marketplaces, for example, were able to quickly adjust labor to meet rapidly changing needs. And Delta, despite an immediate external hiring freeze, relied on innovative tech from Avature to do just that when pilots and flight attendants weren’t busy but the reservations department was inundated, as Myria Peek of Delta described in her session.

Click here to sign up for HRE’s daily newsletters.

     3. HR and tech innovation are alive and well, thanks to COVID-19.

Words and actions indicate that HR leaders and HR technology vendors see the pandemic as fuel for the digital transformations, innovation and other changes that have long been in the works. All 16 winners of the Top HR Products awards, including the seven solutions featured in this afternoon’s keynote session, delivered products attuned to the needs magnified by COVID. Other silver linings to the pandemic, despite the challenges its brought, surround the humanity in human resources, three leaders said during a roundtable held today by iCIMS. These include a greater focus on HR’s role and value, the urgency of solving for remote long-term and the importance of empathy.

Regarding empathy, particularly around the new work-life reality, iCIMS Chief Marketing Officer Susan Vitale doesn’t mind that it’s now OK to juggle her toddler, after initially trying to keep up pretenses.

“It’s a bit of a relief to say, ‘There’s a lot more going on here and sometimes it’s not all rainbows and unicorns,’ ” she said.

*

The HR Tech Conference features free, virtual content through Oct. 30. There is still time to register. For more information, click HERE.

Elizabeth Clarke is executive editor of Human Resource Executive. She earned a journalism degree from the University of Florida and then spent more than 25 years as a reporter and editor in South Florida before joining HRE. Elizabeth lives with her family in Palm Beach County. She can be reached at eclarke@lrp.com.

More from HRE