6 HR tech start-ups changing the company culture, EX market

This last year brought HR a plethora of new obstacles to overcome–from increasing employee stress related to the pandemic and social unrest to new demands for learning and employee connection driven by the new remote environment. As the dust only just begins to settle, employers can look to HR tech innovations born from the hardships for help navigating these challenges.

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Featured at the first-ever Spring HR Technology Conference & Exposition®, running through Friday, a Spotlight Session titled Six Emerging HR Tech Start-Ups to Put On Your Radar Nowintroduced a handful of these new tools.

Mental health

Unmind can help HR put a finger on the pulse of the overall wellbeing of an organization’s employees.

The platform offers employees bite-sized, interactive courses to measure their calmness and happiness. Employees are then directed to in-the-moment tools or audio/video messages to help with things like focus or sleep.

And employers have access to a real-time dashboard highlighting anonymous data, including number of registrants and active users.

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“We need to stop thinking about mental health as binary–you either have it or you don’t–but as a spectrum, where some days we are surviving, other days we are thriving,” an Unmind representative said during the live demo.

Hiring talent

Two new platforms featured in the session look to help employers hire in a growing virtual world.

Hourly is designed to help organizations quickly connect managers with hourly candidates, hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Teams that do hiring, most often managers, aren’t HR experts, yet find themselves with recruiting responsibilities tagged on to all their other operational concerns–which are now compounded by added safety and compliance demands, too,” said Quincy Valencia, vice president of product innovation at Hourly.

A key design principle is to remove the waste upfront, she noted. If the Hourly chatbot can’t answer a question or senses frustration, a live support team seamlessly takes over the conversation and guides the applicant through the process.

Additionally, PredictiveHire uses its AI capabilities to analyze the responses of five conversational questions posed to candidates.

To help maintain or improve employer brand, every candidate–whether their application is successful or not–receives insights into their responses along with coaching tips.

“Instead of having people receive the standardized ‘Thank you for applying’ messages, you have the ability to send every single candidate–whether it’s a thousand or a million–personalized feedback within a few minutes of them applying,” CEO Barbara Hyman said.

“It’s the end of ghosting,” she added.

Coaching the transitions

And when the time comes that employees and employers separate, be it through resignation or layoff, FutureFit AI’s platform is there to help facilitate the transition and coach employees on their next career move, whether it’s internal or external.

“Companies are reimagining layoffs because, as the digital transformation accelerates, the frequency and size of layoffs is only going to increase, while simultaneously the transparency and public scrutiny is also increasing around the negative impacts that layoffs have,” Taylor Stockton, FutureFit AI’s COO, said at Spring HR Tech.

The platform generates a set of personalized career path suggestions as possible transition paths based on data like skills, job titles and location, he added. The algorithm analyzes not only the data, but careers in the local labor market or within the company that are in highest demand and careers that are expected to grow over time.

Safety and culture

Other vendors showcased in the Spotlight Session include Work Shield, a one-stop shop for the reporting of workplace incidents, which allows organizations to examine them through third-party legal professionals so employers can maintain an impartial investigation.

Also highlighted was Eskalara, a platform that aims to improve employee retention, productivity and growth through fusing HR data with employee sentiment, producing a real-time view of DEI and company culture.

“Best-in-class diversity, equity and inclusion practices are best-in-class people practices,” noted Dane Holmes, Eskalara’s co-founder and CEO. “When you solve the biggest talent challenge–DEI–you can solve any challenge … whether it’s a talent, operational or strategic.”

And DEI involves more than hiring a chief diversity officer or mandating all employees attend a one-hour annual training session, he added. “It’s a total, all-encompassing commitment by the entire organization to do things differently and create a new, improved workplace culture.”

If you missed any of the demonstrations at the Spring HR Technology conference, you can watch them on-demand here.

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Nick Otto
Nick Otto is HRE’s former senior digital editor. He is a professional communicator with more than a decade of demonstrated accomplishments in newspaper and trade publishing. He has spent the past five years covering the employee benefits space and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida.