HR Tech 2019: Five takeaways from this year’s conference

Although the jam-packed 2019 HR Technology Conference and Exposition ended Friday, the lessons learned and the connections made will continue all year. And so will coverage of related topics and trends from the Human Resource Executive team that spent last week covering all aspects of the Las Vegas event.

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But for now, here are five quick conference takeaways from the HRE team.

Let us know your top HR Tech takeaways and what topics you’d like us to delve into more deeply for you throughout the upcoming year. Email us at [email protected] or contact us via social media.

The primacy of the employee experience in HR Tech

Industry leader Josh Bersin delivered the opening keynote address Wednesday morning at HR Tech at the Venetian in Las Vegas.

“Vendors are focusing their attention on ‘employee-centric tools’ that operate within Microsoft Outlook, Slack, Salesforce and other widely used tools.” —Josh Bersin (See video here.)


The quality of your data matters more than ever

Talent expert and author Marcus Buckingham gives the Thursday keynote at HR Tech, addressing.

What you learned in traditional HR textbooks doesn’t necessarily hold up in the real world, especially now in a tight labor market. Rely on what you see in the real world, advised Marcus Buckingham, and use only good data to build your tools.

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The comprehensive power of data

Carin Taylor, chief diversity officer for Workday, speaks during Workday’s opening session of the Women in HR Technology Summit at the Venetian on Oct. 1, 2019, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Isaac Brekken for Human Resource Executive)

More and more companies are realizing the potential that workforce data can have to not only personalize the employee experience but to make deep inroads in areas like diversity and belonging. These efforts are poised to have lasting effects on both retainment and recruitment.


A disconnect between HR, workers on the ‘employee experience’

HR Tech Top 100 Influencer Mervyn Dinnen notes that workers often don’t see each work experience as a separate event.

While HR leaders tend to think of each piece of an employee’s job experience as its own separate event (onboarding/annual review/etc.), it’s important to remember that, as HR Tech Top Influencer Mervyn Dinnen noted, workers often don’t see it that way. “For the employee, it’s one seamless journey for them and, unfortunately, we’ve been sectionalizing it.”


Employers need to evolve their HR tech strategy

Analyst Jason Averbook, CEO and cofounder of Leapgen, speaks about the difference between digital and technological transformations.

Most employers have already bought into the value of HR technology. The next transformation is ensuring that employers are continually evaluating and changing their technology to get the most out of it. “It’s what you do inside your company that matters, not the technology,” said Stacey Harris, vice president of research and analytics at Sierra-Cedar. That sentiment was shared by Jason Averbook, industry analyst and CEO and cofounder of LeapGen, who said HR professionals need to nurture their technologies to create a true digital strategy. “A lot of us are used to putting in pieces of technology and letting them sit,” Averbook said. “You have to treat investments in tech more like a pet than a rock. You need to look at it every day and measure its success.”

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Elizabeth Clarke
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 [email protected].