During yet another challenging year, 2021 was a time of remarkable innovation for HR technology companies.
That is the big takeaway from the HR Technology Conference and Human Resource Executive’s Top HR Products of the Year competition.
“Going into the process, I was expecting that due to the pandemic we would see fewer submissions and not as many truly innovative new technologies,” says competition co-chair and HR Tech Conference program chair Steve Boese. “But that was not the case. We had more submissions in 2021 than in 2020, and as a whole, the quality of the technology solutions was outstanding.”
We received about 110 submissions, which our panel of judges reviewed, and, after trimming the list, saw in action during demos before bestowing 13 products with the honor of Top HR Product for 2021.
Here are three things we learned from the judging process:
- The pace of HR tech innovation remains fast, and the quality of work continues to be high, despite the devastating effects of COVID-19 on workplaces everywhere, including those creating these solutions.
“Despite some obviously challenging times for all organizations, as a rule, the HR technology solution providers remained focused on their customers and in building new or enhancing existing solutions, which was incredibly impressive,” Boese says. “In conversations with many HR technology leaders, we found that they were able to manage the disruptions and the quick pivot to remote working very efficiently and successfully.”
- Industry leaders were paying attention in 2020, bringing timely and much-needed solutions this year that address not only myriad COVID-related pain points for HR leaders but those surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion efforts across organizations.
- Large companies and start-ups alike have been putting their best minds at work to solve important problems, particularly around DEI, talent worries amid the “Great Resignation” and employee experience topics.
“I would also note that almost all of the largest, most experienced HR technology providers showcased new and interesting innovations this year,” Boese says. “This was noteworthy in that, for quite some time, we have seen new innovations in HR tech being driven from the start-up community. This year was one where having depth and resources benefited these large organizations to maintain their development schedules and roadmaps.”
Here are the 2021 Top HR Products of the Year:
About the competition
Top HR Products of the Year was managed in concert by the experts at Human Resource Executive® and the program chair of the HR Technology Conference with the goal of spotlighting the most innovative new solutions on the market that are helping business leaders meet the ever-evolving HR needs of their organizations.
To be eligible, tools must have been developed within the last year and be generally available this fall. Submissions were judged on four factors:
- their innovation in the HR tech space, with particular attention to how the tools are breaking new ground;
- how much value they add to the HR function;
- how intuitive they are for users;
- and whether they deliver what they promise.
As always, we encourage readers to perform their own due diligence before making any investments.