Q&A with HR Tech Influencer Jeanne Achille


Jeanne Achille
Founder and CEO
The Devon Group


What’s the single most dramatic shift you see happening in the HR tech space today?

It’s hard to identify a single shift because the HR tech space is so vibrant and dynamic. The one that intrigues me the most is the use of blockchain as a transformative technology. Previously, there was a lot of confusion around this technology because it was being associated with bitcoin. Au contraire. The potential for blockchain far exceeds one manifestation: in a recent Deloitte survey, 53% of respondents see blockchain as a top-five strategic priority, which is a jump on 10 percentage points over 2018. The use cases include background screening, skills matching, payroll and sourcing. For employees, it represents the portability of one’s employment credentials such as performance reviews, learning and development, and benefits.

In acquiring and implementing new technologies, what’s the one or two most common mistakes HR organizations make?

HR operates under a lot of pressure. Few business disciplines deal with the range of people, problems, deadlines and expectations. Sometimes HR technology buying decisions are made without a solid assessment of the impact across the enterprise. Other times, decisions are made point-in-time to fix an isolated problem that might be related to broken workflows. Multifaceted organization mapping–with a watchful eye on culture, candidates, employees and skills–should be an integral part of acquiring and implementing new technologies. It will not only serve as a roadmap; it will uncover opportunities and redundancies.

How is HR technology changing the way people work?

I’d argue this question should be flipped. It’s people who are changing HR technology. Years ago, whatever HR and the organization dictated became the norm. So, if your job included being issued a swell 7 lb. laptop, so be it. You lugged it around and did your job. Newer entrants into the workforce–especially those who are digital natives–won’t stand for less than a consumer-grade “bring your own device” experience in HR technology. It’s the key driver behind vendors scrambling to up their game and HR departments trying to complete digital transformations in a reasonable timeframe. The quality of the employee experience can make or break the employer brand. No organization can be an employer of choice if workers are forced to interact with outdated technologies.