Q&A with HR Tech Influencer Laszlo Bock


Laszlo Bock


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

Culture has emerged as the biggest creator, and destroyer, of corporate value. Deutsche Bank, Purdue Pharma and Uber are just a few examples. Most companies have stories of failed “agile” transformations or HRIS systems that never delivered on their ROI promises. What’s emerging are better ways to not only measure what matters (hint: it’s not “engagement” or “favorability”) but also transform behavior and the business. At Humu we’ve seen as much as 10% to 15% improvements in productivity, 10% to 40% improvements in attrition, and even bigger leaps in inclusion through smarter measurement and targeted “nudges.” Solving culture at scale is the future of HR tech.

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

HR organizations fall in love with flashy dials and displays. It’s fun to spin the dials on a dashboard and get “real time” data across your screen. But your intranet is not Facebook: the goal shouldn’t be maximize screen time. And the average manager is not going to have better insight than an expert team of HR people and scientists that have been exploring how best to drive performance for a decade or more. Instead, acquire products that are proven to drive the most change with the smallest investment of employee and HR time and intervention.

How is HR technology changing the way people work?

Employee monitoring has expanded far more than most people realize. Companies are mining all their employees’ activities: reading emails, tracking meeting activity, and even how people move around buildings. It’s legal, but most people would be surprised and creeped out to know that “big brother” is documenting every email, meeting, and bathroom break (regardless of whether “big brother” is a person or a machine). For me and my co-founders at Humu, there is a higher standard: a line between what’s appropriate and respectful, and what simply isn’t. Companies would do well to consider this before deploying any new HR technology.