Highlights of HR Tech 2019

Highlights of HR Tech 2019

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Another HR Tech conference has come and gone—and like previous years, the week-long event had an abundance of insight to offer about the HR universe.

Didn’t get a chance to attend this year’s conference? We’ve got you covered.

Our team attended various sessions covering a range of HR topics—from culture trends to talent acquisition—and we’re here to share our learnings with you. Here are the trends we saw at HR Tech this year:

1.  Employees want to be a part of the HR process

Over the past decade, HR has completely transformed from a department that manages paperwork and work disputes to one that puts its people front and center. The shift in dynamics from prioritizing the business to putting employees first has made company culture a must-have, not a nice-to-have anymore.

But the most significant change in the HR game is now employees want to be a part of the company culture they so strongly desire. That poses the question, how do you involve employees in the process without hiring them under a formal HR title?

The solution is simpler than you’d think. To build a truly great people-first culture, you have to give your employees a safe space to provide feedback, recognize and reward their efforts, and pass out the occasional survey to document how things are going. By putting the company culture in the hands of your employees, you are empowering them to make the changes they deem necessary for a healthy and productive workspace.

2. The war for talent starts with experience

Like HR departments, the talent acquisition game has also changed dramatically over the years. To win the war on talent, you have to focus on the employee experience in every stage of the employee lifecycle, specifically the hiring and onboarding process. Why’s that?

At HR Tech, we learned that 30 percent of employees said their job was way different than what was told to them during the interview process. That disparity in expectations can negatively impact an employee’s experience, which means they might have one foot out the door as soon as they arrive.

The best way to avoid miscommunication of this nature is to streamline your hiring and onboarding processes with technology. The WorkTango Employee Experience Platform, for example, offers  Recognition & Rewards, Surveys & Insights, and Goals & Feedback (a modern approach to performance management) software to help onboard new employees and get them engaged right from the beginning of the employee lifecycle. This all-in-one system gives new hires the opportunity to share first impressions k with 30,60, and 90-day survey feedback. Insights help managers spot gaps and opportunities for better onboarding. Weekly one-on-one Sync-Ups and quarterly Check-In technology helps to keep new hires on track and documents the new hire experience to help you measure their onboarding success. 

Leveraging WorkTango’s Recognition & Rewards software helps new hires feel welcomed immediately in a fun and engaging way. Moreover, our Incentives feature allows you to reward actions that reinforce your organization’s mission and values and in turn, create a welcoming experience for the newest teammate. By stepping up as a buddy or taking a new hire to lunch, for instance, peers and leaders are gifted with points that can be used to purchase items and experiences of their choice..

3. Generalists are on the rise

Josh Bersin, everyone’s favorite HR technology analyst and president of Bersin & Associates, stated that “the old career model is over. Generalists are going to rule the world—not specialists.” 

Our take on this topic is that more and more employees are focused on learning the skills at work that will both develop their careers and keep them interested and motivated in their work. Which means more people will gain skills in more areas, rather than specializing in narrow topics. 

What’s the pro in being a jack-of-all-trades, but a master of none? Generalists are able to find and add value to more projects than specialists—just think about it. Companies are growing and hiring at a rapid pace, but it’s hard to hire a specialist for every need. A generalist can do the job of more than one person, and that can be a game-changer for start-ups or smaller companies who have large challenges to tackle but only a few head counts.

This idea also creates an interesting challenge for businesses. Traditional career growth and promotion models may need to be adjusted. In his session, Josh suggested that as employees become more focused on getting more out of their career, employee growth plans become less linear and more of a Z shape.

Take a look at this slide, snapped by one of our teammates during the live session. The orange triangle in the background is what you could consider more of a traditional growth plan. The gray boxes that overlay the orange are Josh’s example of what we’re seeing in today’s workforce—it’s not a clear upward progression. Employees’ desire to tackle stretch goals and focus on what motivates them creates an experience that sometimes includes lateral moves. Employees are gaining more skills in areas that are not directly related to their primary role and becoming more generalized as they progress in their careers.

4. Companies need to foster growth from within

Another eye-opening remark from Josh Bersin was that in a recent survey “employees said it was easier finding a job outside of the company than it was inside.”

Let’s face it. Today’s job market is hot. It seems that everyone is hiring (and everyone is looking). How can companies strike a balance between finding external candidates and fostering growth opportunities for the workforce they already have?

At WorkTango, we believe that a lot of this can be solved by focusing on the employee experience throughout the employee lifecycle. Create a culture and environment where employees are engaged and bought into the company itself. Promote growth opportunities within the business by leveraging managers as coaches, focusing on continuous feedback as a learning and development opportunity, and communicating hiring opportunities to expose the talent that could be hiding in plain sight.

Want to learn more about HR Tech 2019, or stay up-to-date on the latest HR trends? Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to receive extra coverage of the event and more.



WorkTango is the employee experience platform built for the modern workplace.