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Not Mind-Blowing But Gee Whiz at Tech Show’s Awesomeness Session

Oct 1, 2010
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

HR Tech introduced six companies to a comfortably large gathering of HR professionals and techies Thursday afternoon who gathered to see the “Awesome New Technologies for HR,” as the session was billed.

While there was a “gee whiz” factor to some of them, I don’t know how many  achieved the session’s goal, which was “to blow your mind.” But then, each of the presenters only got 10 minutes for their show and tell.

SocializedHR, with it’s cool (OK, awesome) iPhone app, managed a little buzz, even if the ResuReader app is a solution in search of a problem. As demoed by Peter Levy, CEO of parent company Veechi Corp., a recruiter at a job fair, on a college recruiting visit, or elsewhere who is handed a paper resume need only snap a picture and submit it. The SocializedHR backend parses the data, fields it, and can hand it off to an ATS. Meanwhile the recruiter can rate the candidate, make a few notes in text or voice (or both), snap the candidate’s picture, and have it all integrated into a single profile.

Now the other part of the SocializedHR product is the more useful, if less gadgety. This is the Social Identity Report, which is a compilation of all public information about a candidate (or anyone, presumably), gleaned from a variety of social media sites and other places — even Amazon — and scrubbed of stuff that might be an EEOC or OFCCP violation.

The other gee whiz app came from Versult. Versobile is a smartphone app of particular use for shift workers, hourlies, and those who manage them. Workers can remotely check shift schedules, managers can track hours worked, and, at a glance, find the best fill-ins based on pay scales and OT.

A sort of spooky use was how Versobile uses a phone’s GPS to clock workers, alerting managers to who’s late or, presumably, a complete no-show.

Three of the session’s companies — Aquire InSight, Rypple Feedback, and Jobvite Source — were winners of HR Executive’s products of the year award.

Introduced last year, Jobvite Source is a way to leverage the social media connections of a company’s employees and do it politely and with sophistication. I called it a game-changer when it first made its appearance, and in the time since, it has been enhanced with graphical metrics, hundreds of more social sites where jobs can be posted, and a significant degree of automation. Similar products are popping up, but nothing yet comes close to matching the whole package.

InSight is a SaaS analytics solution that allows for trend analysis at multiple levels of a company, with a drill-down capability that makes it possible to see not only how groups are performing, but zero in on specific units and managerial departments.

In comparison to the pricey InSight ($95,000 just to get started), eThority, the other analytics firm to demo, has no licensing fees. (Don’t read that to mean it’s free, though.) That’s certainly enticing, but so was the demo by CEO Mike Psenka. He flew through a variety of ways eThority lets a company view its data, showing how in just a few seconds a manager can see whether a college degree made for a higher grossing sales person. (It didn’t.)

Finally, Rypple Feedback presented an interesting way to enable collaborative performance feedback. Peers can provide public “atta boys” and private performance reviews to their colleagues. Managers get visibility into the activity of their team. It’s very specifically intended to help them in coaching and developing individuals. A nice touch in the demo was noting that managers, as well as individual team members, can ask specific groups for feedback, know who they asked, but get the feedback anonymously. And, while anonymity is still maintained, engage in a dialog with the anonymous evaluator.

It’s a tool for smaller firms that have fostered the kind of culture where collaboration is freely and widely encouraged.

Publisher’s Note: The HR Technology Conference is one of the most influential events in our profession, so ERE.net has devoted significant coverage to it. John Zappe wrote two other articles from the floor of the show, and you can read them here and here. Raghav Singh weighed in with his opinion, and John Hollon at our sister publication for HR professionals, TLNT.com, wrote a wrap-up of the event.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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