Even though more than two weeks have passed since the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas ended, it seems that the positive vibes from the event continue.
As a futurist, whenever I attend I focus my attention on the technologies that are emerging rather than the mainstream ones that most HR professionals have heard of or that already have a large market presence. At HR Tech these are the folks at the back of hall in the small booths.
As I wandered the back of the hall, I noticed that almost every booth was populated with very young, enthusiastic entrepreneurs. Whether they were the founders, salespeople, or techies, they all had the energy and excitement that comes with an absolute belief in what they are doing and what their technologies will accomplish for the client.
The interesting technology is always at the edges — emerging, still forming, and often in beta, but showing us what will be capturing our attention in a few more years.
I have picked out three products in particular.
This Boston-based company of 20 people exemplifies the creative power of need. One of the co-founders was working for a very large public company and was unsuccessfully looking for a product that would help communicate the strategic objectives of the firm. When he failed to find it, he partnered with a colleague to create Clear Company, which offers a set of modules that provide solutions to a number of complex problems: how do you communicate effectively across an entire organization? How do you make sure everyone knows exactly how he or she contributes to the overall success of the firm? How do you monitor team progress? And how do you measure and report progress?
As a previous HR practitioner, I was once charged with making sure the CEO’s goals were clearly linked to the goals of everyone else in the firm. As simple as this seems, it turns out to be a very difficult task. I spent months traveling around the globe with charts and forms for employees to complete that were designed to link their goals to the corporate goals. While it was an inefficient and slow process, it did sort of work. But how much nicer it would have been to have Clear Company behind me!
Its software helps to clarify roles, define objectives, and create the links between goals throughout the firm and the performance expected. Its user interface is clean and simple, there are examples and help guides, and it makes transparent how everyone is collaborating to achieve the few major goals of the CEO and board.
As Apple has so powerfully demonstrated, design of products and services has become a key factor in success. Products build around efficient code, with user-friendly interfaces, and that are visually exciting almost always outperform other products or services.
Now in a second iteration, greatly expanded and improved, Findly is a well-designed suite of modular HR products that help organizations attract people, communicate with them, assess their capabilities, hire them, manage their onboarding, and track their performance, while providing solid analytics all the way along. Jason Kerr, the founder and chief technology officer, is a font of creative ideas and technical skill. Combined with a slightly different and fun human interface, its design hides its tremendous power.
It helps recruiters seek out passive candidates, and provides ways to engage candidates in creating communities. Its modularity makes it highly adaptable to any organization and everything is tied to the powerful analytic engine that provides key data and information about the people in your organization.
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If you have been around this space as long as I have, you may remember FlipDog. Flipdog was a product ahead of its time, built at the dawn of the Internet era, that scraped job postings off the web, analyzed them, and produced talent market intelligence reports. These reports let a client see what jobs were being most frequently posted, what the key requirements were, what salary ranges were mentioned, and it allowed searching by zip codes.
Unfortunately, it was so far ahead of the market that job postings were scarce, few people were using the Internet for recruiting, and no one really appreciated the power of the intelligence reports. It was acquired by Monster and disappeared.
Wanted Analytics is a more modern and powerful riff that provides an overview of the hiring environment for a particular job function. It tracks what other companies are looking for, derives average salary information, and offers a variety of market intelligence reports for recruiting and HR, including skills analyses as well as trend analyses on how skills are different in different markets and how they have changed. It helps recruiters determine where to place job ads, identify hard-to-fill positions, learn where to find candidates, and list which companies are hiring for a particular job function or position.
While at this point it only spiders job boards in the U.S. and Canada, it is starting an expansion into Europe and will slowly spread to the global marketplace. Major clients include GE, Microsoft, and Starbucks.
More Reviews Coming
There were so many interesting products that it has been very hard to choose the ones to showcase. These few are the ones that caught my eye, and eemed to not only be interesting as products, but also had creative, thoughtful founders behind them. Products may morph, pivot, and transform themselves, but the creativity and market savvy of the founders are what makes them special.
I’ll be writing about a few more interesting products, including a referral program and an interesting learning management system.