Money has ruined the HR technology market, and it’s destroyed the HR bloggers and analysts.

Especially me.

I love seeing my friends earn a little cash, but everybody is so afraid of being left behind in the next great recession that very few people are willing to take risks and write boldly.

I’m to blame. I got old. I told bloggers to stop talking and start monetizing their ideas. I encouraged people to bury the hatchet and get on with the business of building mature platforms.

And I was quite wrong about all that.

Our blogging community feels slow and bloated compared to the bloggers and analysts in other industries. If you watch the B2B marketing or IT communities, words matter. People are crazy. Some writers start gang fights over the word enterprise. There will be blood if you confuse the roles and responsibilities of marketing and sales.

Over here? Everybody wants to be the next great leadership guru writing in the online edition of Forbes. (Fight for print, people!) Smart people sell their souls for opportunities to be on web chats. (It’s not even TV!) And people try to tell me that they’re suddenly passionate about things like simplifying recruiting software for small businesses or optimizing employer brands. (Do I look stupid? Come on.)

It’s disappointing. Nobody is consistently talking about the core problems in our economy that lead to the need for better talent attraction strategies and recruiting technology in the first place.

Including me.

I sound like a woman who walked uphill both ways to school, but I miss sharp elbows. I miss hassling leaders who don’t lead. I miss talking about real issues that matter.

Again, I realize that I’m mostly disappointed in my career. I apologize for projecting my boredom on other people. And I’m probably wrong. Maybe everything is better in 2016. Maybe we don’t need brave bloggers and analysts who ask tough questions of individuals in power. And maybe I’m romanticizing a past that wasn’t so great.

But I don’t think so.

On the HR side of the house, there is nothing but misery. There are unhappy workers, pay inequality, and discrimination throughout our workforce. Recruiters still don’t give a crap about the candidate experience. And HR technologists roll over and accept nightmare software implementation and poor user experiences.

Bloggers and analysts make the entire HR ecosystem better. We need people who challenge the status quo and say outrageous things. We need individuals who are willing to start meaningful conversations. And we need a face of HR that doesn’t look like it came from a library of stock photography photos.

So if you’ve ever been interested in blogging and feel like you have nothing to lose, it’s your moment to shine. You have no competition out there on the blogging front. Not even me.

The time to start poking and prodding is now.


  1. All I can say is, Amen. Really. Thank you, Laurie. I too have been guilty but do poke and prod here and there these days inside our space and out. So again, Amen.

  2. Thanks for the encouragement! I get too ‘afraid’ to poke and prod. In case the ‘people at work’ read me. Not anymore! Good poking Laurie!

    • In many industries, analysts are bloggers are synonymous and regularly report on what they cover. We don’t really have that model in HR. But I think there’s a lot of dismissive (and harsh) language/behavior shown to the men and women in HR who are bloggers but not aligned with proper advisory firms.

      So I think the first mistake is ignoring someone just because she doesn’t fit into a traditional and predetermined model of “analyst.”

      • That’s fair, Laurie. My comment was less about being aligned with being a traditional analyst, and more about there being no wall between doing the “analysis” and going to those same companies for money. When it is the same person doing both, it is a recipe for sponsored content masquerading as cogent thought.

        • Point taken on shady stuff. • I just saw a webinar advertised on a Pharma site with a thought leader — sponsored by a vendor. So maybe hr isn’t all that different. Shady behaviours are everywhere, I suspect.

  3. Laurie,

    Thank you for this post. I agree wholeheartedly but caution that a blanket call for bloggers and analysts, “who challenge the status quo and say outrageous things” is not quite what we need.

    We need qualified bloggers and analysts to do these things, not good content writers who have phenomenal skills at writing mash-ups of what has already been said. We need more HR practitioners, IO Psychologists, Economists, Analysts, HR Technologists, Management Consultants, Leaders who have deep-domain expertise in some aspect of HCM, that are independent thinkers, excellent at conducting both qualitative and quantitative research, know how to combine the two, how to write and make it practical – not just someone with an opinion who can rack up the most Twitter followers.

    • Thanks for the comments. I would say that qualifications are subjective, which is why I’m okay with troublemakers and loud-mouthed people who can bring attention to our industry. It’s not like the current set of qualifications has done anybody any good.

  4. HR is, after all, a risk-aversive field. We mitigate, we take corrective action, we plan. But we don’t fight. We’re the ones who terminate the bullies that do. When HR folks ask those difficult questions other HR professionals often shun them (aka “mitigate”). It’s not a comfortable place to be and can have negative consequences to one’s career. And management has no mercy either (aka “corrective action”). So it does indeed take outliers to ask the tough questions, poke the straw man and generally raise hell (aka “plan”).
    I’m planning.

  5. Benefits is only a piece (albeit a big one) of HR, and wellness is only a piece (albeit a big one) of benefits. But if there’s one place that gets “poked and prodded,” and deservedly so, it’s wellness. has pulled the curtain away from the entire wellness scam perpetrated on — and by — the HR community, largely because “money has ruined” the conversation.

    The $8-Billion wellness industry has tons to gain from selling you product, and then spend a lot of that revenue stifling dissent at conferences and attempting to block unfriendly articles in the business media.

  6. I couldn’t agree more! When encumbered by a corporate title (as many of us are) I couldn’t really speak freely: politics simply wouldn’t allow it… But why should we accept that? Why is compliance to the owner of our paycheck so important? Are we vassals, or professionals?

    You’ve inspired me.

    I may just start to write again, and voice my anger at the things that are endemically wrong, about systemic injustice, about failing to speak truth to power.

    It’s well past time for my inner socialist to come out of the closet.

    Watch this space (once I get editorial approval from my wife, of course)

  7. HR bloggers reflect the state of most, not all, HR enterprise functions and the people who are in those roles. Innovation and disruption are for other business functions. Cheers to the bloggers who call BS on practices and the technology that helps restrain them. Cheers to the accountants who step in a break up the feelings club of HR with hard numbers and quantifiable accountability. Thanks for jump starting the conversation triggered by tight times and washed over by minimal improvements. I look forward to more.

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