I went to HR Tech, last week. It’s a conference where a bunch of HR technology companies showcase the latest and greatest iterations of their software.
It’s also a place where people called “HR tech analysts” go behind the scenes in a “briefing room,” which is just a beige-on-taupe room that’s always too hot or too cold, and meet with technology companies. They usually tell them what’s wrong with their software.
So, wait, let’s step back. What are HR tech analysts?
Well, definitions vary widely. There are analysts in other industries — finance, enterprise tech, healthcare, hospitality, pharmaceuticals — who have deep expertise and can evaluate software (and leaders) and offer surprisingly good insights on what’s ahead in the market.
Those analysts may be independent. They may be journalists. They often work for financial service firms and offer insights to hedge fund managers or investors. They also do webinars, write whitepapers and speak at executive roundtables. It’s how they make a living.
In HR, we have some analysts and journalists who fit that bill. Not many, but a few.
However, we have a lot of independent people calling themselves analysts who may or may not have deep expertise but sure as hell know how to criticize software and monetize themselves on both ends of the spectrum: as experts for the HR practitioner as well as experts on software.
And then those analysts get snippy with one another and passive-aggressively criticize their peers for doing what they do themselves: taking money from anyone who will write a check.
It’s a trainwreck.
The worst insult you can call an analyst is a “blogger.” As if blogging is like being a bus boy at Waffle House or something.
It’s gross to watch grown men and women take a swing at one another in the most ineffective and childish ways. So, yes, basically, it’s just like your job except these HR tech analysts don’t have real jobs, anymore. They only have jobs they’ve created for themselves. So they fight on Twitter instead of fighting on Slack or your internal email system because you don’t pay for Microsoft Outlook for a team of one or two.
I was embarrassed by the way some of these analysts behaved online before, during, and after HR Tech. You don’t build your business or your reputation by slagging on your competitors or bloggers. The single biggest way to lose at influencer marketing, which is what drives revenue for most of these analysts & bloggers, is to use your influence to criticize other people.
So how do you solve for HR tech analysts acting like babies? Well, you start to hold them accountable for their work.
I want someone to create an HR tech analyst scorecard. Who wrote what? Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Have any predictions come true? Who does webinars for which company? Are the trends we see in the market right now the trends that some of those jamokes predicted back in 2012?
That’s not a difficult thing to build.
Both HR technology companies and buyers would invest heavily in an app that scores analysts and validates their predictions. Moreover, that app would uncover which technology companies are frequently mentioned by particular analysts, thus shedding light on who is getting paid by whom. (Well, that’s iffy. But you might be able to draw some connections. TBD.)
The first person to market with this app has my full-throated endorsement. I will be your brand ambassador and use my influence to get this information in the hands of every CHRO and CFO out there.
And I bet the HR Technology Conference & Expo would love to see this, too.