Remember when things were “things” in the HR tech industry?

Wish I took notes, but there have been technology solutions for just about every trendy HR thing under the sun.

Not sure I have the order correct, but, back in the day, social media was a thing. Then it was social media marketing. Then it was recruitment marketing, followed by big data. Then employee engagement, wellness, analytics, happiness, culture, and gratitude. Then we moved on to AI and chatbots, with some candidate experience and customer success.

A few months ago, it was #MeToo, meditation, blockchain, and bias. We had a moment where equal pay was a thing, but like all things related to women and protected minorities, it faded fast. And some people were talking tech stack, onboarding, and D&I all in one sentence.

But a quick scan of my LinkedIn feed shows that we’re in a lull. There’s nothing new. It’s all of those things plus a shortened workweek and self-care.

So, I spent some time in Las Vegas, last week, trying to make sense of things that are things. And here’s what I know: If things are truly important, they’ll get a line-item on a budget, and you’ll see them become part of your standard operating procedure.

What’s important? What things are things in HR and work? What deserves your attention?

Well, let’s start with Talent Acquisition. This is the stuff that helps you hire people. I think these things are things.

Recruitment Marketing
Applicant Tracking
Employment Branding
Screening/Background Checking
Reference Checking/Validation

What am I missing? And what’s trash?

Now, let’s move on to Talent Management. This is how you manage the people you’ve hired. Here’s my list of things that are things and not just fads. What else should go on there?

Compensation Planning
Performance Management
Internal Mobility
Coaching and Mentoring
Leadership Development
Learning Platforms
Rewards & Recognition
Career Planning

Whew, that’s a lot of things to be things. I’m not sure micro-learning is a thing, even though it’s a multi-million dollar industry. Can you really learn anything in five minutes? “Oh, but these Gen Z kids like video.” Whatever, man. TBD.

Then there are things in Workforce Management, which is how you manage your people once they have the job. These things are things, I think. Although maybe I’m wrong.

Core HR Platforms
Time & Attendance
Employee Leave & Absence Management
Employee Communications
Organization Chart Software (not PowerPoint)
Employee Record Management
Document Flow
Team Collaboration Tools
Task Management Tools
Workforce Planning
Job Description Compliance Software
Global Employee Management/VISA
Employee Surveys
Alumni Association Platforms
Corporate Surveillance/Espionage
Employee Activity Monitoring
Employee Health Monitoring
Wellness Programs
Wellbeing Monitoring
Threat Assessments

The part of the industry focused on employee surveillance fascinates me. They can predict suicide attempts as well as whether you’re leaking information to a competitor. And, oh yeah, they can predict when you’ll resign. Crazy stuff.

As I look at this list of things, I’m shocked by how it takes a village — and a multi-million dollar budget — to make sure you’re managing your people. I’m not sure how small businesses get started, how they grow, and how they’re not eventually bankrupted by all of this tech.

I wonder what you think about this list. What does it take to do HR? Do you need these technology solutions to manage and lead people? What can stay, what can go? What’s a real thing? What’s a fad?

I’d love your thoughts.

1 Comment

  1. Speaking from the other side of the Atlantic, where we’re a bit slower to rename things, I’m inclined to agree with you Laurie. There are too many next big things and not enough things remain just things.

    In reality, it’s just too much of a scrabble and I’m always happy for these lulls between things.
    Gives me time to try and master of few of the things I missed during the last blast…

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