HR Tech Conference 2023: Will employee wellbeing take center stage again, or will it be left behind?
Heading into the HR Tech Conference this year will be my first as a Work Tech Analyst at Mercer. I’m excited to put my learning hat on as I meet with technology providers, walk the expo hall and reconnect with old friends. But this year will be quite different for me than last year.
At last year’s conference, I had the privilege of working at SPOTLYFE, where our message about combatting employee burnout not only resonated, but it also won us Pitchfest. Everyone we talked to could relate to our mission and it felt personal. Hot off the heels of the pandemic, many of us were venturing back out into public spaces without our masks for the first time, and memories of the emotional turmoil still lingered. People knew they needed to prioritize their personal wellbeing and employers understood that this was critical to keeping people at their best. Everyone seemed to be aligned.
As the HR Tech Conference 2023 approaches, HR leaders and talent professionals have a lot to consider. The HR tech market is rapidly evolving but it’s easy to get lost in the buzzwords. Here are the top three trends to look out for at this year’s HR Tech Conference.
1. Generative AI
The rise of generative AI over the last year presents an enormous opportunity for tech vendors to transform HR tech. However, as HR leaders evaluate technology, it’s crucial to not only balance the opportunity for advancement through genAI with the potential risks for bias and privacy violations, but also to make sure it’s being used to improve the experience, not just check a box. Vendors that have been thoughtful in applying AI to improve their candidate and employee experience while prioritizing ethical guidelines and transparency will stand out at the conference.
Skills continue to be a top priority for HR and talent leaders. Connecting skills across talent acquisition, talent management, and talent development is the new focus of talent and business leaders as they work to address the ongoing skills gap. HR leaders are looking for technology that aids the business in developing strategic skill plans, identifying skills gaps, and aligning talent strategies to support business objectives. Vendors that can demonstrate their technology‘s ability to fix the fragmented skills landscape will win over the attention of busy attendees.
3. Employee Experience
Last, but not least is employee experience. This was a key focus at last year’s conference and will continue to take center stage this year. But employee experience risks becoming just another buzzword if every vendor claims it as their focus without clearly articulating what part of the employee experience they impact, along with how and why. And HR leaders will need to keep experience design in mind, being thoughtful about the journeys they want to create for their employees and candidates before they rush to select a technology. Solutions that help create modern, more consumer-like experiences for candidates and employees are sure to get attention on the expo floor.
Honorable Mention: Talent Intelligence
Another area that’s sure to show up often is talent intelligence. Our latest research indicates most talent teams won’t be adding more team members this year, which means the existing team will have to find ways to work smarter. Talent intelligence offers the chance for talent teams to leverage data to make better decisions and pursue smarter strategies. However, this is another area that can easily cause confusion with vendors all putting their own spin on what talent intelligence means. HR leaders looking at talent intelligence solutions need to push vendors for clarity on their definitions and approaches to talent intelligence to understand the actual impact of these solutions. Vendors can alleviate this confusion by focusing their conversations on use cases and outcomes, as opposed to industry jargon.
Our advice to HR & Talent Leaders:
It’s important to approach the conference with a clear focus. The HR tech market is rapidly evolving, and there will be a lot of technology on display. To get the most out of your experience, we recommend that you take a strategic approach by prioritizing technology that supports your vision for the future of your organization. As you visit vendor booths, ask questions that delve deeper into how their technology can impact your candidate and employee experience, the skills landscape, and how they are approaching ethics and transparency around generative AI. Remember, it’s not about finding the coolest vendor with the most buzzwords plastered on their booth; it’s about finding the right technology to support your organization’s unique talent strategy and helps you connect the dots across the talent lifecycle.
Our advice to Tech Vendors:
As you approach this year’s HR Tech Conference, cut the buzzwords and tell us what you really mean. HR leaders are looking for ways to solve real challenges and drive better outcomes for their business – buzzwords and jargon don’t help them do that. As our research has shown, creating greater efficiency, connecting the dots on skills across the organization, and modernizing the candidate and employee experience will be among the top focuses at this year’s conference. To make a splash, it’s important to highlight your empathy and understanding of the challenges faced by HR leaders today and focus not on the features of your product, but on the business impact they produce. Be prepared to talk to buyers about how you can help them transform how work is done and shift the mindset of their organization to be more digital. Showcase your ethical guidelines and transparency in AI to drive greater trust around this advancing technology landscape. And most importantly, focus on quality over quantity in your conversations. Having one great conversation with a buyer who is aligned to your mission and can benefit from your technology is far better than having dozens of conversations with attendees who just think your swag is cool.
As the HR Tech Conference 2023 approaches, remember that this is an incredible opportunity to connect with fellow industry leaders and peers, share insights, and get inspired by the latest advancements in HR tech. By taking a strategic approach and prioritizing what’s most important to your organization, you can ensure that you make the most of your time at the conference. And for HR and talent tech vendors, remember that displaying your empathy and understanding of the challenges faced by HR leaders today, while focusing on the business impact of your solution, will help you connect with buyers who can benefit from your technology. Together, let’s work towards transforming HR and talent management to create a more efficient and sustainable future for the workforce.
Luminate is Mercer’s global vendor services practice, helping workforce technology solution providers bring their solutions and message to life. Our bench of marketing and GTM strategists, product and research specialists, and work tech domain experts help reinforce modern thinking through thought leadership and content development, act as real-time advisors and coaches in the Now of Work, and provide market insights to deliver value to buyers faster.
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