With a slightly later start to day (maybe on account of the scorching 36+ degree heat!) the room was buzzing with HR professionals who’re keen to kick in to another day of information download.Our eagerly anticipated first speaker of the day – Paul Block, Global HR Operations Manager, Twitter (USA) couldn’t make due to a back injury. But this just gave us all more time to network and spend some quality time checking out the Vendor/Partner halls.There were over 20 vendors participating this year. The usual folk from various ATS platforms but also some cool new guys who we don’t often see around these HR parts. Fitbit and Obvious Choice were real standouts in this respect. There were discussions during the day around the role that HR plays in our people’s health and wellbeing as well as encouraging more collaboration around online self-learning so having these two cool tech companies represented made real sense.The Broadbean and HROnboard team are always good value. With integrations being a key theme yesterday, it was awesome to find Vendors who’re keen to move in this direction.Once the speakers got underway, everyone was ready and raring to go - prepped for the next wave of inspiration, challenge and interactivity for Day Two:

two guys eager and ready for an HRTech meeting

Tim Sackett (HRU Technical Resources): Tim hit the ground running with his claim that candidate experience is the biggest lie being sold today. As you can expect, that kicked off a lively debate in the room. Another interesting point Tim made was that candidates have such low expectations when it comes to recruitment that it’s easy for us to meet the benchmark. To us, that presents a really exciting opportunity for brands to stand out. If everyone’s content with hitting the benchmark, exceeding it becomes a really fun opportunity! What was great about Tim’s session was how interactive it was. We heard from some people in the audience that for their Graduate recruitment process they show the actual reality of the opportunity – warts and all. They WANT to provide every opportunity for candidates to withdraw or not even enter the process. As you can expect, we were “Bravo!”ing all over the show.Andrew Culleton (Commonwealth Bank of Australia): I was gutted to miss Andrew’s apparently very excellent session, “A Journey to Value – Out of the Fog and into the Cloud”. It was running at the same time as Tim’s session (the one with all the debate, mentioned above), but all reports point to it being brilliant and insightful.Bill Boorman (Founder of #Tru, Social Recruiting wizard): Gravity kept pulling me into Bill Boorman sessions at this conference – they’re just so full of great stories and funny analogies, I can’t seems to stay away! This time he was speaking on “Data for Good and Data for Evil and the Aggregation of Everything”. He reminded us that the way that our staff consume content has evolved a lot. He outlined which time of days that we consume the most content and drew a correlation to when we go to toilet at the office (and the architectural repercussions on office bathroom fit-outs). He spoke about the need for HR to stop using data to police behaviour and develop more understanding of the value and opportunity social-media active staff can present. He also talked about the need to consider how our people are making career decisions – from grads to current employees to alumni. People are having multiple careers and staying with a business forever is no longer appealing.Matt Alder (Chief Strategist Metashift UK): Matt ran a session on Social Media and Employer Branding – Driving the Workplace of the Future. I love a good interactive session and this one didn’t disappoint. As we all shared and discussed our own stories, the overarching message was that as HR professionals we still need to embrace Social Media even more. Consider making social media a part of everyone’s every job. Got some nervous adopters in your team? Provide training. Matt talked about a Coffee chain that takes a photo of each staff member who receives a promotion, holding a one-word sign sharing how they feel. This photo is shared on the internal Facebook page so staff from other stores can engage and say congrats. Nice and simple and helps with employer brand. He urged us to not over think it, but to make sure we create a simple strategy and stick to quality content over quantity every time.

So, Weirdly’s 3 key outtakes from HRTech Fest 2015:

  1. There will not be a Lord of the Rings style “one system to rule them all”. It’s no longer possible for one system to deliver all requirements for HR. Instead we need to be looking at an opensource API model. Ease of integration with all products is essential for any tech out there. Vendors will not longer be able to have long legacy contracts. Businesses need to be able to be more agile.
  1. HR teams are still sitting a bit in the dark ages. We need to be looking for more state of the art technology to keep ahead of the game. Not just waiting for it to come to us, and land in our laps. Get out there more and find out what’s going on.
  1. We need to experiment more. Don’t wait to see what others are doing. You don’t have time. We need to act faster otherwise we will just be left behind.

This was definitely one of the best HR conferences I’ve attended in recent years (awesome work to the crew at The Eventful Group). It was, obviously, exciting to hear that NZ is regarded as one of the most innovative countries of the world in the adoption and creation of clever HRTech (thanks Bill). Overall, it seems we’re all moving with the times a lot faster and enthusiastically than we were 12 months ago. Our questions have moved on from Why to How can we change, and that’s really encouraging for a little HRTech startup here in NZ.