Stop light

Undoubtedly, 2015 was a hot year for HR tech. As the economy continued on its upward trend, investments in HR Tech went with it. During the first half of 2015, investment alone more than tripled what was invested annually between 2000 and 2013. With money in pocket and an eye on consumer trends, the HR tech sector accelerated its transformation in 2015, creating tools that meet the growing needs of HR departments, and the enterprise as a whole.

Those consumer trends have dictated the way that companies now (or will soon) interact with employees and prospective employees. Strategic business leaders must ask themselves which tools and trends will best integrate with their company. The biggest question should be: What strategies will most benefit the overall success of our organization?

Over the past few months, as our clients and prospects completed their strategic plans for 2016, a few trends become very clear. Further, reading the observations and commentary from the likes of Josh Bersin, Jessica Miller-Merrell, and Steve Boese further enforces some of these discoveries. Based on these conversations and readings, we’ve compiled our own Stop, Start, Continue list of 2016 HR trends, outlining which trends to follow and which to ditch this year.


  • Stop focusing on all the data that is available to you.  Rather focus on the relevant data you need.  Analytics, metrics, Big Data – call it what you will, but too much unstructured, irrelevant data becomes overwhelming and muddies up the evidence you are trying to gather. Get the data you want to assist with decisions, like Steve Boese says, such as allocating salary increases and bonus pools across an employee ground, determining the optimal mix of skills and competencies in a prject team, and predicting the organizational impacts in terms of retention and attrition. Spend the time to uncover what data is most important to your team and company, then find the appropriate tools to deliver that data.  No point in paying for data you are not going to use.
  • Ineffective ‘talent community’ strategies – ‘Job agents’ (automated job notifications that are sent to the job seeker based on their selected criteria) don’t build talent communities. Job agents are focused on filling a specific current job opening, they are not (mostly) focused on creating an engaged pipeline or building lasting relationships for the future. CRM’s and ATS’s are not talent communities, they traditionally foster one-sided communications that are seen as spammy to many, and are heavy on administrative tactics like data-entry.  Talent pipelining strategies must include prospect (pre-candidate) engagement tactics that don’t have a job attached to be effective. Providing an experience that is prospect-focused and relationship-driven will help optimize your time, money, effort and ultimate ROI on your pipelining strategies.


  • Start marketing your talent community. Talent communities are not an ‘if you build it they will come’ situation. Leverage your social channels to attract your target audience to bring them to your talent community where you can begin engaging with them. Jobvite shared that 67% of job seekers use Facebook, 45% use Twitter, and 40% used LinkedIn.  Job searching in public is no longer ‘taboo.’ A surprising 67% of people will job search from the comfort of their own bed, 38% during a commute, 30% while on the job, 20% during a meeting (yikes!), and 8% while at the bar. Whether they are passive or active, potential candidates are out there and readily accessible to connect with. Once you’ve got them in the funnel of your talent community, you can begin true engagement efforts to motivate, encourage brand loyalty, and offer a positive pre-candidate experience.
  • Get a pulse on talent – Start responding in real-time to employee and talent community. Old and stale data is yesterday’s news. Shiny new tech tools are coming onto the market every day to provide current, up-to-the-minute data on your talent . New processes now focus more on employee feedback, pulse surveys, ongoing engagement monitoring, goal management, performance management, and even tools that monitors the physical response of an employee to a new office layout. If you can think it, it is likely someone has created it. Imagine all of that information readily available at your fingertips that you can use to respond accordingly to foster engagement, loyalty, and motivation. We are clearly biased, but if you want next generation talent insights, we’d be happy to show you Talent Dojo.
  • Holistic engagement – engage the whole person, not just their professional side. Focus on growing relationships rather than just filling req’s. Treat prospects as well as you would your customers, because as our clients and prospects realize, they are often the same people. See our case study for an example of the effects holistic engagement can have on your organization, in this case, for Diversity recruitment.


  • Multi-departmental collaboration – keep driving the importance of cooperation and showing the benefits. Whether it’s Marketing, Finance, or IT, every department should come together with HR on pieces to support and promote both a positive employer brand and talent brand.
  • Measuring HR initiatives and results to prove departmental worth within organization and need for budgets. As Jessica Miller-Merrell put it, measuring your department’s effectiveness can help to move you from a cost centre to a revenue centre.  After all, happy, successful employees means a happy and successful company. All those targeted analytics only help to promote your cause.

The HR tech industry is revolutionizing the way we engage with talent. The ebb and flow of trends will always take us for a good ride, but making sure you’re riding the right wave is vital to building an engaged and thriving workforce. The trends you choose to stop, start, and continue in 2016 will reflect greatly in the success of your organization.

We hope your 2016 is off to a great start!