Implementing new H R technology? Remember, it is about the relationship…

The implementation of Human Resources digital technology “is about the relationship.” I was delighted to hear these words from Charlene Li, Principal Analyst at Altimeter. She is the author of five books, including The New York Times best seller Groundswell and her latest, The Engaged Leader.

Ms. Li advocates that CEOs and Human Resources leaders think more about the day-to-day employee experience, as opposed to employee engagement, to create a deeper relationship between the employee and the organization.

This is a significant shift for Human Resources, Ms. Li points out. HR must shift from managing transactions (recruiting, hiring, evaluations) and risk mitigation, to nurturing employee relationships. Technology makes this easier, but it’s only when technology fades into the background and relationship work comes forward, that the experience becomes a differentiator for the employee.[i]

Ms. Li made her comments at the 2nd Annual HR TechXpo in San Francisco, where approximately 75HR technology companies displayed their latest improvements and innovations.

As someone who has worked in large company Human Resources for 30 years and has taken part in implementing HR technology platforms (such as: PeopleSoft, Workday, and too many applicant tracking systems to mention), I go to these technology fairs with amazement and a healthy dose of cynicism.

I am looking for the Holy Grail of HR technology. That all-inclusive, easy-to-use, end-to-end platform that moves HR forward, doesn’t dummy down service, and doesn’t need an army of HR Techs to re-enter data into different platforms and apps.

I am still looking. But, there were some interesting technologies at the expo that promised to improve how we recruit, build employee engagement, and reduce the burden of HR administration—and build relationships between employees and the company.

While successful, reliable, industry-dominating players in payroll and H R management software were there, such as Ultimate Software, there were also many interesting niche players.

Mature starts-up in this space, which target small and mid-sized companies, are making progress. Namely has recently added on-line benefits enrollment, as well as time management, to its payroll and talent management software. Zenefits, (under new leadership) has added its own payroll service to its streamlined hiring, onboarding, benefits administration, and employee data management software.

In the artificial intelligence (AI) or machine-learning world, progress is being made.  Cultivate, provides predictive analytics to help managers shape and improve their communication and overcome diversity hurdles as well as strengthen working relationships with employees.  It does this by connecting to a company’s communication platforms, such as email and Slack, and then uses its AI to observe communications and make predictions and recommendations.

ThisWay Global uses a machine learning Match-ic algorithm to assist businesses in reaching out to passive and active candidates.  According to ThisWay Global spokesperson, David Bernstein, “You can tell us your hiring plans, and we will use our tools and algorithms to help achieve them. Our technology frees recruiters up from the time-consuming efforts of finding candidates so they can focus on building relationships with candidates and hiring managers”.

With the growing use of “apps” to improve the employee experience, I found SmartRecruiters’ approach interesting.  SmartRecruiters is a software and applicant tracking system that connects different recruiting tools and apps to provide applicants with a great experience, and the recruiting team with connected data and improved effectiveness.

HireMojo is an applicant tracking system “on steroids” that uses predictive analytics and real-time machine learning to help find qualified candidates, faster.

Several providers are working on improving the performance management process, by providing Facebook-like, quick communications to improve alignment, feedback, recognition and morale. These include Squadley, which provides a comprehensive on-line tool for planning, goal setting, and feedback. Other interesting digital performance management tools include: Impraise, 15Five, Reflektive, and Lattice.

Technology is offering Human Resources and talent leaders many improvements for recruiting, hiring, payroll, benefits administration, and talent management. The question is, which one, or which combination of technologies will build better relationships between your employees and the company?

Remember, it’s all about the relationship!

Have you recently invested in HR technology? What was the outcome? What can you share with us?

Victor Assad is the CEO of Victor Assad Strategic Human Resources Consulting and is a Managing Partner of InnovationOne. He consults on innovation, global talent strategies, developing agile leaders and teams, and other strategic initiatives. Questions? Please e-mail Victor at Visit for valuable free reports. For innovation visit

[i] Charlene Li, (August 2017) “Technology and Employee Experience,” HR West,

1 comment

  1. Victor,
    Thank you so much for mentioning ThisWay Global in your coverage of HR TechXpo last week. We truly enjoy being able to help our customers source the right candidates and match them to the right jobs quickly. And we appreciate you helping us to connect to the companies that are looking for Sourcing and matching Made Simple.

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