HR Tech, a threat or a treat?

Say what?

Digitisation towards the core of the HR profession

Since 2014 there is an exponential growth and diversification in HR Tech Solutions disrupting the HR Tech Marketplace. Hundreds, no thousands of new (cloud based) HR Tech keeps entering the ring as new problems ask for new solutions. These new tools are more focussed on two issues: improving work-life and retrieving big data.

Digitisation of HR just got an extra dimension. After transactional HR, operational HR, processing HR and managing HR, in come automation, Employee Experience and analytics.

By being more than just automating back office administration, optimizing recruitment, developing the Human Cloud, creating an HR Marketplace.. It means rethinking the core of the HR Profession in order to tackle existing and future challenges.

It sounds complex and it is. Yet HR must overcome this complexity if it is willing to give the organisation an edge in the future. The challenge is big, yet so could be the gap with the competition if you will not take it on.

From intuition to data, facts and figures

Where HR used to rely on intuition and facts in the past, business now is asking for more data and figures.

In order to optimize processes and assure continuity, intuition alone does not cut it anymore. Digitisation is a change process and any change process needs a business case. If HR wants to take the lead in this organisational change towards a sustainable and competitive workforce, it has to learn how to convince their business owner(s) with data and figures.

Above all, the field knowledge that was built up over the years to feed that intuition can not be replaced when the senior HR Manager retires. To ensure continuity Business must capture that field knowledge and intuition to pass on to the next HR Manager.

This way your HR Legacy continues in a digital way, providing more efficiënt ways of working, better practices, better data, people analytics and even predictive analytics.


Changing mindsets

Because of the change in the labour market, where the candidate-market becomes the vacancy-platform, the lack of candidates and the oversupply of vacancies are creating an awareness with current and future employees. Starting your career with lots of fringe benefits or changing jobs for the better never was this easy.

Being aware of this, candidates will continue their consumer behaviour from the online shoe store towards the digital vacancy-platform. They are starting to own their career.

After all, most of them being Millennials or Gen Z, they grew up as a digital consumer - and were always treated like one.

Evidence of that is the appearance of Employer Reviews in combination with a job board, i.e. Glassdoor or Stepstone. These platforms create a transparent window on the experience of current and former employees, their management, function and wage.

Moreover, research of Glassdoor in coöperation with Icms tells us that 92% of the candidates visiting Glassdoor flagged Employer reviews as important. In fact, one third of the applicants refuses job offers because of a negative Employer Rating.

Bearing this in mind, the predicted talent- and skills shortage by McKinsey (10% by 2020) is making Employer Branding one of the top priorities for Business and HR.

  • Think of it like this: if you need 10 people to run the organisation, next year you will be doing it with 9 people and spend more time being on the lookout for number 10. #focus

And that is only the tip of the iceberg. Research tells us that engagement and retention are not scoring well either. New employees switch jobs more often; 45% within 12 months according to Randstad.

  • So when you finally find your 10th employee, he/she might be gone within the next year and all that hiring efforts will eventually lead towards an empty chair in the office of 10 employees - again. #strategy

The existing workforce is divided. A part of it might be overwhelmed by a digital transformation and in the worst case mentally disconnects. Another part (36%) is looking for new opportunities just because of a poor digital work-environment. Quite contradictory, yet reality.

  • While you are struggling to fill in that one spot in your team of 10, more than half of the existing team is either getting overwhelmed by digitisation or frustrated by the lack of it. #balance



By automating backend administrative tasks, measuring behaviour and feedback, HR will be able to communicate with a personal touch. Automation is part of the process, yet there will be more people-focussed tasks for HR and time to execute them.

Placing the experience of the employee at the center and designing the entire Employee Lifecycle, are methods also inspired by Marketing. This Employee Lifecycle is in an ideal way an overview of one’s career and it probably was years ago. Reality shows us the time of this Lifecycle is getting shorter by the decade; i.e. by the growing flex-economy, gig-economy and outsourcing market.

You could call it HR Marketing, nevertheless the goal remains engagement. Just like the goal of Marketing is to engage customers towards Brand Ambassadors, the focus of HR is to engage employees (who are also customers) to become productive Employer Brand Ambassadors.


“Strategy eats Technology for breakfast.” ~ Paul Verschueren (Federgon-Belgium)

Focussing only on tools to solve HR issues is naïeve. As the saying goes: “A fool with a tool remains a fool”. A tool can support and measure, but never solve anything without a decent strategy for its use.

What good is a tool for optimizing your recruiting, if your new employees run out screaming through the backdoor once they get hired?

What good is a tool that serves all your outcomes but is hideous to work with and for that reason lacks accurate data?

A decent strategy starts with the goals of the organisation and the experience/engagement of the Employees, in one holistic approach.

Balance Digital transformation and HR Tech are related. You will have to find a way to juggle with six balls:

  1. Balance your mindset: between automation and experience, between all involved departments, between HR- and Employee Experience, between intuïntion and data, between skills and people, between fear and curiosity. ..

  2. Balance your strategy: get informed, use external expertise, consider design thinking, determine your goal and the way to reach it and who is involved; what do you want to improve, how do you want to measure that, how do you do it now, what is the future ideal,...

  3. Balance your tools: select wisely, get informed, do not become a fool with a tool, yet know what is out there.

  4. Balance your process: i.e. do not go to full deployment when your staff is not ready, yet do not disappoint your staff with old-school technology that is hideous to handle. Does the workforce get to choose which tools they want to use to keep track of your digital transformation?

  5. Balance your people: use feedback exercises and - tools to engage your workforce in to a digital transformation process. Offer (Mobile/micro-) learnings for those who are not up to speed or possibly an internal job market for those who get disconnected and yet are too good to let go. Another way to deal with it is to create field knowledge experts who can pass on his/her learnings to new , more digital savvy, coworkers.

  6. Balance your Spaghetti: When you are going to rethink your entire digital HR infrastructure, do it properly. One of the biggest costs to build one solution next to another are the connections between the different tools. When you do this with a time spread of several years or just want to start from your 10 year old Payroll Backbone, remember that code evolves and by creating a mix of codes and connections that are costly to maintain you might solve your problems, but you will create others as well.

What can HR Tech possibly do for you?

Recruitment Technology such as Skeeled, Actonomy, Beeple, Kazi, VisioTalent, NakamaHR, Thalento Match & Hire, TextKernel, Djobby by Branded Careers, Entrili, Rada HR, UQ Talents or Nalantis can optimize your administration and/or recruitment process - and/or boost your Employer Brand.

For culture, performance and engagement there are different solutions, each for every believer. Communication and feedback software like Spencer, Alundi, MeetRoger or Dots by Attentia are focussing on information onboarding and wellbeing.

Learning and development platforms like MobieTrain and Myskillscamp are taking micro-learning to the mobile level, whilest Self Service Technologies in HR like Officient also have an engaging effect on the Employee Experience.

Remember that Business wants facts and figures for your recommendations or adjustments, dashboarding and analytics software like thereby offer nice visuals and infographics of all the KPI’s you desire to measure. One of those KPI's might be Diversity, which is exactly the expertise Allthingsblue offers. Jigso on the other hand takes it one step further and is working on predictive HR analytics.

Check out all of the HR Tech Valley members

As you can see the tools are quite diverse and that is a good thing: Because Culture eats Strategy for breakfast, there is no one size fits all.


HR Tech is only a threat when you go into the journey unprepared or with the wrong strategy. When used right, it can be a complex treat and of necessary value for HR and Business as well.

The HR Tech Market evolves within the world of HR, making it more complex, overarching and analytic. New HR roles are being created and there is less fear to gain knowledge outside the company walls.

In this world of HR - with HR Tech Providers, HR Service Providers, HR departments - and their managers, IT-services, Freelancers, Business Owners, CEO’s, Academics, HR organisations and other stakeholders - it is inevitable for large corporations to create an ecosystem around their HR Tech case, with all selected actors involved.

However, small to middle large organisations often do not have the resources or the need to create such an ecosystem and are often victims of their own enthousiasm. Yet they are the ideal Sandbox for many local Start- and Scale-ups in search for proof of concept.

Therefor organisations like HR Tech Valley are destined to have a bright future. By actively bringing together all actors, the sharing of expertise and co-creating new solutions for existing and future challenges. HR Tech Valley offers value for all stakeholders involving HR Tech, who are serving the experience of the Career Owner.

Get involved!