Interview with Dave Millner about the HR Tech Scene Response to COVID19

COVID19 has struck the world and also the global economy. But what does that mean for HR and HR Technology as their journey towards The Future of Work was just getting started?

Looking for answers, it was an honor to interview Dave Millner, aka HRCurator.

How does COVID 19 crisis impact the business reality of the HR Tech Startups you know?

The current crisis will undoubtedly have some impact upon all start-ups. In the short-term there will be the inconvenience of the whole workforce having to work remotely, which may impact on responsiveness and the ability to innovate as quickly as they would like.

In the medium term all the financial planning that will have been undertaken for 2020 and beyond will have to be revisited in terms of costs and prospectve income streams as future clients may well have to tighten their budgets once the crisis has lessened.

Beyond that the likelihood of future investment may well be harder to obtain once the global financial turmoil becomes clearer post the crisis; that’s means stronger and better business cases will be become vital for start-ups to succeed when obtaining financial backing.

Most fast-growing start-ups usually have aggressive hiring plans and these will be disrupted now due to the uncertainty that exists whether it revolves around the decision to actually recruit now or not, through to how to onboard people who they committed to before the crisis.

Do you consider the Corona-crisis to be a threat for all HR Tech Startups?

The threat revolves around future client’s willingness to invest, if organizational budgets are going to be under pressure as is anticipated by many.

For me I see this as an opportunity with remote working now becoming the norm for the next month or so at least, and technology being the great enabler in that “new world”.

The big question then becomes not what the threats are but how can start-ups promote what they do to their marketplace without the usual face to face relationship building?

A lot of technology based organisations are using this as the time to offer free access to specific aspects of their technology toolkit – never before has there been a time to “try before you buy”!

Do you expect HR and Business in general to use this situation to redesign work and accelerate their digitization process? If yes, what will be on top of their agenda?

I’ve just written a book called “Introduction to People Analytics” and in that I have referred to the need for organizations and HR especially, to focus on the 3 D’s moving forward;

  • Data

  • Design

  • Digital

Organisations will have to use the data available or collect new data to consider how productivity, work and jobs in the future should be designed to maximize performance – can the learnings from the crisis help indicate that there is a different and better way?

Digital solutions will be a vital suite of ideas that can trigger new ways of working and operating and start-ups will need to promote not just their solutions but also their flexibility and responsiveness to their clients.

The 3 D’s will drive the priorities, but I’m hoping that the key learning from the crisis will be that organizations are nothing without the dedication, commitment and talent of their workforce and that their experience at work is a driver of their attitude and performance in their organization.

That means that the automation and simplification of HR practices will continue to be a key driver of new opportunities for start-ups in the tech space.

What should HR Tech Startups do in this situation to safeguard and/or boost their business?

I believe that the focus needs to be on:

  • Promotion of their solutions via marketing, social media channels, webinar demonstrations

  • Promotion of their solutions via free trials and offers whilst people are predominantly operating from home

  • Promotion of “life after the crisis’ – paint a picture of the changes they envisage and the role of technology (their solution) in addressing the shifts in work

In other words, make sure clients/prospective clients don’t forget that you exist at this time!