The HR technology industry has thrived like never before over the past decade. Ever since major ERP market leaders bought small HR Tech startups that could develop their software in the cloud (2011). Since then, the number of HR Tech suppliers has grown exponentially, also in the BeNeLux according to HR TECH Valley.
HR TECH Valley
HR TECH Valley is a community of HR TECH Stakeholders who share the vision that HR Technology is a means for organizations to focus more on their people.
The organization and its members have been raising awareness about the evolution of HR technology since early 2017, when Joris Peumans and Ben Greeven decided to create an organization dedicated to HR technology and new HR strategies that embrace that people-centered vision.
After building a reputation in the current market by helping organizations, companies and startups, the community has grown organically into an HR Tech Industry Knowledge Center, with a focus on BeNeLux HR Technology.
HR TECH Valley recently has inventoried over 550 HR Tech companies with their headquarters in The BeNeLux and that offer has never been so huge.
For Belgium only, the number of HR Tech companies almost doubled over a three-year period. From 117 in 2017 to more than 220 in 2020. That is certainly not bad given the fact that The Netherlands is slightly faster in digital adoption and therefore has a lead with over 300 HR Tech suppliers. Luxembourg closes the list with 20 of its own HR Tech solutions.
This is a collection of digital solutions to support HR in knowing and meeting the expectations of today's employees or candidates. The digital attitude of the latter has given them the reputation of being Career Owners.
In the same way Marketing knows and meets the expectations of customers, HR can now also know and meet the expectations of candidates or employees with the help of this HR Technology.
In addition, technologies that improve process efficiency with artificial intelligence and / or machine learning help save valuable time that can be reinvested. For example in the further interaction with employees.
On the BeNeLux landscapes, these digital solutions are divided into seven categories, according to their core focus.
Hiring: from candidate job boards to freelance gig platforms.
Hiring Automation: recruitment marketing applications, applicant tracking systems, workflow management platforms, chatbots and recruiting assistants.
Screening: from pre-screening solutions to in-depth assessments.
HR Automation: planning, registration, payroll, compensation and benefits, human capital management, personnel information systems and others.
Learning & Employee Experience: from learning applications to a complete Learning Management System, from internal communication apps to productivity, wellbeing and feedback solutions.
HR Analytics: data and reporting (descriptive analysis) and predictive analytics.
Hardware: These seem to be the "strangers in the night", yet don't be surprised; there are companies in Belgium that are developing a "meeting optimizer" (box) and a "workforce safety smartwatch / band"!
The category with the largest number of solutions is definitely HR Automation - which points out the be the backbone of many digital Employee Journeys - followed by the more specific categories Hiring Automation and Learning & Employee Experience.
Solid Tech Advantage
HR Tech Valley believes that HR Tech is an enabler and not a solution in itself. Despite Covid19, the focus of these HR Tech companies has never changed. It's still about people, now more than ever. The goal still remains to be able to recruit, engage, develop, train and retain the best talent.
Today's technology often improves process efficiency with artificial intelligence and / or machine learning, thereby providing a better user experience, which in return leads to more interaction time with staff and more accurate data to improve each process.
For the deployment of HR Tech, this means a focus on the Candidate Experience or Employee Experience, which has almost the same function as the IT term “user experience”.
When organizations have more accurate data to analyze, they can make accurate decisions based on real analytics. When HR has a history of qualitative analysis and improvements, one can consider predictive analytics and predict certain outcomes even before the decision is taken.
Attracting, developing and retaining your top talent can then become true strategic workforce planning/Talent Management, where analytics and forecasting can continuously track and improve the candidate or employee experience. In this way, productivity and culture can be optimized cost-efficiently.
Unfortunately, HR Tech is still often used as a short-term pain reliever rather as a medicine for that long-term goal. That could work at this point, but it will surely go wrong one day. Don't be a fool with a tool.
The HR Tech Landscape seems saturated, but it is not. There is no "one size fits all", as every organization has its own characteristics and culture.
In our opinion, there is not one supplier who can offer you exactly what is needed, more than one is needed to find the ideal match. "Whoever fits the shoe, puts it on" - but we never buy the first pair of shoes that seem to fit, wo we? That is exactly the beauty of this market diversification; there is plenty of choice.
All these options will continue to evolve over the next years. Startups in HR Tech are currently being taken over by larger providers so that the latter can offer the better deal. The most recent takeover dates from this month when the Dutch supplier Exact took over the Belgian startup Officient.io, a few weeks after they acquired Unit4 (and with it, the Belgian scale-up Intuo).
Other suppliers are joining forces and collaborate to offer more functionalities in an entire HR Tech setup, or to function as a premium feature to optimize one core process.
Yet whatever the future looks like, Covid19 or no Covid19, HR Tech is ready to help companies maintain their competitive position.
Business Manager HR Tech Valley
Connecting the dots in HR