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What happens at HR Tech does not stay at HR Tech

Team Textio shortly before winning Top Product 2017

Last week several Textios made the trip to Las Vegas for this year’s HR Tech conference. We hit the big stage three times, including the Startup Spotlight, a look at how HR tech can foster a more inclusive workplace, and a deep-dive session with our friends at Atlassian about how they’re using data to make measurable improvements in recruiting and retention. We won the Top Product award for 2017. A few of us even had cocktails that included cotton candy (hey, it’s Vegas, after all).

The great thing about HR Tech is how much of the industry is in the same place at the same time. I got to catch up with so many Textio customers. It was fascinating to hear their take on the event this year.

Here are some themes that a few of them highlighted:

2016 was about AI. This year it’s about diversity.

Michael Krupa, a Senior Director in the Office of Inclusion and Collaboration at Cisco, observed that this year there was a big uptick in the number of conversations and solutions focused on diversity.

AI was still present, at least on the demo floor. But increasingly, successful solutions are focused on using AI to solve real problems — not just in using the right buzzwords. This year, the problem most in focus was helping companies hire and retain a more diverse group of people.

Takeaway: It’s time for providers to share the specific, measurable results they promise. The whole point of AI solutions is that they make predictions and promises you can count on. Savvy practitioners are growing weary of the hype and want real results.

HR Tech isn’t only for learning about new solutions. It’s also for making sure you’ve implemented the solutions you have correctly.

Adam Schaffer, who leads Global HR Operations for Bloomberg, shared that he was spending as much or more time with his current solution providers as he was learning about new ones. He wanted to make sure that Bloomberg was getting the most out of their HR technology suite.

Especially in HR operations, practitioners want to see continued innovation from their technology solutions. With so many new options popping up in the landscape, it’s vital that solutions continue to improve in other to stand out. They also need to communicate the updates clearly so that their customers can take advantage.

Takeaway: What you made three years ago isn’t good enough today. It’s a crowded landscape, and solutions need to keep innovating to stay relevant.

Rigorous use of data and experimentation are the keys to seeing measurable results in D&I.

Aubrey Blanche, the Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Atlassian, shared how Atlassian was able to move from 17% women in their graduate program to 57% women in just one year. The key? Being willing to move beyond training and process change into rigorous analysis of data and use of new technology to help.

D&I professionals who look honestly at their pipeline and retention data and let the data guide their strategy get better results.

Takeaway: That unconscious bias training isn’t helping you much on its own. If you’re serious about improving diversity and inclusion (or any other aspect of your hiring and retention system), the companies that win are the ones that embrace technology and data to help. What are you doing differently than you were doing a year ago?

Transparency is everything in the candidate experience. Great companies provide it.

Sjoerd Gehring, the Global Head of Recruiting at Johnson & Johnson, observed that people who apply to jobs at your company deserve transparency in the process. Too often, applicant resumes are sent into the void, and the applicant can never be sure whether anyone even considered them.

The most forward-thinking brands recognize that transparency across the process — from the language used in hiring to clear communication of status to proactively matching candidates with appropriate jobs — is key to winning talent in today’s market. Not only that, it’s key to developing a trustworthy brand on the consumer side.

It’s also just the right thing to do.

Takeaway: Technologies that help hiring teams communicate with more transparency create a better candidate experience, which in turn helps you hire more effectively.

It was a wonderful set of conversations over a great week. Thanks to everyone who shared the week with Textio in Las Vegas!

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