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HRTech Briefings are Back! Here’s what you may have missed at #unleash18

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One of my FAVORITE parts of being an analyst in the HR & Talent Technology space is something called analyst briefings where  I get to see not only what companies are doing today but gain insights into where they are going tomorrow.

After a two year hiatus on briefings – I could hardly wait to get back in the swing and booked a full calendar at Unleash America last week.  One of my favorite parts of this event was that in addition to the established brands; there were new faces to the HR Technology marketplace and international brands coming to the American market for the first time. There was also a vast mix of vendors – unlike in previous years when recruiting or engagement products stole the show, the diversity of vendors and problems they were trying to solve was fascinating.

Who was the most surprising vendor I met with at Unleash America?

That would have to be IBM/Watson,  I was in awe of what they have built out and done with the Watson technology to make life better for both candidates and companies. Internal mobility, Candidate Assistance, Watson Recruitment?  It is all there.   Even better, they have done it in a way that is entirely vender neutral so you can stay on SAP, Taleo, Workday, etc. at the enterprise level and have the UI and AI that you drool over when looking at the cool kids showing off the startup technology they can use when they aren’t supporting 20 countries and endless regulations.

Not that IBM wouldn’t want you to buy BrassRing – I had a chance to take a quick look at Brass Ring – did you know there is an all-new BrassRing product?  ME EITHER!!  The briefing wasn’t on that solution, but they showed me the new UX and redesigned approach and how it interacts with Watson, and I am disappointed it has remained as much of a secret as it has. It has full AI, Mobile Candidate Experience, CRM and Recruitment Marketing with behavioral marketing workflows powered by Watson.  Seriously.

You can even ask them about some of the things they are doing with assessments, job previews, and blockchain.

Who were some of the new companies I met?

Levelhead – This is where wellness meets engagement for business.  While many apps and mindfulness products have come on the market, few have thought it through from a business perspective from the beginning.  With wellness and stress reduction content preloaded and an open platform to add in your training or coaching sessions, or ability to partner with your other content providers – this gives access to allow HR teams to roll out stress training, emergency response training or grief counseling at a very widespread and track to see who has engaged in moments.   Imagine being able to handle anxiety or fear following a layoff to reduce an additional loss of engagement or turnover, or death of an employee and have support and coping training available to your team in minutes.  It is a very timely and relevant approach to a market.

ASU+GSV Summit – So, they aren’t so much a company as much as they are a conference creating a movement – wanting to shift the conversation about the future of work, learning, and talent through an event.  Much like the WorkHuman event that Globoforce started years ago and had taken on its own life; the GSV summit is doing the same – moving the bar and challenging everyone, not just hr leaders, to take accountability for the future of work.

WalkMe – They play an exciting role in the HR and B2B space as a digital adoption platform.  Its a newer concept we are going to spend more time exploring and writing about this year.  It is one worthy of more discussion and will become essential as more large organization migrate to single platforms for ERP and HCM.  What WalkMe does is simple – it increases adoption by making ANY technology simple.  However, it is HOW it does it is impressive.  For simple terms, WalkMe is an overlay technology that makes your employees never have to hunt around again.  Much like Watson, it is vendor agnostic and goes beyond the HRTech space to help your employees by “walking” them through any software process in a very non-threatening way.  From a high school kid accessing business technology for the first time to the shop floor worker that hates technology to the IT team that wants to do it quickly – the guidance and automation used combined with the frequently missed common sense factor to technology, makes this a must-see for companies.

AllyO – One of the most exciting addition to the recruiting technology stack for companies doing high volume hiring I’ve seen in a while. It moves companies beyond a chatbot and uses the chatbot familiar technology to create expanded impact for a recruiting team. Ex. A candidate can upload a social profile and match themselves to a job, based on their resume details, for roles they may not have realized, conduct some primary screening and even schedule interviews and drug screens.

WebClipDrop – It is a simple concept, doing precisely what it states – visit a website, clip candidates you find, drop them in your system – with maximum impact on time for your recruiters. The technology lives in your browser vs. API and is at a price point of less than $50 per user. One of my favorite features is the ability to set business rules for your team including things like “do not contact” for employees from specific companies or even countries. With the former jobs2web leadership team behind this, you can bet the analytics and reporting are also best in class.

Who were some of the existing companies doing new things?

Wepow – Well known as the video interviewing provider that focused on candidate experience and employment branding since the beginning, their newest approach and innovation will continue to help move that passion forward.  The new connect with talent features will help companies create videos to talk about the culture, job, company; even internal conversations – moving them beyond just hiring.  A trend we have seen many of the video interviewing providers moving towards.   There are also a few significant announcements coming up that are sure to make many users happy!

Culture amp – Culture amp is a technology formerly called a pulse survey tool; wow has that changed.  Now a leader in the Employee Feedback category, they have surged in size with their “Culture First” messaging and easy to use UI.  Companies are using them now for sentiment analysis, client feedback, employee onboarding and exit surveys; engagement research; and training – not to mention some of the most robust analytics and clean dashboards on the market.  Even more exciting – what is coming up and what they are working on outside the HR tech arena.

People Doc – One of the most overlooked market segments is HR Service Delivery.  Why?  It’s HR Service Delivery. It doesn’t sound nearly as Sexy as Artificial Intelligence or roll off the tongue like Employee Engagement – so it gets a lot less love than it should.   And in the low publicity world of HRSD – PeopleDoc has made an impact regardless – with millions of users; clients in 180+ countries; and a retention rate that would make nearly every SaaS company envious, they have quietly been solving complex, global challenges and increased ee expectations around knowledge and data with ease, thanks to some advanced robotic process automation and meaningful analytics.  The average implementation time of fewer than four months is also equally as impressive.


I am SO sorry I missed the chance to meet with everyone.  There was some really interesting things I happened to see and I popped around the expo floor on my way to grab what was possibly the best conference food I’ve ever eaten.  If we were unable to connect and  you would like to set up a briefing? Message me at sarah at .

What are briefings?

They are meetings with vendors and analysts, influencers and investors to talk about their product or services.  Sometimes they are 1 way where I just learn about a company, other times a conversation where they also want feedback.  It all depends.  I personally do about 100 briefings a year, most will never be clients, but that isn’t the point of doing them.  Unlike sales meetings –  briefings are done to make sure an analyst is staying up to date on the market and are able to provide current insights and trends when doing speaking events, writing or advisory work.  At no point should any analyst or advisor ask you to pay anything for a briefing

Comments 1

  1. LevelHead sounds wonderful, do you have information detailing their success and use of the customers?

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