Josh Bersin

Josh Bersin at the HR Tech Conference: The Talent Marketplace has Replaced Talent Management

WOW! What an incredible week we had last week at HR Tech 2022 in Las Vegas.

And Josh Bersin summed up the importance of the conference when he reminded everyone that, “We would not have survived the pandemic without HR technology.”

Josh Bersin’s take on the state of HR Tech

That’s a great insight by the well-known and respected HR technology analyst who gave the keynote speech on the first full day of HR Tech 2022, and as usual, did not disappoint. Here are a few highlights from Bersin’s analysis of the economic context currently surrounding the HR technology sectors:

  • “The business you are in (HR Technology) is critically dependent upon the economy.”
  • “We’re paying the price now for 14 years of near-zero interest rates.”
  • “There’s an incredible shortage of workers … 40-45 percent of those who changed jobs during the pandemic also changed industries.”
  • “Employees are under incredible stress … it’s OK now to say you’re stressed out … (and) mental health is the No. 1 issue on the minds of CEOs.”
  • “Voluntary quits have been at 30 percent monthly over the last 12 months.”
  • “The (overall) size of the workforce is NOT growing. U.S. fertility rates are going down, and the same is true in other developed economies as well.”
  • “Everything in HR is interconnected … and technology needs to facilitate this.”

Yes, Josh Bersin believes the current economy is pretty tough for everyone, and while that’s not a big surprise, his insights into the state of the HR technology market are both bullish (he says the HR tech market “is growing like crazy”) and cautious (he adds that “the heavy investment days have come to an end).” He also made these points:

  • “HR technology is the fastest-growing part of the stock market … with a $12 billion investment in 2021. … there are more vendors and more products.”
  • But “we are in an economic cycle where it is not easy to raise money.”
  • “The big shift is from HR technology to workplace technology … and for big systems, the successful implementations were not tech implementations but business transformations.”

Another area he focused on is one you have been hearing a lot about recently — the employee experience — and as Bersin put it, the employee experience market has really taken hold. There are “a multitude of employee experience” applications, and “productivity is a major focus.”

So is the rapid and evolving emergence of talent intelligence, and according to Josh Bersin, talent intelligence is all about four key things:

  1. Recruiting,
  2. Retaining,
  3. Reskilling,
  4. Redesigning

Bersin also says that “AI is now central to talent acquisition, (because) getting the right people is essential.” He says there are more mergers, acquisitions, and start-ups in this sector, but he has these words of caution: “Remember — Talent Acquisition is human-centered … and the recruiter is the key.”

Employee listening is another growing area because “You cannot learn about your company unless you listen to employees … and you must listen all the time.” Integrated listening platforms are growing, but “listening is NOT monitoring.” This is an important area of growth, a massive space, and continues to grow and expand.

According to Josh Bersin, the talent marketplace has replaced talent management and it is “unlocking a massive demand for talent mobility.” But he also added this important point: “the talent marketplace is a platform, not a feature.” A number of companies are working in this area, and Bersin singled out a couple of the best … one of which is Fuel50.

His final comment was telling; Bersin says that “the most important part of this is what you do … you need a road map to know who the vendors are, and how to manage the data you have.”

Josh Bersin

Technology spending continues to rise

It’s not surprising that the meatiest sessions at HR Tech 2022 were big keynote presentations, like the one with Josh Bersin, that were full of timely data and analytics.

That’s also true of the presentation by Stacey Harris, the Chief Research Officer and Managing Partner at the Sapient Insights Group, who used the Day 3 Keynote to preview some of the latest research from the 25th Annual HR Systems Survey, and it built a lot on what Josh Bersin talked about the day before. The HR Systems Survey is very comprehensive, and this year’ includes responses from 2,515 unique organizations in 65 different countries.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • 54 percent of companies over 500 employees increased technology spending by an average of 21% in 2021.
  • There are persistent expectations for increased HR Tech spending in 2022-23.
    • 55 percent of organizations with more than 5000 employees expect to spend more.
    • 54 percent of orgs between 500-5000 employees expect say they’ll spend more; and
    • 35 percent with fewer than 500 employees say they’ll spend more.
  • Recruiting technology is the top spending need for all three company sizes.
  • The market is seeing smaller companies investing in HR technology.
  • The hottest HR tech market is for organizations between 500-5000 employees.
  • Some 40 percent of buyers are looking for better reporting functionality, an increase of 30% from last year.

Stacey Harris also noted that recruiting technology is the top for spending for all three company sizes, and that makes pretty clear that organizations everywhere are focused on finding the talent they need to keep growing in the years ahead.

In fact, the HR Systems Survey found that 20 percent of companies believe they are in flux “all the time.” That’s a telling comment about the need for HR technology to continue to change and evolve to meet the growing (and some would say never-ending) needs of organizations everywhere.

One last detail from the HR Systems Survey: Harris said that she was surprised that 0 percent — yes, zero or none — of the organizations said that diversity and inclusion is a metric that they track.

This startling finding is from the 698 companies that answered that question in the survey. Make of that what you will, but in our current day and age, that finding alone is hard to get your head around.

Josh Bersin

Final thoughts

There were more keynote speakers at HR Tech 2022 — including Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and a former top HR executive at AT&T, Jason Averbook, CEO & Founder of Leapgen, and a panel with three female CHROs on the need for technology-focused CHROs in the future — but as great as the speakers were, the HR Technology conference is really more about executives coming together to check out the latest and the greatest in HR technology today.

As Fuel50’s research pointed to back in February 2022:

Being an HR business maker is about making a mark, taking charge of the organization’s strategic vision, and aligning human resource people, processes, and practices to ensure organizational success. It’s about transforming HR’s image by continuously upskilling the function to create more value and influence.

That’s the focus when it comes to HR technology, but at its core, it’s what the annual HR Technology Conference is trying to help everyone to accomplish, whether this year, last year, or in the years to come.

It really was amazing to see so many in-person after so long and we look forward to connecting with you again soon!

FuelX London 2022


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