Growing HR Tech: Talent Acquisition & Employee Experience

October 22, 2019

What is the role of human resources information technology? 2020 will see the continued evolution of tech tools that help HR professionals and their peers save time and cut costs, become more efficient and productive, and attract and retain the right talent for the sustainable future. These tools are the answer to meeting many organizational goals through any number of tactics:

  • Making educated talent decisions
  • Improving inefficient processes
  • Updating dated strategies
  • Engaging employees
  • Offering employee self-service
  • Supporting digital transformation

Two segments of the rapidly growing HR technology market are gaining more momentum above the rest: talent acquisition and employee engagement. Learn more about these trending focus areas—what makes them helpful and where they still need work—to get a better picture of how and why they are poised to take off in the year ahead.

Talent Acquisition Technology

How it helps: Supports the initial stages of talent acquisition.

Where it still falls short: Introduces risk and bias and lacks a human touch.

Artificial intelligence software programs, from virtual assistants to chatbots, are supporting talent acquisition efforts at innovative companies around the world that have time and money to explore their options. But more human resources professionals will begin to leverage tools that help them perform the initial stages of candidate evaluation, such as reviewing resumes for specific keywords and patterns and comparing candidate profiles.

While HR hiring tools, or the “hire bots” of the future, are not yet equipped with the human element they need to do more of the legwork in conducting hiring assessments, talent assessment and human capital analyst, Dr. Charles Handler believes there is much to be gained by “using AI to help psychologists to better understand individual differences.”1 Risk and bias come along with exploring AI territory in HR, but as this technology evolves, it may give recruiters psychometric data to support insights on the individual differences that make great candidates. Until then, success with talent acquisition technology aids will “require both psychologists and computers scientists to understand and include one another’s perspective” for a complete picture of applicants today.1

AI-driven tools can serve as a starting point or method of enhancing existing acquisition processes not only because they are imperfect and often easy to bypass for candidates who find ways to cheat the system, but because they may overcomplicate proven methods of finding standout talent. New technology helps distribute hiring materials, narrow down applicants and wrangle data for busy HR professionals, but companies should be wary of new solutions that claim to do all the work of today’s managers in a single solution. Ryan Ross, managing partner at Hogan Assessment Systems, reminds us that “in many cases, some are applying this emerging technology in ways that, yes, it’s very cool, but is it productive and does it get us where we want to be?”2

Employee Experience Technology

How it helps: Creates a consistent end-to-end work experience for employees and teams.

Where it still falls short: Tries to be an all-in-one system rather than a tool in the HR toolset.

Although they’re not new in the HR technology space, talent and employee experience platforms from innovative developers are taking off to accommodate the need for employee-facing engagement tools that unite managers and their team members. Investment in this market is growing as the platforms are increasingly used to support employee growth, productivity and everyday engagement in an employee-centric way, and often through gamification.

At this year’s HR Technology Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas, the employee experience was a hot topic. HR industry analyst and thought leader Josh Bersin’s keynote “Making Sense of It All: How Technology is Shaping the New HR Agenda” focused on the employee work experience and how businesses can utilize a suite of chosen applications (rather than a single solution that will be unable to meet needs in all areas) to strengthen the management of teams and their everyday work patterns.

Influencer Mervyn Dinnen spoke more about employee experience at the conference, urging HR leaders to see it as the sum of what we tend to consider separate, unrelated events, such as recruiting, onboarding and performance reviews, because “for the employee, it’s one seamless journey for them and, unfortunately, we’ve been sectionalizing it.”3 Making the mistake of creating disjointed touchpoints along an employee’s path throughout their career can result in unfulfilled employees and unmotivated teams working for managers who miss opportunities to bring the best out of everyone.

Josh Bersin’s forthcoming report, the HR Tech 2020 Disruptions Study, will discuss what he calls a “whole new breed of ‘redesigned’ platforms” that are “disrupting the traditional talent management platforms.”4 These systems will continue to innovate the way IT and HR service programs come together to package employee journeys for healthier and more productive teams.

As we follow the growth of technology platforms out to change the way HR and other departments work, be careful to test out only the tools that truly match your company’s and team’s goals. Adopting every new software and app on the market is likely to confuse a sound HR strategy, and introducing employee-facing technology without a sense of permanence is never a good idea.

What HR technologies are you most interested in exploring? Where can you go to learn how well that shiny, new HR tool really works at scale for a company as large, geographically diverse and complex as yours? Share your vendor feedback and learn from other HR leaders around the globe through exclusive events and online communities from EN.


  1. The Future of Recruiting Will Combine Hiring Machines With Psychology, ERE
  2. Emerging Tech can do Amazing Things, Human Resource Executive

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