Amidst all of the HR knowledge transfer at last week’s SHRM National Conference in Chicago was an expo hall full of vendors catering to everything from health and wellness to applicant tracking systems. It became an overwhelming experience merely walking the expo hall and hearing all of the pitches and opportunities to give up your contact information in exchange for an iPad mini or something else.


Alas, I decided to focus my efforts on a single area. My focus was on technology that are aiding us HR practitioners in doing our jobs better. In my quest, to find the “techies in the ruff” I identified some innovative gems that I want to share with you.




I had the great pleasure of meeting with the founders and executives of a company named ALEX The Jellyvision Benefits Counselor. Consider this: you start at a new company and your are sitting through employee orientation. The benefits representative is giving you the rundown on what you are covered for. Now, ask yourself these questions: How much pertinent information did you retain? Do you understand everything there is to know about your benefits?


If I had to guess your answer, it is probably “no” and “no”. As an HR practitioner that has been a new hire a few times, I can admit that I have not always understood my benefits and all of the coverages that come along with it. What the good people at Jellyvision were able to do was to create a virtual benefits counselor that counsels employees on their benefit offerings through the Jellyvision platform. Alex walks you through deductibles, copayments and is happy to stop or explain further anything you don’t understand. Your explanation of benefits comes in plain language with cartoon skits to both humor and inform you in the best way possible. I found myself extremely impressed and laughing during my demo.


If you can spare some continuous improvement dollars for the year, this is a product worth looking into.


HR Apps Provider


I wasn’t planning on visiting with this next vendor largely due to the fact that I didn’t know they existed. Thanks to a colleague of mine, I am so glad I found this product. We all know that cloud software is the future. I would even argue that cloud software is the present. While many have not caught on, there is no question that the flexibility and bandwidth of the cloud is going to be unmatched for sometime.


We can also speak to both the popularity and convenience of apps. The marriage of everything you love about the cloud, HR systems and apps are in HR Cloud. HR Cloud is a company that develops a cloud-based HR management suite that engages a company’s workforce with tools like onboarding and performance assessment with plug-and-play usability and cloud-based scalability. Since the company has developed an intuitive suite of HR cloud apps with an easy, self-service HR experience, HR Cloud truly empowers an organization with social tools that promote connectivity, ideas, support and recognition while also boosting employee participation, morale and productivity.


Productivity? Yes, please.


Who doesn’t want to be more productive? In fact, if you have been looking at things like mobile optimization-this is likely a good place to start.


Video Interviewing convenience has arrived!


Here’s another gem for productivity, is a Chicago-based company that is getting into the video interviewing game.  With this product, you can conduct written, recorded or live interviews with candidates. Candidates can schedule themselves to suit their schedules and interviews are easily shared with hiring managers for their review. I can see this as a great pre-screening tool especially for those of you that work in high-volume industries like retail. As a recruiter, this has me swooning, because it would cut the time I spend on in-person interviews down by more than half.


Let’s talk rewards and recognition


If you haven’t looked at your rewards, recognition and performance initiatives lately, chances are you haven’t noticed that employees aren’t impressed with the diamond encrusted watch or gold-plated pen you’ve been giving them in return for their efforts the past three decades. I know you mean well, but it is well documented that most performance practices are failures and rewards and recognition aren’t doing much for rewarding or retaining your employees.


Instead, why not check out Achievers. They have created a system that connects your performance indicators with rewards, recognition and engagement metrics. It allows you to socialize the recognition of your employees by allowing for transparency in your recognition initiatives while also allowing for things like peer-to-peer recognition. Essentially, your performance program will no longer be a once a year, bane of everyone’s existence task. With Achievers, it becomes a year long spree of recognition and the added bonus is your employees can choose gifts that meet their needs. The gifts are vast as they have relationships with everyone from restaurants to charities.


Why not make performance and recognition fun while being able to provide valuable analytics to senior management?


Social Branding/Jobseeking


How do you know what your former employees are saying about you? Yes, you could just do a google search, but why not check out Glassdoor. Glassdoor can be used from the perspective of both the job seeker and employer. For jobseekers you can get a real account of what a day in the life is like at a prospective employer. For employers it is a great opportunity to manage your online presence and message. Glassdoor like its name gives both the jobseeker and employer a transparent view of the good, bad and indifferent. From anonymous salary information to reviews of company culture this tool is fantastic for improving how you serve your most important customers- the prospective hire/applicant and your employees.


Depending on who you speak to technology is either helping or hindering HR processes. I believe that good vendor choices, proper implementation and a decent understanding of how technology can enhance what you do can go a long way in improving your value proposition to the business.


I hope you will check these vendors out and see what they can do for you.

 Janine Truitt
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