HR 2020 - Lead and Listen
The majority of the work I have been doing in the past year has been with product and strategy teams at HR software and technology companies. They engage with me to dive deep into their current solutions, their roadmap, positioning, and customer feedback. Inevitably, one conversation that arises is the tension that solution providers and technology makers have between listening to what their customers say they want, and leading their customers to a better solution they might not have considered before. It’s a variation of the story about Steve Jobs and the iPhone. If Steve Jobs had only invented products his customers asked for, we’d never have benefited from the step-change innovation that led to the revolutionary iPhone technology. But, of course, the opposite is also true: if you ignore your customers completely for the sake of innovation, you may not have much of a customer base to lead.
As I think about what I want to learn about, and research, and bring to the table in 2020, I am also pushing myself to both lead and listen. It’s still important to me to do primary research with technology users to understand the impact that tools, capabilities, and strategy have in driving business results. But because so much is moving so quickly in our world, there are some conversations that haven’t taken place yet that need to be held. We need to bring those conversations forward—particularly those which may not be easily quantified in a technology survey or show up in a Top 10 list. As I look at 2020 and think about the topics I want to bring to my research, speaking, and advisory work, these are some key topics I'll be working on:
- Rethinking the “who” of our workforce
- Operationalizing Diversity, Inclusion, and Employee Experience: the role of scheduling, workforce planning, payroll and core HR
- How should we be measuring inclusion?
- Sick at Work: a New Look at Wellness
- The role of Universal Design in the workplace
- What you should know about HR Tech “co-opertition”
- How to buy (and not to buy) HR Technology
Hopefully this list reflects the listening I’ve been doing with regard to where the HR technology space is moving, and the answers to these topics will bring you some new perspective. Let me know what you think. What am I missing? Are you an expert in one of these areas who I need to talk with? And are you building products that fit this space?
I’ll be exploring these topics in further detail in the coming weeks, and I can’t wait to have some of these important conversations with you.