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HR, Technology, and Those Who Are Making It Work

HR, Technology, and Those Who Are Making It Work

There is a constant stream of new players who enter the human resources technology arena every year. In addition to longtime players who are reinventing themselves and their offerings, others from outside the industry are making their debut in both HR and the U.S. market. These entrepreneurs offer fresh perspectives on the power of technology and big data to transform HR.

Workforce spoke separately with three up-and-coming industry leaders in a sort of virtual roundtable. Everyone was asked the same questions and we’ve presented the most insightful answers.

One is an executive from an Austrian firm expanding in the U.S. with an employer rating site similar to Glassdoor; another is a former media and advertising entrepreneur making his mark in payroll processing; and our third “panelist” is a financial industry veteran who is shaking up the recruiting world with a video interviewing platform.

Moritz Kothe, 37, CEO of kununu US, is also senior vice president at XING, the German-language version of LinkedIn, which acquired kununu in 2013. Kununu is an employee rating site and the largest platform for employee reviews in German-speaking countries, claiming to feature more than 250,000 reviews. Kothe began taking the Vienna-based firm global a year ago.

Matt Straz, 49, is the founder and CEO of Namely, a New York City-based tech company that develops payroll processing and benefits software for midsized companies. Straz founded Namely in 2012 after selling Pictela, a content marketing platform that he launched in 2009, to AOL. Namely works with about 500 companies and more than 100,000 employees globally, and is growing rapidly, adding 40-50 new clients each month, according to Straz.

Danielle Weinblatt, 32, founder and CEO of Take The Interview, began her career in investment banking where she worked in diversity recruitment. Later she worked in private equity where she was first exposed to how companies operate. Weinblatt, a 2013 Workforce Game Changers winner, credits both experiences with her decision to launch Take The Interview in 2012. The New York City-based firm provides software designed to help companies interview candidates with a video platform.

Workforce: How is technology changing the role of HR and the workplace in general?

Matt Straz: “Technology is empowering employees to become consumers and that’s driving change throughout the HR organization. …We’re seeing technology migrating from being simply a web app to being wherever the consumer happens to be. That’s a huge change. HR is also being impacted by tremendous changes in legislation. There have been more changes to HR and HR policy in the last two years than there have been in the last 10. It’s made it almost essential for small to midsize businesses to use technology in a platform to run their business. Changes in the law around PTO, sick leave, the fact that a lot of it needs to be tracked completely, has made it virtually impossible to run a business without leveraging HR technology at this point.”

Moritz Kothe: “Years ago people were leading companies by keeping information as a scarce resource. Today, information is available to everybody. Everybody can work from everywhere and its important that you exchange knowledge with other people. … The fact that information is available on mobile devices is changing this world. What does it mean for HR? It’s about understanding that people work and collaborate in different ways. Also, how a candidate performs is getting easier to track and its easier to get information and feedback from candidates, from employees and also from employers. Speed of information and access to information is changing the landscape dramatically.”

Danielle Weinblatt: “It’s only now or in the last few years that you start to see HR, and particularly talent acquisition, get on a C-level executive’s radar and be something that they need to invest in as a business decision, versus being looked at as a cost center or an area just around compliance, benefits, payroll. Now when you ask a CEO what’s their greatest asset they say their people. Having only worked in service-based organizations where you’re competing for the best talent in investment banking across the top schools, I didn’t see technology really following suit with that shift. It makes perfect sense but very few people have decided to innovate in this area. Seeing this shift really excites me.”

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SOURCE: Workforce
Rita Pyrillis is a writer based in the Chicago area. Comment below or email


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