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6 Women Heroes Shaping the World of HR Technology

We’ve been serving the HR community for many years and during this time we can’t help but be inspired by several pioneers in HR technology who are taking charge and transforming HR as we know it.

We recently had an opportunity to interview several of the women who have been shaping the world of HR technology and hear about their journeys. These six women are part of paving the way for all future HR women in technology leaders.

A Brief Introduction

Q: Tell us a little bit about your connection to the HR Tech Community- what are some key areas in which you specialize/contribute? 

A: As Managing editor of the SHRM Blog and creator and producer of the weekly SHRM #Nextchat Twitter conversations which explore HR trends, I’m always looking for new content that will help HR build a better workforce and workplace. With a background in workforce technology, and as an HR Technology Conference Insiders blogger since 2014, my goal is to watch trends and create conversations around the HR technology that is shaping the future of work.

A: My career has involved over 20 years as an HR leader and executive in a variety of companies, as well as time spent as an executive recruiter partnering with organizations to identify and recruit leadership talent in their organizations. For the past 7.5 years, my business has been focused on helping high performers to embrace the future of work and leverage their influence to create positive, lasting change. I do this through providing keynote speaking, training and executive coaching services.

A: I love exploring and learning about the ways that technology changes the way we work & am, I will readily admit, someone who enjoys tinkering with new technology platforms. As an HR practitioner, I work to encourage my HR peers to embrace change & incorporate technology to make our organizations – & our HR functions – more nimble, responsive & relevant in today’s rapidly changing business climate. I write on my blog and for others, I speak, I participate in lots of webcasts & pontificate a bit at local SHRM meetings & Happy Hour gatherings.

A: Technology is only as good as it understands the community they serve and the challenges they have. Because I have spent 15 years as an HR and recruiting practitioner and user of HR technologies, I spend a great deal of my time serving as a technology resource for the HR and recruiting community but also providing insights and information on practitioner challenges to HR technology companies. I often consult with founders who are starting their organizations, work with product on development and marketing.

A: The HR Tech community is a great group, and I have had the honour and privilege of collaborating and sharing points of view with some amazing people like Naomi Bloom, Bill Kutik, Ray Wang, Jason Averbrook, Lisa Rowen and Gary Bragar to name a few.  And over the last 20+ years, this industry has changed significantly, & the community has morphed and transformed to provide the HR profession, no matter what it is called, with the best advice and guidance on the use of technologies to get significant business outcomes.  I have contributed in many areas, but the areas that interest me most are people analytics, workforce planning, employee/manager self-service and anything global.

A: What I love about HR technology is watching peoples faces when I tell them about a tool that can solve something causing them stress. Another thing I enjoy is being able to solve problems and make multiple uses of technology. For example, using tech created for the Real Estate industry and using it for Sourcing candidates.

Jennifer Payne quote women in hr tech


Future HR Tech Trends

Q: Name what you think the hottest trend will be in the future HR tech space

A: I think artificial intelligence, machine learning, and chatbots will transform HR. These technologies are creating a new and better employee experience and revolutionizing every HR function from talent acquisition, to training, to analytics. HR will be able to focus less on administrative tasks and more on business strategy.– Mary Kaylor

A: Identifying and implementing systems and processes that focus on the human side of work, while utilizing and leveraging technology, data analysis, and artificial intelligence and to their fullest potential.-Jennifer McClure

A: Automation is hot … and exciting! As we talk more about AI in human resources though it’s important for HR pros to remember that AI and automation are not the same yet, sometimes we forget, that automation is already here and easy to incorporate! My team has recently launched the use of a chatbot to assist us with some front-end tasks that used to take multiple hours and human intervention. Our bot allows us to gather information, inform candidates, and streamline the front-end of the application process. This is not AI; our bot is not continuously learning and adjusting. Rather, we’re incorporating programmable aspects that allow us to save time with mundane HR tasks. This is not merely for the sake of saving money or to replace a job, but because we see value for both our candidates who can more quickly access information and for our HR team members who can spend their day on higher-value activities that have a greater impact.– Robin Schooling

A: A lot of people will tell you AI which I think is important is an area that will be of importance in HR and recruiting. The hottest trend for practitioners is integration and driving efficient HR practices and processes. It’s not a sexy topic like VR or AI but it is important to our industry as so much of our work relies on collaboration with other stakeholders and driving information and data from multiple platforms and technologies. HR and recruiting leaders are on average in my experience juggling 10 different HR technologies right now. They don’t necessarily need more tech. They need their tech to work better together through data and information flow as well as reporting. This is critical to driving change in the organization.– Jennifer Miller-Merrell

A: If I could only pick one trend then it would be robotics and its implications for workforce planning.  The creation and management of workforce plans have become more challenging as robotics takes over some or all of a specific job or individual tasks.  Now HR needs to plan not only the different types and sources of labour to accomplish the work objectives, but they also need to consider the impact of robotics.  If I could have two the second would be data privacy and the changing landscape of legal and statutory requirements around the world concerning personal data, and the impact those changes are having on HR Technology.  I believe we are going to see some massive changes in the HR Tech area due to individual demands and government requirements around personal information.– Mary Sue Rogers

A: Automated self-service HR functions backed by machine learning.-Jackye Clayton

HR Super Hero Role Models

Q: Who is it that look up to in life and aspire to be like?

A: Author of “HR on Purpose” and Executive Director of HR for LaRosas Pizza, Steve Browne. He is the most positive people I’ve ever met. Steve understands the power of kindness, the strength in human networks, the importance of helping others to succeed, and the value that exists inside every single human being. The workplace – and the world – need more Steves.– Mary Kaylor

A: I want to be a leader who builds into others, inspires them to grow, and creates lasting impact. Someone that I look up to in that regard, would be Michael Hyatt.– Jennifer McClure

A: One of the business leaders I have long admired is Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi. She’s a successful business leader who has also transparently shared her personal life as a wife, mother and daughter while also championing diversity and inclusion initiatives at her organization and across the globe.– Robin Schooling

A: Because I think of myself as more of an HR anthropologist, I tend to look at researchers and influencers outside of our industry to see how they are helping to shape their niches and areas of expertise. John Boudreau is someone I have followed very closely as an expert and researcher on the subject of human resources. Guy Kawasaki is another.  I love how he uses evangelism to drive conversations and share resources on a variety of subjects that drive conversation first at Apple at their Chief Evangelist and now in his various projects.– Jessica Miller-Merrell

A: This is a challenging question, as there are attributes of many individuals I would like to include in my behaviour, style of working and leadership.  People like Nelson Mandela for diversity, tolerance and change management, Lou Gerstner (retired CEO of IBM) for his vision and leadership to Angela Merkel for her ability to lead transformation in Europe – each of these and many more have attributes and skills I aspire to achieve.  At the end of the day, I aspire to be the best “me” that I can be.– Mary Sue Rogers

A: In the tech space, it would have to be Carolyn Leighton, founder of Women in Technology International, which she founded in 1989. The next person would be Dr. Bellverie Ross, currently the Director of Cloud Delivery at NWN Corporation. She gave me my first job in Tech and really has shown me what a true mentor is. I have watched her career grow and I want to be just like her when I grow up.-Jackye Clayton

HR Technology Conference Favorites

Q: Which session are you most excited about attending at #HRTechConf?

A: So many great sessions so little time! However,  I’m most excited about all the “Women in HR Technology” pre-conference event. I had the good fortune to meet and interview Cecile Alper-Leroux for the SHRM Blog at the 2016 HR Tech Conference and admire how she and Ultimate Software are using HR tech to support “people first” philosophies in the workplace. I am also a huge Trish McFarlane fan. Trish studies trends and helps HR professionals understand why these developments are important for the workplace. Cecile and Trish are sincere and super smart, so I’m looking forward to their panel session: Women Leaders in HR Technology.– Mary Kaylor

A: Unfortunately, due to other commitments, I will not able to attend #HRTechConf this year, but in the past, I have always enjoyed the keynote/general sessions, as well as spending time in the exposition hall chatting with vendors and other attendees.– Jennifer McClure

A: There are so many, however one session I’m looking forward to is Enterprise-Level Talent Acquisition Technology: The Practitioner’s Perspective with practitioners from Amazon, Intuit and Fidelity. While I work for a SMB with less than 500 employees I always look to hear what innovative methods large enterprises are using to attract talent; there are always ways to scale methods and initiatives down to a smaller organization.– Robin Schooling

A: My favorite part of the HR Technology Conference are always those side bar conversations and serendipitous opportunities that arise at the event. But when it comes to specific sessions and the tech, I am always most interested in learning about the application and execution of HR technology by human resources and talent acquisition leaders. Their real life experiences are important to help others drive change across the HR industry itself. The tech helps make that happen, but it’s the HR leaders in businesses and corporations who are the true champions and drivers of change within our industry.– Jessica Miller-Merrell

A: The sessions I like best are Start-up Spotlight the session where some of the newest HR Technologies are featured.  The Hackathon Revealed which is the presentation of new HR Technologies that have been created during the HR Tech conference.  And of course walking the exhibitor’s hall to see and hear about all the great products and network with my colleagues in the HR Tech community.  I like getting to the “small booths” as that is where many of the start-ups and the technologies of the future are on display.  No matter which session or exhibit it is a great event with lots of learning.– Mary Sue Rogers

A: My favorite part is just seeing the latest technology.-Jackye Clayton

HR Technology Conference

It was an honor for us at MTM,to get an inside look into the lives of these awesome women in HR tech. The women we interviewed is not an all-encompassing list of the women leaders in HR and also there are several men who are leading the pack. We look forward to seeing more leaders rise up and are excited about all of the future opportunities HR technology will provide.

If you’re attending the HR Technology Conference we hope to see you there. We’d love for you to stop by at booth #3122. Sneak Peak-We’re doing a drawing to win a unique futuristic prize that you’re going to love. Follow us on social media for our monthly newsletter to get more great stories like this.

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