Unleash: the battle for the client
Then it was time for the main event: Unleash World. This was the first time in three years, and I was curious to find out what Marc Coleman and his team had in store for us. Would it be anything like it was before the pandemic?
Well, it was and it wasn’t. The usual suspects, the incumbents were there with the largest booths. But I was pleasantly surprised by the number of young companies that came out of the pandemic, and were represented there as well: many of them received large funding rounds and were able to show their solutions in a nice-sized booth. The startup desks were back too, and in more locations than before. I enjoyed seeing all that innovation in one place.
And while the incumbents might have the advantage of serving large clients, the battle for the HR client is on, especially in the SMB market. There are so many companies in this space that still run HR through spreadsheets, with requirements and needs that are not a great fit with the traditional vendors. Young companies stand a fair chance at disrupting the world of work. I talked to a couple of buyers, and there is a real need to do something different, to cater to the needs of a younger workforce, that wants fresh apps that are laser-focused on supporting them at work, and not tools for HR.
My sessions were all on the second day, so I spent the first day listening to keynotes, walking around the exhibit and meeting old and new friends. You can find an impression of my first day in the video below, and you can also find the keynote highlights in the articles on the Unleash World site
You won’t be surprised to hear that skills, and the need to support employees to learn new skill sets, especially digital skills, were well represented in the keynote topics. The question before us is: what is the shelf life of skills and how can we educate people in real time? Another topic that got a lot of attention was well-being at work, how to create high performing teams and build inclusive workplaces.
HR Tech Bubble?
And then it was day 2, and time for my sessions. In the morning I participated in a panel discussion
with Thomas Otter and Georgios Markakis to answer the question: Is there an HR Tech Bubble? We didn’t think so, and we talked about the importance to be really disruptive and apply new technologies, like blockchain
, in HR.
In the afternoon I had a keynote
on (don’t be surprised) payroll, and why I wrote my book. We had a Q&A session once I was done, and what always surprises me is that no one has a question until the first person raises their hand, and then everyone has a question ;). Anyway, it was a good thing that this was the last session of the day. I spent quite some time talking to people who are trying to change their current payroll. They gave me great inspiration for updates to the book!