Faye works with a range of technology firms as an external consultant providing strategic, implementation and communications expertise. She has a strong HR network around the globe from advisors, analysts, providers and enterprise customers, and stays ahead of all the latest developments through activities such as involvement in the blog squad for HR Tech. faye.holland@cofinitive.com

Faye Holland, Founder and Director of Cofinitive, is our disruptHR blogger and will be MC’ing the disruptHR competition at HR Tech World London, 21-22 March 2017.


The HR Tech industry shows no sign of slowing down in 2017, and nor should it. Despite any fears of more me-too entrants in #disruptHR, I am hopeful for innovative game-changing technologies and minds to come forward. It’s these companies that keep shaking up the bigger established firms, challenging them and continuously pushing them to up their game.


Yet while disrupters continue to help shape their industries, they also need to keep buyers in mind. Buyers are often confused, and it’s not because of advancing technologies. Buyers have so many options to navigate before producing a shortlist of vendors, and that’s before they even get to the procurement stage where processes aren’t fit for purpose for these more agile providers.


Businesses of 2017 want to be more agile, friendlier to both employees and customers, and more readily accessible. HR Tech World is a great opportunity for new entrants to the market. Not only in showing off their product, but also for testing the waters of investment, their approach, gauging customer interest and getting valuable feedback. For those who take advantage of the opportunity, DisruptHR has much to offer young companies looking to help shape their industry.


Here are 7 fundamental points to bear in mind for #disruptHR:


  1. Good technology needs to be easy to use, consumer grade and current. It sounds obvious but trust me I sometimes do wonder – we’re looking to disrupt 2017 onwards, not 1977
  2. Being mobile-friendly is obvious, but being mobile-first for many is essential. Get this right from the outset or risk falling before you’ve even started
  3. Analytics with purpose – actionable data is still on everyone’s agendas but as Bill Boorman advised “don’t look at data until you understand how to look at it – a fool with a tool is still a fool”
  4. Make a difference to the human at the end. Do something, not just because you can, but because you’re going to help the person on the other side of the screen
  5. Keeping user experience in mind means to know your user. Put yourself in their shoes and above all test, test and test again
  6. Do you have staying power – will users really adopt what you are offering and critically is it commercially viable
  7. Have some style. Design is the first thing anyone will see of your technology; if it doesn’t look good neither will your chances. Make sure it can be customised to the client as a self-service approach.


What do I want to see from these #disruptHR companies (and some of the big one’s too!)?


As with any good story, you want to start at the beginning. What are you looking to fix? Explaining the initial problem sets the scene for people to understand the need for your product. If you haven’t started here then quickly watch Simon Sinek’s TED Talk!


There’s little point investing in style if no one sees your product. Without having to fill in forms and handle sales calls, you need to show us what your product can do (screen grabs, video’s etc) then we can start imagining its fit into our businesses.


Clarity is invaluable at #disruptHR. You should articulate exactly what you’re looking to achieve at HR Tech World so relevant parties know you’re interested, and that applies to audiences too. Do you need validation of an idea? Their interest? Partnership? Funding? Tell them.


HR Tech World best practice is to seek out and appreciate feedback. Simply put: companies that want feedback want to develop – be one of those companies.


And a quick piece for our practitioners heading to London, San Francisco and Amsterdam


Do your homework before you dive into a new business arrangement. Many niche companies cannot handle larger company procurement, so understand the procurement process (theirs and yours) before you start to save a lot of heartache.


Similarly, the better you know yourself the smoother things can run. Being clear about your business case, how much you want to invest and what issues you’re experiencing puts you in a good position to know if products are appropriate or not. This also includes understanding the interoperability of all these tools, there’s a lot out there and building your own kitbag will make all the difference.


Think about how you will actually leverage the technology on an ongoing basis – I see time and time again how new offerings can be a flash in the pan if they don’t have a robust engagement strategy moving forward.


Last, but by no means least, get demos. You have the chance to try before you buy, why wouldn’t you? It’s an effective way to testing products in your unique business setting.