Trade shows are a tough sell these days, and Human Resource departments are especially hard pressed to justify all expenses these days. Despite that, the HR Southwest Conference show was well attended this year with total attendance up from last year at around the 2,000 mark. Read on to see our ‘view from the show floor’.
If you accept that the vendors for HR Soutwest tend to represent the perceived ‘needs’ of HR, then the majority of solutions and services on display seemed to focus heavily on two areas …
1) HR Fundamentals (background checks & screening)
2) Employee ‘wellness’
In terms of fundamentals, the HR market is saturated with offerings that are fighting for position in this space. The innovation here is incremental, but not staggering. It’s also interesting that many companies want to be the ‘portal’ for the client, but unfortunately background checks is normally the LAST step in hiring and not the first – advantage Applicant Tracking Systems still.
Employee ‘wellness’ is something we have done webinars on in the past (specifically from the financial point of view). At HR Southwest it was clear that no area of wellness was left untouched with even employee discounted pet insurance being represented (which I think is a bit off the wall, but obviously quite valid). This seems to align well with the larger issue of employee engagement: give your employees more comfort holistically and they will be more committed to you as an employer.
At Shadowmatch USA, we attended this show with a specific bias towards our recruiting assessment solution but were pleasantly surprised to see more of a general interest in making teams work better. In other words it seems like HR professionals are still more concerned about taking care of the people they already have vs. the new people in the pipeline.