Google, Facebook Bet on HR Tech

If you’re not yet convinced that HR tech is cool, consider the evidence

Erick Barnes

Verizon’s most recent advertising campaign includes a commercial featuring a young lady who is running late for a job interview, so she just does the interview via video chat from a mobile device. The company, of course, is promoting their network, but when video interviewing is common (and cool) enough to serve as the premise for a national ad by a company like Verizon, it is common (and cool) in popular culture.

When Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion last year it raised some eyebrows. What were they up to? Why did the tech giant not only want the social network, but also value it at $65 more per share than where it was trading only one business day before?

While those questions have mostly been answered, the investment in Human Resources-related technology by the world’s biggest companies has not slowed. In fact, it seems to have snowballed.

At the time of the LinkedIn acquisition, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wrote:

“We are in pursuit of a common mission centered on empowering people and organizations. Think about it: how people find jobs, build skills, sell, market and get work done and ultimately find success requires a connected professional world.”

That sounds a lot like an investment in some major HR functions.

Facebook launched Workplace late last year, and unveiled a free version for certain organizations in April. A social network worth more than $435 billion and boasting two billion active monthly users decided that investing in a collaborative platform for the corporate environment was worth their time, effort and money.

While my teenage daughter doesn’t think Facebook is cool these days, organizations around the globe are already using Workplace, with more than 100,000 active groups, according to Facebook.

Now, Google is in the game. With the launch of Google for Jobs, which uses machine learning-trained algorithms to sort and organize job listings from popular employment sites, the tech titan believes its time, effort and money are well spent on HR-related tools. They took the common practice of beginning a job search on Google and turned it into THE way we search for jobs.

Taking it one step further, Google entered the recruiting business when it launched Hire this week. Google claims:

“Hire makes it easy for you to identify talent, build strong candidate relationships and efficiently manage the interview process end-to-end.”

The Applicant Tracking System is a crowded field with new apps launching every month it seems. This system from Google that integrates seamlessly with their G Suite, which powers many small and medium-sized businesses, is truly advanced. Expect to see them leverage the existing tech in Google Hangouts and Google Voice to roll out a Video/Text interview feature soon.

While you’re busy adding up the net worth of those three companies joining the HR tech movement, allow me to mention that Bloomberg is reporting on Amazon’s interest in acquiring Slack, the popular business communications company that has been flirting with an IPO.

“Buying Slack would help Amazon bolster its enterprise services as it seeks to compete with rivals like Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. The company’s cloud-hosting unit, Amazon Web Services, in February unveiled a paid-for video and audio conferencing service – Amazon Chime – that lets users chat and share content.”

The most advanced companies are using the most advanced technology to positively affect traditional Human Resources functions, improve workplace communication and collaboration, and to nudge – or shove – HR departments slow to fully accept tech toward total integration.

And, it’s pretty cool.

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