How HR Tech Solutions are Fueling a Hybrid Workplace and Tech-Enabled Workforce – Futurum Tech Webcast Interview Series
by Shelly Kramer | January 20, 2022

In this episode of the Futurum Tech Webcast – Interview Series, we tackle the topic of adjusting to the new Today we are talking about how HR tech solutions are fueling a hybrid workplace and a tech-enabled workforce. My guest today is Jim Newman, President and CEO of HRIZONS, an HR cloud company. Jim is a regular guest on this show, and we spoke last summer about emerging from the pandemic and dealing with what we thought was going to be our post-pandemic world and the realities of our new hybrid workforce.

Well here we are six months later, still battling the effects of variants while also dealing with some pretty unprecedented things like the great resignation. Jim joins me today to continue our conversation about HR tech, and the role it plays in providing solutions to the challenges being faced by a tech-enabled workforce, and the adjustments they are having to make to survive and prosper in a working world defined by a new normal.

Our conversation today touched on the following:

  • Changes in the job market over the course of the last year and what trends and behavior we, and our customers, have been seeing and experiencing.
  • Thoughts on how HR teams can future-proof their businesses from the effects of these trends and behaviors due to the after effects of COVID, when it comes to their Human Capital management experiences.
  • We explored some of the technology solutions HRIZONS provides to support and effectively sustain a hybrid workplace and/or WFH (Work From Home) employment movement and some of the exciting developments from HRIZONS on that front.
  • The role of employee engagement with organizations and how HR technology solutions provide ongoing opportunities for growth.
  • The role of job descriptions within an organization, especially as companies are dealing with the Great Resignation and working from home during the pandemic.

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HR technology solutions are playing an outsized role in midmarket and enterprise organizations. If you’re thinking about integrating an HR tech solution, or evaluating your current platform, or have questions about any part of the process, you are very much not alone on that front. This is absolutely the time to put HR tech on your list of “must have” tech stack additions and we hope the insights shared here are of value to you.

You’ll find Jim Newman on LinkedIn here and feel free to reach out and connect. If you and I aren’t yet connected on LinkedIn, you can find me here: Shelly Kramer on LinkedIn.

Disclaimer: The Futurum Tech Webcast is for information and entertainment purposes only. Over the course of this webcast, we may talk about companies that are publicly traded and we may even reference that fact and their equity share price, but please do not take anything that we say as a recommendation about what you should do with your investment dollars. We are not investment advisors and we do not ask that you treat us as such.


Shelly Kramer: Hello, and welcome to the Futurum Tech Webcast. I’m your host, Shelly Kramer. And today we are talking about an ever relevant topic of adjusting to what we’ve called, over the course of the last couple of years, our new normal. And our new normal in many instances involves a hybrid workplace. My guest today is my friend Jim Newman, he’s the President and CEO of HRIZONS, an HR cloud company. Jim and I spoke last summer about emerging from the pandemic and dealing with what we thought was going to be our post pandemic world and the realities of our new hybrid workplace. And here we are six months later still elbows deep in a pandemic and dealing with some pretty unprecedented things like the great resignation. Jim joins me today and we’re going to continue our conversation about HR tech and the role it plays in providing solutions to the challenges that are being faced by a tech enabled workforce. We’re also going to talk about the adjustments that companies are having to make in order to survive and prosper in a working world defined by that new normal.

Jim, welcome back to the show. It’s always a pleasure to have you.

Jim Newman: Thanks so much, Shelly. It’s great to be here.

Shelly Kramer: Always. Talk a little bit if you… I know you’ve been a regular guest on my show, I so enjoy our conversations to our listening audience. What you don’t know is that when Jim and I do these shows, we spend about an hour in advance before I hit the record button talking about everything under the sun, some of which has nothing to do with the conversation that we’re about to have. We’re pretty good pals, but anyway. Jim, for our audience, tell us a little bit about your company and your background, if you would.

Jim Newman: Sure. Yeah, I’d be happy to. Well, my career has always been in HR and OD. And HR cloud technology, which has really been my focus since founding HRIZONS about 15 years ago. And as you’d mentioned, HRIZONS is an HR cloud company. What we do is we specialize in helping customers on their HR journey to the cloud, with cloud technology, and we partner with SAP SuccessFactors and Qualtrics, and we bring what they call human experience management solutions and consulting and services for our customers. And so our focus, as basically from a market standpoint, is midmarket and enterprise size customers would span really the majority of industries. And what we’re known for is being an innovator of cloud solutions and technologies, and as we’ve talked about in the past is one of our award winning solutions is Job Descriptions Made Simple, or JDS for short. Been in business for 15 years, as I’d mentioned, we operate in multiple countries and, of course, we’re headquartered here out of the US. Hopefully that’s a little bit of background for everybody.

Shelly Kramer: Awesome. Well, thank you. Let’s talk about the job market. We have been seeing many changes over the course of the last year. Can you talk with us a little about some of the trends that you’re seeing and maybe what some of your customers are seeing as well?

Jim Newman: Sure. I’d be happy to. Well, certainly we’ve all heard about the great resignation and that increased turnover has created challenges for many of our customers. And as we even talked about before the session, even for our own companies, you have those challenges. There’s definitely… Seen a lot of wage pressure, very competitive global workforce available to the market. And certainly the pandemic has influenced that greatly. Inflation is also, as we’ve seen in the news, been a huge concern and is playing a part in that wage pressure as well.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jim Newman: And companies just in general, it’s always a challenge to find the right skills and fit for your company, but there is a real challenge to find those qualified employees and it’s forcing customers to reevaluate how they’re going to develop and retain employees as well. I read in a recent article, too, just about how that is a major shift that we’re seeing is I used to be able to just and bring in the skillset I need, but now they may not be available. It’s forcing companies to really think about developing within. And-

Shelly Kramer: Well-

Jim Newman: Oh, sorry.

Shelly Kramer: No, I was just going to add that I think that that’s where the role of technology comes in because what’s happening is that we’re being forced as business owners and leaders of organizations to think about, we may have put some technology solutions lower on our list of nice to have, need to have, we’ll integrate this into such and such budget in such and such time. I think one of the things that the pandemic did for us is spur the adoption of technology at a more rapid pace because we needed it as we made a pivot to hybrid work or remote work or both, but I think that that’s what we’re seeing, too, is really beginning to understand the role that technology can play when everyone is out there fighting for what is a very… It seems like a very small talent pool, and especially when it comes to highly skilled tech talent and that sort of thing. It’s like, you know what, maybe it’s time now to step back and think about those technologies solutions that we’ve been putting on the back burner, maybe we need to look at those a little more closely and look at how integrating them not only changes the employee experience for our existing workforce, but helps fill some of the gap of not being able to always find the workers that we need.

Jim Newman: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, companies are struggling with legacy technologies and not meeting the needs of the new age workforce, the new generation and the level of expectation they have around the consumer experience of enterprise software.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jim Newman: It has to be a good experience.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jim Newman: Plus, you got to look at it on the flip side, the employees want to maintain current skills, they don’t want to work with old legacy tools. They’ve got to market themselves, too, eventually, whether it be internally or externally.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jim Newman: And so they want to work with more current technologies, but you’re right about the employee experience and that user experience. And we’re sitting, a lot of us, in the knowledge worker space in particular, sit in front of computers eight to 10 hours a day, you want that experience to be convenient, fast, efficient, seamless. You don’t want to be pulling your hair out. See, that’s what happened to me 20 years ago.

Shelly Kramer: Speaking about equipment, it always reminds me of… You and I spoke a little bit about our college age children and I remember when one of my daughters, she was on job two or three, probably three after school. She’d moved, she got a job for a big, really well known PR firm based in Chicago, she was so excited because she moved from our home in Kansas City to Chicago to take this job. And she was just kicking butt, right, and she was so excited. And I remember when she started her first day and she texted me a photo of the computer that she had. And it was the oldest, giant piece of old equipment. And she was just like, “I can’t believe this is my computer. What the heck mom?” And then later she told me that you had to earn the right to have the privilege of using a laptop that you could take home to do work from home.

And she had to work there for a year before she got a laptop. But to your point, I mean, that’s not going to fly. And that was, oh gosh, that was 12 years ago. That’s no not going to fly in the workplace right now. It’s like, “Are you kidding me? This is what you expected me to work on? I’m going to pass.” It’s kind of interesting. Let’s talk about what HR teams can do to kind of help future proof their business from the effects of some of these trending behaviors that we’re dealing with when it comes to their HCM experience.

Jim Newman: Sure. Yeah. Well, I think improving the employee experience is possible and much easier than in the old days with this new cloud-based HR technology that we’re able to bring to customers. A lot of it is it’s fully integrated, it can create a seamless and a positive user experience and get your job done better. And I think, beyond the technology, it’s using the technology to help employees understand, are they clear on their job and their expectations if you’re onboarding a new employee or transferring to a new position? Do they have quick access to HR policies like paid time off, which you and I have been talking about a lot and the expectation of different generations have around PTO.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jim Newman: Think about new benefits programs and rewards and recognition and what’s really important career development in advancement. Employees want access to manage their career, but they don’t want it to be difficult, right.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jim Newman: And so what companies can do, and this is where technology is such an enabler, surveying employees annually has been done for decades, but doing it at key points in the employee life cycle, right? Getting pulse surveys, getting employees to be able to give you immediate feedback that you’re constantly monitoring, very similar to what you do from a customer experience standpoint in this day and age is where companies need to go that aren’t there. And most companies aren’t there. They’ve so focused on the basics of human capital management that they haven’t focused on human experience management.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jim Newman: If you want to right future proof your business, you want to make sure that you can attract and retain your workforce and develop your workforce. By doing these things and surveying, it’s great, so long as you demonstrate and build trust within that workforce, that you’re actually going to take action on the feedback and not to just collect the data. That’s really how the future of HR is helping their organizations be more progressive using these integrated technologies and then collecting the data, gaining the insights they need to affect positive change for the organization.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. And that’s not really something that you can go with your gut on, you know what I’m saying? You can’t go with your gut, you can’t really manage it by way a spreadsheet. I mean, it really is something that requires, I think, a little bit more of some developed solutions. And that’s what’s exciting about, to me, about what you and your team at HRIZONS do. Speaking of that, let’s talk about what technology solutions that HRIZONS provides that help customers support and sustain hybrid workplace.

Jim Newman: Sure. Well, all of the products that we bring to market and a couple, I’ll give you an example, there’s SAP SuccessFactors and Qualtrics are to help our customers achieve employee experience management. And of course, as you know, we develop our own products such as Job Descriptions Made Simple, which I’d mentioned, and these are all fully integrated and they ensure successful deployments and they also really help improve adoptions. The customers are getting a full return on their investment for these platforms. Now with these cloud-based solutions, what’s great about them, of course, is it does enable employees to work pretty much from anywhere as long as they’ve got a device and access to the internet.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jim Newman: And so what this was doing is it’s helping companies overcome the many challenges that we’ve been dealing with for the last couple years and will continue to deal with with this pandemic or future challenges and just competitive challenges with employees getting a taste from working from home or hybrid work environments. These cloud-based solutions are critical for enabling employees to be productive outside of the traditional brick and mortar workplace. And then really, from a more strategic perspective, what these solutions do is they allow companies to be more agile. HR teams need to be able, in today’s day and age, quickly adapt to change in their organizations, the competitive landscape for talent, organizational, for example, merger and acquisition.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jim Newman: How are you going to integrate these two workforces over a period of usually a couple years, two, three years, and do that with technology? Very difficult in the old days, it’s getting easier and more agile. What we do is we help customers on that journey to the cloud so they have that platform or platforms that they can offer their workforce, a better technology with HR. They, as a function, can better collect their data, provide insights about the workforce to their management and leadership teams and help shape the organization. For example, we have a product called Org Insight and it helps organizations visualize their workforce, see kind of data, gain those insights, and just like with Qualtrics where we help customers collect employee survey data, it gives the HR and the organization insight to take action. And that’s what’s so important, that’s where the continuous improvement, that’s what helps these organizations remain competitive and ultimately survive because we’re all being challenged with competition and cost.

Shelly Kramer: Oh, absolutely. Now you mentioned adoption and this is something that I think that people don’t talk about a lot or think about a lot, but technology alone is not the answer. You can buy anything and add it to your technology stack and if nobody’s using it or nobody likes it or it’s hard to use or whatever, there’s that money not delivering at all for you. I think that that’s one of the things that I like about, you mentioned your solution, that it helps monitor adoption and can you talk about that a little bit? I know I’m throwing you a little bit on this one, but I’d love to know more about how the HRIZONS technology solutions can help track, monitor, and really speed adoption throughout an organization.

Jim Newman: Well, at the beginning you asked me to tell the audience a little bit about the company and one thing I spoke about was when I started focusing on HR cloud technology, I didn’t say HR technology, I said HR cloud technology, because in my career I worked with legacy technology and it wasn’t agile and it wasn’t effective, and it was very difficult to get people to use. In fact, it was usually HR analysts using it. No one in HR, nevermind employees, used HR technology.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jim Newman: With cloud technology, it’s changed the game. It’s one of the only enterprise products that every employee touches, every employee logs in and uses, right?

Shelly Kramer: Yeah.

Jim Newman: It’s not just for sales, it’s not just for R&D. What happens is that organizations have to take stock of their ability to affect and implement change.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jim Newman: Change management has become a bigger challenge. The technologies are fabulous if they’re deployed correctly, but the internal challenges organizations face is around changing management, which is why when we help customers, we represent and build products that are very integrated so that the adoption part of it, the training part of it for the end user is much easier and seamless. I had a customer come to me and say, “Oh, I love this product you guys built, but change management isn’t son of a gun for us. And we just spent millions of dollars trying to get our employees just to log in to SuccessFactors and go to their home screen.”

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jim Newman: I said, “Well, here’s why we design products where the user already knows how to do that.”

Shelly Kramer: Yeah.

Jim Newman: All they do is click this button and they get into the product, even though it’s our product. And he looked at me and he was like, “Are you serious?”

Shelly Kramer: Are you kidding? I’m so excited.

Jim Newman: This was a two years ago, this was when this was pretty new, right.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah.

Jim Newman: And I said, “That’s the difference.” He goes, “That would save us so much on change management, so much time, so much money. And, oh my God, I got to see this product now.”

Shelly Kramer: Yeah.

Jim Newman: And that’s what we do now. Does that remove the responsibility from the customer? No. Can providers like us help the customer guide them best practices, methodologies, toolkits, change management communications?

Shelly Kramer: Sure.

Jim Newman: Yes, yes, yes. We can do all those things, but a lot of it’s still on the customer, no matter how much service we do or don’t provide, but that adoption, and then being able to fully consume the product so that the customer gets the ROI, that’s a big part of what we do. We’ve evolved as a company, 10 plus years ago, we would deliver the project. Now what we say to customers is we’re your partner through and through.

Shelly Kramer: We’re your partner. We’re here to help you through all of this. Yep.

Jim Newman: School live services, helping them, being a trusted advisor, guiding them through. And educating senior level executives that this isn’t a set and forget it experience for your company.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jim Newman: This is implement it, get adoption and then consumption, and then constant fine tuning.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah.

Jim Newman: Simple analogy is it’s kind of like buying a car. You don’t buy a car and then forget about it, you’ve got to maintain it.

Shelly Kramer: Maintain it, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jim Newman: You’ve got to put it out. You might have to upgrade the tires, redo the brakes, might have to fix stone chips. I mean, it’s not set it and forget it, but the analogy about the adoption…

Shelly Kramer: Well, and I think, too, part of this speaks to digital transformation journeys in general. And if there is a notion that there’s a beginning and an end, that is an incorrect notion. And we have experienced over the course of the last decade, over the course of the last five years, change at an incredibly rapid pace.

Jim Newman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Shelly Kramer: That is not going to slow down, that is actually going to speed up. And so being understanding that the days of the five year plan, right, those are gone. I mean, you can go ahead and do that, good luck, but really today’s, I think, operations and business strategies in general really need to be so much more agile. And things that we’re looking at quarterly, at midyear, at year end and constantly not only maintaining, like maintaining that car, but looking at measuring, tweaking, letting the data be your guide, seeing what kind of results, here’s what we expected.

Here’s what we thought success looked like, here’s what we expected to happen, here’s what actually did happen. Okay. How do we need to change? Maybe we need to shift our strategy, maybe we need to shift how it is we’re going along the path to achieving that strategy. To me, and I realize that I’m an anomaly here and I have a feeling that you are wired a little bit the same way I am, but I actually love change.

Actually, I thrive in a state of chaos and I thrive in a state of uncertainty, and I am not risk averse, and I absolutely understand that everybody is not that way, but that makes me well suited as a leader to understand the need to be agile. And I think that one of the things I say all the time is that navigating a global pandemic has really sucked.

Okay, period, end of story. It has not been fun, but the silver lining to me, and I’m always looking for a silver lining, is that what it did do is it taught us some really important lessons. And it taught people that thought that work can only be done in an office that that’s not correct. And it taught us that building businesses that are future proof, building businesses that can pivot quickly as needed, regardless of how large they may be, those are the things that speak to business continuity and business resilience. Those are the kind of businesses that have strong foundations that will continue to grow and prosper and thrive, but you’ve got to understand that your digital transformation journey is truly that, it’s a journey that will continue on. And the route to success there is understanding the need to tweak and measure and constantly adjust along the way.

Jim Newman: Yeah. I agree. And change provides the opportunity to innovate.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah.

Jim Newman: It forces you to innovate or sometimes become a dinosaur, and I think that’s why as entrepreneurs, we embrace change and see it that way. And I look at it very much the same and I think what we’re also doing as leaders and whether it be implementing new technology or changing your business strategy, you’re setting a direction in the vision, but it doesn’t mean exactly how you’re going to get there.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah.

Jim Newman: And so you have to be able to pivot and zig and zag and with these technologies in larger organizations in particular, I mean, you and I run smaller organizations, but you think of these mega organizations with thousands and thousands of employees.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jim Newman: You need to empower your leaders, your directors, your managers, and listen to your employees. And so that’s what these technologies allow us to do. Collect data, listen to employees, take action, improve, fine tune as the organization is learning how to operate better under these new pressures and a new vision or the existing vision that you’re trying to drive the organization towards executing.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah.

Jim Newman: You just can’t do it without… You can’t scale and do this at scale without technology.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah.

Jim Newman: And you need technology that’s agile enough to support the needs and creates that right user experience. That’s, at the end of the day, what we believe in and that’s why I passionate about our business is because we know our customers are going to be better with all of these recipes and adopt these best practices and deploy these technologies.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. I agree. Absolutely. We touched on employee engagement and I know your answer, I mean, I know that we’re 100% on the same page here, but let’s talk a little bit about what role employee engagement plays in making a hybrid workplace a successful practice for employers going forward.

Jim Newman: Yeah. Employee expectations have increased dramatically with respect to HR technology, with respect to how organizations treat their workforces, how they support their communities and causes as well that the workforce cares about. HR, we look at it through a technology lens, has to be able to deliver a consumer like technology experience to its employee, right? Employee and manager self-service, for example, should be readily available with HR business partners, people available for more difficult, complex issues of course, but that technology should be easy. If I need to change my address or my marital status or look something up a benefits program, it shouldn’t be difficult. I mean, I can Google it on a consumer level, why can’t I internally just quickly go somewhere and get the information I need? Self-service, I don’t want to be bothered having to phone someone, explain, ask a gazillion questions.

I just want to research quickly and get an answer. That’s really a key way to help deal with these improving employee engagement. The other thing that these platforms do is it’s a vehicle for communication from leadership. It creates more visibility, it’s easier to find, it allows HR, for example, to showcase career development programs, company sponsored community programs, for example, as well, where look, we’re organizing this, we want our employees to get involved and engaged in the community. That’s at your fingertips. Those are the types of things that improve engagement. And of course, when it comes to the job itself, employees, they need to be empowered to do their jobs, right. They don’t want to be told what to do anymore, what’s my job, train me how to do it, explain to me where my tools are, and then I just want to go execute.

I want to do a great job, and I want to be fulfilled in my role in this company. Part of that is, for example, even being able to review their job description online, leveraging their capabilities around how they’re going to execute that job successfully, how they’re going to develop the skills they need. HR is making this shift, and we’ve talked about actually HR being strategic for decades, but when it comes to technology, the focus now is on enabling versus administering as much. They still have to administer, but enabling. And then to do that, you have to be able to solicit feedback from those employees and managers and develop these continuous feedback loops and action plans so that you’re making improvements to keep engagement levels high, right, throughout the entire employee life cycle. How do you do that without operational and experience management technology platforms? The answer’s simple, you don’t.

Shelly Kramer: You don’t.

Jim Newman: You need technology. These are the ways that organizations can institute the technology platforms they need, the culture they need, and really do it with visibility and transparency by leveraging these as communication vehicles and enabling vehicles for their employees.

Shelly Kramer: Well, so let’s talk about job descriptions, you just touched on that. How important are job descriptions? And I will admit that I had never thought about how important job descriptions are until you and I got acquainted and I understood more about the challenges that job descriptions present within an organization. How important are they? And especially as companies are dealing with a great resignation.

Jim Newman: Yeah. Well, they’re very important and we’re passionate about this and let’s just share it with the audience. Let’s list some fundamentals, right.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jim Newman: Job descriptions are one, they’re the basis for recruiting new employees, right? What is the job that they’re going to be doing, how are you advertising this? They’re the basis for compensation and pay rates and how are people going to be paid for that job, and how does it compare to the market? They’re ensuring the organization’s compliant with regulations and dealing with accommodating employees in their jobs when they have some sort of a physical challenge or some sort of a disability. They define what the employees responsible for, what certifications they need that could be a compliance thing in certain industries, what skills and experiences are required.

You think about that, they really, again, they’re empowering managers and employees to say, “Hey, what jobs are available for me in this organization? What’s my current job expectation? How am I going to be successful?” And so that’s a real benchmark to manage and measure the employees again, but what’s the challenge of that? Well, how do you keep those job descriptions up to date? Most of our customers have hundreds, if not thousands of job descriptions, right?

Shelly Kramer: Yes.

Jim Newman: And they’re trying to match people to jobs, right?

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jim Newman: If you don’t have your jobs well defined, how do you match the people to those jobs and remain compliant? Well, again, the answer is you don’t.

Shelly Kramer: You don’t.

Jim Newman: And they help employees understand, we were talking about employee engagement and career development being one of the critical ingredients. How does an employee… We hear that often from people and customers in particular that are struggling with this is their employees don’t know what other jobs are available in their organization, so they leave, right.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jim Newman: I mean, I can wait until a job posting, but why are you waiting until you need them? Why aren’t you promoting the job that they want to aspire to proactively so that they can grow into that job and talk to their managers in HR about it. And organizations have to change their culture, don’t be afraid of that. Don’t be afraid of an employee wanting to grow and develop. I mean, put yourself in their shoes when you were at that stage of your career.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah.

Jim Newman: We all want that, or most people do

Shelly Kramer: Well, and I think that that’s also what we’re seeing in terms of the future of work and some of the changes that we’re seeing in the workplace and what our employees are wanting from organizations that they work with. And there are things that I can promise you were not ever part of offerings when I was making my way in the early years, but employees care a lot about things like financial wellness and financial wellness programs that are offered within an organization and mental health being something that’s not shameful, but that’s being part of health and wellness initiatives and reskilling and upskilling and career development. And they’re coming into organizations saying these are all the things that are important to me, and, and if I’m going to choose to work for this company, I want to know that these things are important to you, too.

And I want to that you understand that my career progression is important to me and that you’re supporting me along the way. And so I think it’s incredibly important, especially, as we try to hold on to people. And the other thing I think that we see though, is that I think a lot of times the mindset is should I stay, should I go, what have you done for me lately? And if you are not actively creating a culture all the time that lets employees know how important they are to you, and that you do very much care about the things that they care about. And, “Oh, by the way, if the programs that we’ve implemented with regard to career development opportunities, learning development, whatever it is, if those aren’t hitting the mark, we want to know so that we can fix that.”

And so I think that that’s kind of the shift that leaders need to take, HR leaders and beyond, as it comes to culture, as it relates to technology within the workplace. I mean, it’s gone well beyond I don’t want to have a POS computer on my desk that’s a thousand years old. It’s gone beyond the equipment to what other kinds of offerings… And when you were talking about job descriptions, how great would it be as an employee to just be notified. “Hey, Jim, you may or may not have seen this job posting, but here’s an opportunity in such and such division, blah, blah, blah. It seems like a perfect match for your skillsets. Would you be interested in coming in and talking about it?” That never happens.

Jim Newman: Well, it should happen, right? And we should be empowering employees to be able to explore their options and let them know that we care about them holistically. I mean, that’s really the shift, I think. We used to care about employees from nine to five, now we care about employees because their work and home and personal life is so intertwined. I mean, look at the challenges we’re facing, going beyond COVID-19 as a contributor. I mean, fatigue, right? The work from home metamorphosis, mental, emotional health deterioration that we’re challenged with as a society with all these changes we’re adapting to. Childcare caregiver demands with aging parents. I mean, all these things impact people’s ability to be productive and they want to work for organizations that care and that will support them through those life events.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jim Newman: Having the right policies, programs, and certainly technologies helps organizations to become the kind of organization that retains its workforce and develops that workforce over time, but it’s a challenge and there’s a lot of business challenges that are happening concurrently. To say oh, we’ll just create this utopia vision for HR, we know it’s not easy, but you have this fire to it, you have to keep working towards it or your competitors will. They’ll figure out a way and you won’t.

Shelly Kramer: Well, or your employees will go to work for your competitors. I mean, it really is that simple.

Jim Newman: It’s that simple. Yeah.

Shelly Kramer: It really is that simple. Always a fascinating conversation, Jim. I know that the benefit of kind of being a nerd and having a whole bunch of nerdy friends is that we love these topics and we could talk about them forever and it’s always such a pleasure being able to hang out with you and have you share some of your great insights with us. Thank you for coming on the show yet again, and I look forward to seeing you over here again sometime soon.

Jim Newman: Yeah, Shelly, it’s been a pleasure. Really enjoy our conversations. I hope the audience finds them beneficial as well. I hope to do it again.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely. I will include… For our audience, thank you so much for joining us no matter where you might find us on YouTube, you might find us on the Futurum blog, you might find us through your favorite streaming platform. I will include a link to Jim’s LinkedIn profile, I encourage you if you are not yet connected to him, to reach out. I know he would love that. And if you have any questions about HR technology and how Jim and HRIZONS and his team might be able to help you, I know he is more than happy to talk with you about it. With that, thank you. And we’ll see you again next time.

About the Author

Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”