HR Tech Show Top Products: Kronos, BranchOut, Monster, ADP, and More

There are some clever and innovative products on display at the HR Tech show here in Las Vegas this week, and 11 of them were recognized today as among the best.

At the annual awards luncheon, HR Executive magazine, sponsor of the show now in its 14th year, honored products as diverse as an online management simulation tool from DDI to a mobile time-and-attendance and scheduling app from Kronos. Perhaps the most unusual among them products is the Keas Health Challenge, a game-based health improvement tool that encourages employees to live healthier through contests, team challenges, and the promise of rewards.

In the social media area, the HR Executive judges picked BranchOut and its competitor, Monster’s BeKnown, as top products, saying they “represent innovative ways to leverage the popularity of Facebook for recruiting.” Coincidentally, BranchOut and CareerBuilder announced a partnership today, which TLNT’s Lance Haun wrote about in detail.

More small vendors at 2011 HR Tech

Another announcement came from ADP, which released Vantage, an HCM system that integrates its famed payroll processing, and benefits handling, with compensation (which it got when it bought Workscape), recruitment (from Virtuale]Edge), succession, and performance. ADP’s SVP of Product Management Don Weinstein said the company’s acquisitions over the last couple years gave it “a pretty strong foundation to build on.”

It’s SaaS-based, as are most HR technology services these days. But one thing ADP rightfully pointed out in the announcement is that it can rightfully claim to be a leader in cloud-based delivery. Tens of thousands of companies have been delivering their payroll data to ADP to handle for years.

Not every announcement or exhibitor, of course, is of the size of an ADP.

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Indeed, it seems there are more smaller vendors here than in previous years, when the show was in Chicago. (It returns there next year.) One exhibitor with the curious name of Thought Farmer has a standalone intranet that incorporates a strong social element. Chris McGrath, a co-founder of the Canadian company, talked about its many attributes, but what caught my pedestrian attention was when he mentioned that employees could, say, supplement the telephone system instructions with their own tips and suggestions. There are far loftier uses for the social collaboration built into the Thought Farmer intranet, but providing a way to address the minor, yet annoying problems of office life is alone a worthy goal.

Prositions is a company that serves both ends of the talent lifecycle: the hiring and the unhiring. It specializes in using technology for transitions. While delivering outplacement services online is neither new nor uncommon with the launch of sites like RiseSmart, Prositions CEO Frank Russell says he’s seeing a surprising interest in his company’s DCAP services. The acronym stands for dual career assistance program, and Russell says that offering the service for the spouse or significant other of a hot prospect can tip the hiring scales.

It’s an outgrowth of a service that more or less began with universities and colleges who used it to lure new faculty. Often, the candidate’s spouse was a professional with a career, so the school would help that person find an equivalent position in order to close the deal. Russell says that’s where Prositions is seeing strong growth. “Providing that job assistance can make the difference where relocation is involved,” he said.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


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