HRO Today Forum 2014 – An HR Tech Advisor View on the Technology

HRO Today Forum LogoHRO Today Forum

May 6, 2014 The Westin Philadelphia, PA

What does a $300M HRO contract get you? Behind the outsource “partner” there is a lot of HR technology making the magic of HR outsourcing happen.

HRO, MSP, RPO, Baker’s Dozen – just a few of the terms that were thrown around during the HR Outsourcing industry’s premier event this past week in Philadelphia. What does it all mean? It’s all about HR – whether in-house or outsourced, the goals are the same but the stakes are higher. If a company manages their HR or recruiting in-house and something goes wrong, someone is likely to get fired. But if a company outsources and things turn south, it could jeopardize a $300M contract and hundreds of jobs.

Bizzabo appBecause HR Tech is getting a lot of focus these days SharedXpertise, the event organizer, has been ramping up their commitment to the HR Tech industry. As part of that commitment, they invited me to help cover the event with blogs and tweets. This was the first year for me and I was very pleasantly surprised by the high quality of the event, presentations and the networking. New tech debuting this year is a conference smartphone app by Bizzabo – one of the best I have seen…. really!

The event kicked off Monday night with the HRO Today Awards Gala. Although I missed it, I heard it was a great event with lots of humor and magic.

The main Forum cranked up Tuesday morning with SharedXpertise CEO Elliot Clarke cracking jokes and showing a local Philly movie clip (no, not Rocky; it was Trading Places!) followed by dozens of sessions in nine tracks. All the sessions were engaging with live presenters sharing insightful data and stories of success in HR.

Elliott Clark and Michelle DiTondo on stage at HRO Today Forum (photo by Forum Staff)

Elliott Clark and Michelle DiTondo on stage (photo by Forum Staff)

Some Plenary Sessions, like the one featuring Michelle DiTondo, SVP of HR for MGM Resorts International, used a video to enhance the audience engagement. Michelle showcased how they trained 40,000 employees in 3 days using a “School House Rock” theme; owning an arena in Vegas surely helped!

Elliott Clark and Michelle DiTondo on stage (photo by Forum Staff)

Elliott Clark and Michelle DiTondo discussing the School House Rock approach to training


The CHRO Roundtable was not round but it was well rounded with a panel of HR Leaders sharing how they tackle today’s HR challenges. Great insights came from senior HR leaders from First Advantage, UniTek Global Services, North Shore-LIJ Health System, Cigna Corporation, SAS and Colliers International.

One of my favorite tweets really captured a key theme, “Joe Cabral CHRO @NorthShoreLIJ – HR can’t be a strategic advisor if you have not built trust with C-Suite”.HRO Today Forum CHRO Panel on stage (photo by Forum Staff)

John Murabito, EVP HR at Cigna Corporation, commented on their huge growth spike going from $18B to $34B in the last 4 years. “A Talent Architect role is the most critical, one who brings together marketing, data analytics and technology.”

Jennifer Mann, VP HR at SAS, shared some thoughts on their hiring and retention success and said “We hire problem solvers; they don’t want to be micromanaged day to day but do want that for their career.”

Rebecca Callahan, Group President, Professional Solutions, Randstad US, President, Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), Randstad Sourceright Valerie Egan, Head of Resourcing, North America , Linde

Rebecca Callahan, President RPO for Randstad Sourceright & Valerie Egan, Head of Resourcing, N.A. for Linde

Another Plenary Session featured Valerie Egan, Head of Resourcing for Linde, and their RPO partner Randstad Sourceright. Valerie shared, “Our 6+ year partnership has seen success because we are always looking for meetings we can take our RPO partner to in order to better understand the business.”


Tektonic Awards at HRO Today ForumDuring lunch the annual TekTonic Awards were presented to recognize innovation and disruption in the world of HR technology.  A panel of judges and analysts reviewed press and/or analysts comments on the software solution and nomination applications. Out of 20 nominees there were five winners by category (descriptions were supplied by the suppliers):

  • Talent Management/Recruiting: Montage Talent with Question Configuration
    • The hiring manager can have options of how each individual question is asked and answered with on-demand video interviewing. Adjustments can be made for question delivery (video, audio, or text), response submission (video, audio, or text), and recording options (no re-recording allowed which uncovers quick thinking skills or unlimited re-recording allowed which allows for more thoughtful candidate responses).
  • Learning/Performance Management: Chronus Corp. with Chronus Mentor
    • Chronus Mentor helps its clients create successful online mentoring programs to engage employees and learn from existing resources. Chronus Mentor saves administrative time and cost while simultaneously promoting learning and addressing key talent and career development initiatives.
  • Workforce Management/Compensation: Thomsons Online Benefits
 w/ Darwin

    • Darwin is a cloud-based global benefits management and employee engagement software that securely integrates with benefits providers, HR systems, and payroll as a single source. It enables organizations to manage their benefits globally, while also acting locally by offering benefits and communications relevant to each individual market in which they are operating.
  • HRMS Suites: Electronic Commerce, Inc. (ECI)
 with Empower

    • With single sign-on access and a variety of customizable features, ECI Empower® delivers the ability to streamline communication, automate workflows, and simplify the user experience across a full scope of employee administration requirements. Cloud-based Empower allows its users to have access to a system with the capability to manage the entire employment life cycle.
  • Screening: iReviewNow from SecurTest
    • iReviewNow allows employees to view the information produced by a background check at the same time as the potential employer views it. This allows the candidates to ensure the report’s accuracy, dispute inaccuracies, and explain previous convictions and rehabilitations. iReviewNow mitigates risk for employers during the hiring process, as there is possibility of expensive and time-consuming litigation when using information provided by background checks.

Afternoon sessions were chock full of HR leaders sharing truly useful insights and data points delighting the audience with top learning opportunities. The Healthcare Workforce Track featured top employers talking about a fast growing niche in HR Tech – Video Interviewing.

Chris Young Async Interview CEO leads panel discussion on Video Interviewing

Chris Young Async Interview CEO leads panel discussion on Video Interviewing

The session was moderated by Christopher Young, CEO of Async Interview. Panelist Neil Cohen, VP OD & HR at Affiliated Distributors shared, “We used to use spreadsheets, now with video interviewing we have reduced our time to fill and also saved time for our hiring managers, which is a huge dollar value savings.”

Ken Lane, Director of Talent Acquisition for AmeriHealth Caritas, had a lot to share. He noted: “65% of candidates do video interviewing after hours which helps decrease cycle time and increase manager effectiveness”; “Legal challenges of diversity and OFCCP compliance – there was a lot of noise but no substance”; “Adoption was organic – once you have one success with someone in-house who speaks loudly on your behalf you will get adoption from there.”

Kim Delaney, Nurse Recruiting Manager for CHOP reflected, “As a nurse, I know what it takes to be successful here. Video interviewing really helps determine if the candidate will be a fit – they must be mature enough to deal with children and parents at the worst time of their life.” (NOTE: I recently interviewed Kim who will be featured in a sidebar article in HRO Today Magazine in the June edition; be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it!)

Gloria Foust, Sourcing Executive for Novation, Paul Helm, VP Staffing for Golden Living and Ralph Henderson, President of Healthcare Staffing, AMN Healthcare

Gloria Foust, Sourcing Executive for Novation, Paul Helm, VP Staffing for Golden Living and Ralph Henderson, President of Healthcare Staffing, AMN Healthcare

Another Healthcare Workforce Track – Outsourcing Managed Services and Contingent Labor.

The panelists were led by Ralph Henderson, President of Healthcare Staffing for AMN Healthcare.

Gloria Foust, Sourcing Executive for Novation, highlighted that “HR Tech is important, as we rely on (our RPO partner) Pinstripe to bring that in (ATS, Onboarding, etc.)” and “A key metric showing our RPO partnership is working is reflected by the decreased number of calls from managers with a staffing issue.” She also noted that “Quarterly check-ins with the VPs used to start with issues related to staffing but that’s not the first topic anymore.”

One of my favorite #HRTech tweets from the afternoon was “Paul Helm VP TA for Golden Living Must know what problems to solve before bringing in vendors for demos.”

Paul also shared, “Video interviewing – we’re using it not for high volume, but low volume with a goal to shorten time to decision w/in 48 hours” and “Our HR Talent Dashboard lets us evaluate leaders on their business performance against their readiness.”

Shelly Olejniczak, VP at Cielo Talent Solutions & Lisa Pera Director, Client Services for Princeton Healthcare System

Shelly Olejniczak, VP at Cielo Talent Solutions & Lisa Pera Director, Client Services for Princeton Healthcare System

The last session I covered on Wednesday that involved HR Tech was, once again, the Healthcare Workforce Track – Achieving Breakthrough Performance Results in Today’s Healthcare. This session featured Shelly Olejniczak, VP at Pinstripe Healthcare (now Cielo Talent Solutions), and her client, PHCS.

Lisa Pera, Director of Client Services at Princeton Healthcare System stated: “Candidate experience is a new metric for us – we compare PHCS to their (Pinstripe’s) book of business”; “We use web based HR tech to schedule interviews which saved 1100 hours of recruiter time last year by helping candidates get through the process more quickly”: “we set up kiosks in HR with a “Bat Phone”, which goes directly to our “impression center” (RPO support center) and we put a TA coordinator on site to help candidates, if needed. It worked so well that the home care group has asked for the same ability.”






The first day wrapped up with a Double Header: first, an elegant networking reception at the hotel sponsored by Pontoon, then a huge party taking up the entire Howl at the Moon night club, sponsored by Allegis Global Solutions…. lots of fun and some great photos, most of which (hopefully) will not make it out into the wild!20140506_20060520140506_20071720140506_200357



About Ward Christman (HR Tech Advisor)

Ward Christman has 25+ years experience in HR technology and services with special expertise in employee referral, ATS solutions and job marketing (via job boards and social media). Ward has helped create dozens of successful partnerships between HR Tech companies. Career Summary: - Launched one of the first online job boards in 1992 (9 years) - Key member of HRsmart (ATS and TM) growth team (8 years) - Contributor to Lawson’s new HCM team (1 year) - First hire for Bullhorn’s corporate social recruiting platform (1 year) - Turnaround artist (Product Owner) for Kenexa’s 2xRecruit ATS (1 year) - Launchpad boosters for RolePoint’s entry into the Social Referral market - Founder, Chief Advisor and Publisher for HR Tech Advisor (2014) - Co-Founder of (2015) More details at