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#HRTechChat Preview: HR Technology Stuck on a Deserted Island

Most of us have heard the question, “If you were stuck on a deserted island and could bring only one [fill in the blank], what would it be?” Maybe it would be your favorite book or music album. Occasionally, the blank in the question is replaced with the word “thing,” and smarty pants respond by saying, “a large, seafaring vessel stocked with food, liquids and fuel.” Fill in the blank with “one type of HR technology,” however, and you have the premise for today’s #HRTechChat.
In the 2000 film “Cast Away,” Tom Hanks, who plays a systems analyst for a multinational corporation, survives a jet airliner crash en route to Malaysia, only to find himself in those most unenviable of circumstances: stuck on an uninhabited island. Left with the wreckage of the aircraft, his natural environs and nothing more, Hanks proceeds to innovate his way out of sure death, to survive. (But he does go crazy for a short bit.)
One Is the Loneliest Number
Don't laugh. Having just one HR technology might make you go crazy. Fortunately, given the growing integration of technologies into suites residing under the auspices of single brands, it might also be impossible to actually have HR technology today that addresses just one aspect of the talent lifecycle. But let’s pretend you could. What part of the talent lifecycle would it be for, and what subset of that part would it be? And how would you innovate to make up for all the rest of your technology, now thousands of miles away and no longer as your disposal?
Yes, the clever among you might say no HR technology whatsoever would be necessary on a deserted island. After all, nobody would be there. But let’s make this thought experiment extra interesting: Let’s say that your entire company is on this deserted island, with you. You’re not alone, and you have an organization to lead. Let’s also leave lower-level administrative functions such as payroll, time and attendance; benefits administration; and the like out of this exercise; otherwise, most of you might pick those, and we might be left with an exceedingly perfunctory #HRTechChat this week.
Just sit right back, and you’ll hear a—
OK, we won’t go there—you may, however, by clicking on the link. Today’s overarching question is more than the kind of gimmick that can support a classic and beloved situation comedy. We want to know what HR technology you would feel or actually be lost without. And that is a topic as deep as the ocean.
Vendors seem to tout technology as the answer to human resources’ challenges. It isn’t, but some HR technologies are more of an answer than are others. The evolution of recruiting and talent management has evolved to a point where some technology has become indispensable. Conventional wisdom tells us that, at all but the smallest and simplest organizations, running an HR department today without any talent or recruiting technology is unthinkable, and we’d be lost without that technology. But how wise is that convention? Can you indeed run an HR department with little to no technology today? Let’s keep our heads out of the clouds: Let’s separate the nice-to-haves from the need-to-haves.
A One-hour Tour: #HRTechChat Episode Seventeen—Wednesday 5/16 @ 4pm ET / 1pm PT
Don’t leave us stranded. Join us at 4pm ET / 1pm PT today—we repeat: today—when @talentmgmttech will tweet the following questions for #HRTechChat. Let’s figure out what HR technology to pack when we visit that deserted island.

  • Q1: If you could bring only one HR technology to a deserted island, what would it be? Why? #HRTechChat
  • Q2: Having chosen that one HR technology, you're now stuck on the island. What #HRtech would you miss most? #HRTechChat
  • Q3: How would you innovate to compensate for the absence of your second-choice #HRtech? #HRTechChat
  • Q4: Would you have to further innovate, to account for additional technological deficits? Why or why not? #HRTechChat
  • Q5: If allotted only one #HRTech to bring to a deserted island, what would you never select? #HRTechChat
  • BONUS CONVO: How do we reconcile today’s #HRTechChat topic against the backdrop of single-branded #HRtech suites?