I had the opportunity to attend Globoforce’s Workhuman event, currently being held in Orlando.
Here are my Top 3 takeaways of the event:

Engagement matters – No surprise, engagement was core and center at this conference, and that’s what Globoforce is known for and very good at. The perspective angle changed though a little bit – as the view now is more about working more ‘human’, bringing back the ‘humanity’ to the workplace. Humans do well with feedback, especially when it is positive, and all of that leads to more engaged employees. It was interesting to learn that video feedback works even better, something seems to kick in in inside our brains when we see positive feedback being given to us.

And more engaged employees don’t leave, don’t call in sick and deliver more, are overall more productive. So engagement is something that employers should all strive and go for. Why they aren’t remains one of the mysteries of the 21st century – and a challenge for vendors like Globoforce. Performance Management at large remains broken in North America and Europe, and we know that more continuous feedback is key. CEO Mosley went so far as to call it ‘crowdsourcing’ the feedback process. With an aging and more and more expensive workforce, we think time plays in the hands of Globoforce (and similar vendors), as employers cannot afford a disengaged workforce as little as they cannot afford to understand where and who their talented employees are. 
CEO Mosley welcomes attendees

Partnership with IBM – Globoforce and IBM unveiled a partnership at the event. Basically Globoforce will become a data source for IBM’s cognitive computing platform, Watson, where combined with the Kenexa and other data it will help to create more powerful analytics for HR professionals (using the IBM Kenexa Talent Insights product, powered by IBM Watson Analytics). As common these days the integration will be vendor supported, with Globoforce maintaining the interface for their data towards IBM, which is a sensible approach. Both vendors will explore common analytical offerings, but I guess it was too early for more specifics here. A good move for both vendors as Globoforce gets access to a cognitive computing platform that is being built by a R&D team funded by multiple times Globoforce revenue (no numbers disclosed – guestimate here) and IBM gets another data source to make Watson predictions more powerful. On the IBM side the move is another step in IBM’s strategy to acquire data sources for better insights, on a macro level see e.g. the recent partnerships with Twitter and weather providers. The press release on this announcement can be found here.

Happy Workers work Harder, from Mosley' presentation

Rich roadmap – Closer to home for Globoforce, the vendor plans to improve reporting and analysis capability. Not surprising as reports can show if the social engagement and feedback solution that Globoforce offers, really works. As typical for a SaaS vendors, releases come out quarterly and the roadmap is rather fluid and dynamic, so it will be interesting to see what Globoforce does on the overall functionality side as well as what will come out of the partnership with IBM in regards of ‘true’ analytics (those who take an action and / or make a recommendation and in 99% of the case don’t show colorful pictures). 

Visualization of recognition in Globoforce product


The setup for Globoforce is favorable, as its product needs only minimal setup - e.g. users - and is good to go - so perfect for a cloud based, next generation Application.

On the concern side we found a few inconsistencies in the Globoforce user interface, something the vendor can address with some easy and quick housekeeping releases. The basic functionality – reward / recognize – is straight forward and easy to use.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the overall employee recognition space in the next 4-6 quarters – we will be watching. In the meantime congrats to Globoforce to a great event.

More interesting blog posts:
  • Musings - Speed matters for HR - how to accelerate - Part II read here - Part I read here
  • Musings - Is TransBoarding the future of People Management - read here
  • Musings - What are 'true' analytics - a manifesto - read here
  • Musings - How Technology Innovation fuels Recruiting and disrupts the Laggards - read here
  • Musings - What is the future of recruiting? Read here
  • HRTech 2014 takeaways - read here.
  • Why all the attention to recruiting? Read here.
Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard