This year I have the honor (and challenge) of being one of four analysts working with the HR Technology Conference to pick the next great HR tech company. Of the hundreds of submissions to this year’s contest, eight have been selected and four will actually get to present on-stage at HR Tech to a live audience. That audience will vote on who is the best and a new champion will be crowned.

With that in mind, I’d love some help! I am coaching two companies in the contest, Papaya Global and Proxfinity. In this semifinal round of voting, you can only pick one, but I’d love for you to take a few minutes and check out all of the contenders and make your vote heard!

If you like the podcast medium, you can listen here to Steve Boese, Chairman of the HR Tech Conference, and George LaRocque, a friend, analyst, and the President of the Ben Eubanks fan club (his words, not mine) talk about the eight companies.

If you prefer to read, here is the link to the contest overview where you can learn about the participants and place your vote.

About My Picks

I have two completely different companies in the running and both of them are doing really innovative work. I love both of these companies and would be thrilled to see either of them enter the finals!

Papaya Global is a solution that helps companies that are expanding globally. They focus not just on the compliance side and helping employers understand how to set up entities (or not), hire locally, and manage their payroll and benefits, but they also provide a technology platform that offers transparency and scalability. I’ve hired internationally before. It’s a huge challenge for smaller companies that don’t have a ton of resources and experience. And with more companies expanding globally than ever before (the US has a 4% unemployment rate, for goodness’ sake), this is the time for a company like Papaya to step up. The other angle on this is the increasing reliance on contingent labor. If I need a part-time developer for six months, it may be easier to find and hire that person in Singapore or Brazil than it would be to find, hire, and release that person in my home country. These project-based hires are becoming more frequent in today’s world, which means there’s a big need to fill.

Proxfinity is focused on creating connections in and among your workforce and providing analytics on those connections in ways you could have only dreamed of. It hinges on a few things, primarily a wearable badge that flashes when you are in proximity to someone else with similar interests so you can make that physical connection. I’ve always said there’s nothing that substitutes for a face-to-face conversation and Proxfinity is making those easier than ever. Plus, you can see analytics on the back end, which opens up a world of possibilities. For example, you may find out that your onboarding meetups are not properly mixing your new staff with executives, which may prompt you to change your approach. Or you might realize that while you promote diversity and inclusion, in reality the various groups of workers don’t mix as you might hope. Finally, you might just need to get your people outside their comfort zone and interacting with workers in other departments and functions, and you can program the badges to light up when someone is nearby that doesn’t have your same type of job. It’s a new area for HR to get into but I think there is incredible promise, and it’s the only solution in the competition with a wearable/hardware component.

Don’t forget to vote here. And if you’re going to be at HR Tech this year, let me know and we can try to connect!

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