HR Indaba hosts first-ever Pitch Fest

Participants had to sell their value proposition – in seven minutes or less.

The HR Indaba is Africa’s biggest online HR conference and virtual exhibition. This year the it featured something new: a live, in-studio Pitch Fest where leading HR service providers had to pitch what they offer in under seven minutes.

The Pitch Fest was hosted by comedian and MC extraordinaire Chris Forrest, who had the virtual audience of HR professionals in stitches (if the numerous LOLs and “Chris you’re killing me!” on the interactive chat screens were anything to go by).

The Pitch Fest was held in three rapid-fire, one-hour rounds and was made possible by CHRO SA’s valued partners. If the HR participants liked what they heard, they could engage with the service providers’ representatives via their virtual stands once the session was over.

The Pitch Fest was kicked off by Jannie Malan, a principal solutions consultant for Workday South Africa. With 9,500 global customers, Workday is a leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources. Jannie emphasised how new ways of working, economic uncertainty, and industry disruption have highlighted the changing world we live and work in, and that Workday has learnt that, for organisations to stay competitive, they need to be highly adaptive.

Jannie highlighted the “growing acceleration gap” – which is only getting bigger and is hampered by outdated ERP systems. Workday, however, lets organisations move beyond traditional ERP through their Enterprise Management Cloud, which delivers human capital management and analytics – among many other capabilities – all in the cloud. Jannie then highlighted the skills challenge many organisations face today: retaining them, growing them internally, and attracting them. “Workday has long realised that skills are going to be the new currency, and we can leverage the innate ability of the platform to surface insights so that organisations can plan for long-term success,” explained Jannie.

Through a skills ontology that’s transferred to a library and maintained by Workday, machine learning, as well as the platform’s knowledge of the employee, Workday infers skills to an individual and reveals skills that they may not even have known they had.

Then, through the Skills Marketplace and Career Hub, Workday leverages these skills across the platform to provide employees with opportunities to contribute to their organisations through gigs, sprints, and projects, so they can use existing skills while growing others. Team leads and managers can also easily source and identify skills – and importantly, the gaps – within the organisation.

Jannie also highlighted Workday Peakon Employee Voice which provides a continuous, active listening platform to build real-time dashboards that generate actionable insights on employee sentiment about diversity, belonging and inclusion, as well as execution analytics that enables the organisation to act with speed and confidence.

“My call to action to you is this: if you’re struggling with issues relating to building, maintaining, or attracting a skilled workforce, we want to understand how you can enable your organisation to easily plan, execute, and analyse for future success,” concluded Jannie.

The highlights from the Pitch Fest included:

Zeelo, a tech-enabled transport solution for employees. Zeelo got the online chat buzzing with their unique offering that helps companies deliver safe, reliable, and convenient commuting services for their workforce.

The service includes door-to-door transfers for employees, late-night take-home services, and shuttles that link employees to public transport hubs – all through a fully managed, end-to-end TaaS (transport as a solution) app. Zeelo uses an algorithm and data to identify poorly served employees and build convenient timetables that fit in with their schedules, live tracking, online booking, 24/7 human support, as well as vehicle management that uses quality local operators or the company’s existing transport provider.

Vodacom Business’s employee engagement platform has over 200,000 employees using the system. The platform is fully managed, cloud-based and mobile (or USSD), and it connects a workforce no matter where they are, all with the same messaging. It’s also module-based and can feature HR self-service functionality, among many other options.

SmartAdvance highlighted how a happier and more productive workforce is a financially secure one. The all-in digital solution is two-fold: it enables employees to access safe and affordable financial services and products, while employers can manage and track the upliftment of employees through a dashboard and smart reports.

Trainiac is a learning design consultancy that provides strategic content and engagement solutions. They create meaningful and unique learning and development content that can be effectively placed in an organisation – and they make it easy to engage with in a one-stop-shop format.

TalentSmith Technology took a different approach in their pitch: Roland Glass, the chief business officer, sat down with “two HR rock stars”, who are TalentSmith’s clients. The two HR professionals shared how they have dealt with challenges in their respective onboarding processes, especially in a remote working environment. They also spoke about how TalentSmith’s technology solutions and managed services have helped enhance their respective organisations’ attraction, selection, onboarding, and engagement of talent.

HRTorQue Outsourcing provides easy, practical solutions to real-world HR, payroll, tax, and accounting challenges. They offer a full suite of outsourced HR services like Employment Equity reporting, HR consulting, and pre-employment checks, as well as HR admin services. As Jonathan Aitken, the director of HRTorQue explained, “Using our services is like having a warm, comfort blanket available in case the weather turns cold.”

ASI focuses on creating generational wealth and giving back to help others change lives. Through their independent advisory service, they provide bespoke employee benefits solutions and employee wellness programmes that are individual and holistic.

InterviewME is a South African ‘One-Way’ video SaaS interviewing platform that helps companies with their initial screening and first interview process. The software platform conducts the initial screening – the aim is not to replace human interviews, but rather it’s to help companies quickly identify who they want to interview. So, what would take 30 minutes now takes five. Companies can also build branded interviews that candidates can take in their own time, and employers can view in their own time.

SmartWage started with an interesting fact: 95 percent of South Africans use WhatsApp daily. SmartWage essentially formalises Whatsapp to help companies connect with their workforce and offers a range of HR solutions such as payslip delivery, announcements and surveys, and leave requests – but not via email or SMS. It’s all on WhatsApp.

Oracle’s Oracle ME is a comprehensive employee engagement platform that empowers talent and allows employees to connect. It’s geared toward the deskless employee – the employee of “now”, who wants a personalised experience. Part of the Oracle Fusion Cloud, Oracle ME provides personalised guidance and brings together employee communications, workflows, listening, networking, and support on an open platform.

CoachHub ended off the final round of the Pitch Fest by punting their unique digital, measurable, and scalable coaching solution. Coaching is often ring-fenced around senior managers, and CoachHub aims to make it available to employees across the board. “We make coaching digital with a trackable impact – and it’s not just for retaining top performers, either, as women and leadership and DE&I are among many use cases,” concluded Khanyisani Zungu, CoachHub’s enterprise transformation consultant.

The first HR Indaba Pitch Fest was a huge success (and it was hilarious – thanks to Chris Forrest). Plus, R5,000 cash was up for grabs for the most engaged HR participant. It was also announced that, after a two-year wait, the next HR Indaba will be in-person, so HR professionals, keep your diaries open for 18 October 2022, and we’ll see you at the Sandton Convention Centre.