Market Watch for Talent & HR- April

Executive Summary

Acquisitions across the talent lifecycle continues in April. Innovation for talent and HR is booming, as wellbeing organizations are bringing new capabilities (neuroscience and biometrics) to increase employees’ health analytics, productivity, and behavioral change.

The employee upskilling market is becoming top priority for organizations and creating a new way to use AI to create personalized learning pathways and career growth. Furthermore, virtual reality for employee training is changing the way training is delivered. Coursera went public and reached 70M users and will be opening accessible ways to develop future ready skills while changing the learning experience accelerated by Covid-19.

Talent marketplace platforms are on the rise with investments to accelerate growth and market expansion allowing organizations to connect employees with opportunities based on aspirations, skills and experience. The internal marketplace goes beyond match employees to full-time jobs: it creates a culture of growth and provide visibility into existing talent ecosystem to allocate resources at scale based on business needs.

Market Insights/Newsroom

  • Degreed, a leading learning experience platform (LXP), raised $153 million in Series D Funding valuing it at more than $1.4 billion. Dan Levin, former COO of Box, will succeed Chris McCarthy as CEO of Degreed. The funding will be used to make technology enhancements, analytics and global expansion. Impact: Learning experience platforms are starting to replace learning management systems (due to its employee-centric approach to consume content) offering a wide range of solutions such as onboarding, learning management, virtual learning, knowledge sharing and career mobility. Every vendor brings different level of capabilities and approaches to recommend content and create personalized experiences. Clients will need help to address the future of learning, strategy for adoption, and which the right solution is based on their use’s cases/needs. Degreed, Edcast, Valamis, LinkedIn Learning, Filtered, and Volley are examples of companies competing in this space to lead the market.
  • Fuel 50 raised $15.5 Million in series B to increase global footprint and talent marketplace technology. With the new funds in place, Fuel50 will be increasing its presence across the US, EMEA, and Australasia, while accelerating product innovation to include deep analytics and talent intelligence. The talent marketplace is exploding with different solutions coming from different angles to lead this market. Edcast, Pymetrics, Eightfold, Skykive, Phenom, Degreed, Gloat, FutureSkills and other smaller players are bringing different levels of internal mobility capabilities.  Impact:  As companies adapt to new hybrid workforce models, they need AI capabilities to move talent to the right roles. Organizations are implementing talent marketplaces as part of their re-skilling journey and culture of growth (Organizations like Unilever, Schneider Electric and HSBC are leading the adoption). This is not a platform “solution” that you “plug-in” and will solve organizations’ s internal mobility challenges. It implies changes in culture, leadership, process, HR practices and talent & skills. See news here.
  • acquired Upsider, an AI sourcing software that automates candidate identification and screening. The talent acquisition market is where we see the majority of AI-enabled solutions addressing different pain points across the end-to-end recruiting cycle. From programmatic advertising, chatbot candidate engagement, D&I, sourcing, screening, assessment and interviewing. AI solutions are doing in seconds what humans take days/weeks to complete while augmenting recruiter capabilities. Impact: The market is extremely saturated with thousands of recruiting solutions all claiming the best breed-AI stack. However, the market is moving towards end-to-end recruiting platforms such as Eightfold, JobVite, and Phemon are leading and offering a wide range of solutions as a one-stop shop. Clients need advice on enterprise talent acquisition strategy enabled though digital accelerators and AI, technology selection, implementation, new ways of working and the future state of enterprise talent acquisition. This is a great opportunity for us to bring the whole “combo” with our ecosystem partners. Accenture provides the consulting services and partners the technology platform. See news here.
  • Coursera went public last week and shares closed up 36%, topping $5.9 billion market cap in Wall Street debut. Coursera is one of the largest online learning platforms, with 77 million registered learners (30 million during the pandemic), offering individuals access to online courses and degrees from top universities. Impact: Remote learning has boomed throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and people are learning anytime, anywhere, and in the flow of work. Clients started adapting its learning programs and using AI to create more personalized learning experiences, while making skills as the new currency to match people to opportunities. This is showing as a new way of learning, while creating a talent marketplace (internal mobility) where talent is deployed at scale per business needs: New skilling + Talent Marketplace are key elements for business transformation. See news here.
  • Virgin Pulse, the leading global provider of digital health and wellbeing solutions, acquired Advanced Plan for Health (APH). With APH’s analytics capabilities, Virgin Pulse becomes the first digital wellbeing provider to unite deep health analytics with a robust behavior change engine (nudges) to drive outcomes on a single integrated platform. Impact: the employee well-being market is evolving and not only helping employees to stay healthy, focused, and engaged at work but also using AI to provide organizational insights/analytics to design employee productivity, performance and engagement programs. See news here.
  • Mequilibrium, one of the leading providers of employee resilience solutions, has acquired Resilio. This acquisition introduces biometric technology into the meQuilibrium platform. Resilio provides biofeedback to users, helping them build the foundation for resilience. The Resilio app uses patent-pending technology to transform smartphone camera lenses into powerful biometric sensors that track your breath and heart rate through your index finger. Impact: Employee resilience is part of our clients’ workplace strategy to track levels of stress, sense of joy, belonging, adaptability and workplace conflict. Great opportunity to guide our clients on building organizational resilience programs to enable culture, technology or business transformation. We will see exponential growth in this market with more platform upgrades, M&As and new ways to expand AI, predictive analytics, biometrics and neuroscience to help businesses build workforce resilience & wellbeing. See hews here.
  • BetterUp welcomes Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, as its first Chief Impact Offer. Let’s see how this hiring decision impacts the direction of this company, strategy, and branding in the market. In February, BetterUp reached $1.73 Billion Valuation and expands coaching platform with BetterUp Care. See news here.
  • Lattice raised $60M at a $1B valuation to develop new products and launch services in new markets and geographies. The company has been evolving since 2018 starting as a performance management provider, then in 2018 launched engagement surveys and in 2020 they launched “Grow” to track career development. See news here
  • Strivr announced partnership with DDI to pioneer leadership development in Virtual Reality. See news here.


AI organization Spotlight

  • meQuilibrium  is a leading solution that offers mental wellbeing capabilities and expertise that support employees who are managing the stress and uncertainty associated with disruption, transformation, and change. It uses scientifically validated assessments to generate personalized training for each individual-building adaptive mindsets while reducing stress, burnout, and absenteeism. Its workforce analytics predict performance and wellbeing risk to inform business decisions.

Art of the possible

  • Microsoft wins major deal making headsets for US Army. The technology is based on Microsoft’s HoloLens headsets. Microsoft’s head-mounted HoloLens displays let people see virtual imagery superimposed over the physical world in front of them. Pentagon officials have described this futuristic technology as an Integrated Visual Augmentation System. This is Microsoft’s second big announcement in the last two months. In March, Microsoft Mesh was launched tailored to Talent & HR. It is a new mixed-reality platform that allows people in different physical locations to join collaborative and shared holographic experiences. The future is NOW with VR and AI. We will see more interest from our clients on how to embed VR in the employee experience. Stayed tune. See news here
  • BBC: Virtual reality headsets for work ‘could snowball. As organizations adapt to have a hybrid workforce, virtual reality is becoming an alternative for employees to keep them in touch and more connected. See news here
  • Boston Dynamics’ next commercial robot:  Stretch, a mobile manipulator designed to move boxes out of trucks and around warehouses. This robot is set to go on sale at some point in 2022. See video here 
  • Walmart experiment with virtual reality. The retail giant partnered with Strivr to create programs that could be run in all 200 learning academies and able to scale their solution to train 1.2 million associates. See news here
  • Can Artificial Intelligence Replace Human Therapists?: report from the Wall Street Journal. See news here

More to come! Stay tune

Note: All views expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated.

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Albert Loyola

Artificial Intelligence | Employee Experience| HR Transformation| Advisor| Speaker

Albert brings global market research experience  to help executives harness intelligent technologies, reinvent HR, re-skilling and employee experience across NAR, APAC, LATAM and EMEA regions.

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