Research Library Article


How Top Performers Job Hunt plus Reinvention in the HR Software Market

David Earle

One research organization analyzes how high performing employees find jobs. Another reviews past stages of HR technology and explains the next stage.


Two new surveys from The Hiring Lab (Indeed’s global research institute) of 1000 hiring managers and 4000 high performing job seekers reaffirms that very few workers any more approach their careers passively. Top performers, in particular, who in the past were often considered passive, are as active as any other group in seeking new opportunities.


Josh Bersin’s lengthy article in Forbes reviews the arc of technology innovation in HR in recent decades, the distinct stages of that evolution, and what he sees as the imminent next stage. It’s a useful guide for accurately positioning your company on the continuum of change, as well as calculating which changes to critical hardware and software will be required for your enterprise to build and sustain a competitive workforce.


Superior human capital management is now understood to be one of the primary drivers of business performance. As that understanding has taken hold in the executive suite, so has recognition of its complexity. The journey to excellence is long and there are no shortcuts. Making effective decisions requires accommodating the past (legacy attitudes, systems and behaviors), consideration of the present (business objectives) and anticipating the future (strategies and investments). All three must be synchronized.


Juggling these three perspectives has been especially vexing for HR professionals because change over the past quarter century has been so relentless and pervasive. Every decision has required an ever evolving set of compromises between what is possible and what is desirable: a never ending search for optimal outcomes in endlessly fluid, suboptimal environments.


As these two studies make clear, the best hope for success is awareness coupled with knowledge. The Hiring Lab reminds us to carefully analyze what we most seek in employees — perhaps self-direction, strategic thinking, and drive among the dozen salient characteristics of top performers – then use a data-driven approach to the labor market to locate the candidates we need. Traditions are useful until they’re not, and today’s HR is rife with new information about the relationship between workers and work that upends many of the assumptions that have guided HR practice for generations.

Bersin’s reminds us how much HR excellence has come to be defined by the tools we choose. More so than at any time in history, we are what our tools allow us to be. More than increased spending, the relentless pace of technological change demands new ways of thinking and operating:

  • Expertise in technology and business finance (not traditional HR competencies)
  • Embracing change, even if it means upsetting a painstakingly constructed status quo
  • Boardroom level strategy and risk management skills




  • The disproportionate impact of top performers
  • What characterizes them
  • Innate versus learned traits
  • How, where and when they look for jobs (versus other job seekers)
  • How they view recruiters’ offerings
  • What they look for in new situations
  • How to attract them


  • The history: From talent management tools to integrated talent management
  • The shift to cloud and core HR
  • The cloud: a transformed market
  • Cloud suites predominate but none are perfect
  • Innovation on the horizon
  • The new world of apps
  • Disruptive new vendors
  • Application convergence


Research Referenced


2016 Talent Attraction Study — Top Performers The HR Software Market Reinvents Itself


The Hiring Lab (Indeed), Josh Bersin

Date 2016
Pages 15,16
Cost Free