With Enterprise Ireland’s NexTech19 event in London, the agency set out a unique offer for UK companies who can benefit from Ireland’s talent acquisition technology. The agency’s Global Lead for talent management, David Corcoran, is excited about the range and breadth of innovative solutions presented.

Few things are certain in life, and fewer still in the year ahead – but the acceleration of decisions in recruitment is pretty much guaranteed. More hires, faster hires, smarter hires, the pressure to find the very best candidate in a fiercely competitive and noisy marketplace continues to build and has had tech platform builders hard at work. Now we see a world-class array of companies offering specialised software and cloud solutions. In the talent management sector, it is an open secret that the best and brightest of those solutions are coming from Ireland.

Irish companies have cornered the market for talent platforms with speed and agility, thanks in part to a highly skilled tech workforce seasoned in attracting global companies and multinational HQs. Add a culture of entrepreneurship and a need for SMEs to scale up and punch above their weight very quickly and you have a winning combination. UK companies who need very particular solutions to their talent issues now have world-class technology operators on their doorstep.

However, that range and quality of choice also brings its own challenges. In a busy marketplace, where AI, machine learning, and cognitive computing tools are becoming the norm, making a distinction between one service provider and another has become a difficult hurdle to negotiate. Irish companies in the talent tech sector offer real track records in personalised experiences, optimisation, speed of execution, value and insight but finding the right one for your business can be a daunting prospect.

It inspires a curious question; if hirers turn to talent acquisition specialists to home in on the staff they need, then who do the specialists turn to? In the UK, more and more of them are turning to Enterprise Ireland for guidance on the best in talent management technology, for everything from remote working solutions to referral systems. Enterprise Ireland also supports UK companies in their digital HR and future of work journeys by offering a gateway to connect them to the most disruptive Irish HR tech providers.

Anyone in doubt about the speed of change in both HR and recruitment should see how the talent landscape has changed in just the last few months. The drive for talent acquisition is fast being matched by the need to retain and reward talent once hired. And it’s the companies that specialise in employee engagement who have been providing some of the most stimulating discussions at industry gatherings in the first quarter of 2019.

Irish veteran Globoforce, rebranded as Workhuman,  and Dublin-based employee engagement specialist Wrkit are two very different companies that give complementary slants on the same objective.

Workhuman offers a cloud-based performance management platform with peer-led approval or social recognition as a key element. Making employees feel valued, with not just a sense of connection through tech innovation, but positive reinforcement and appreciation from colleagues, is now crucial. Platforms that acknowledge the need for human-centric work cultures are set to dominate retention strategies.

For its part, Wrkit is clear that cracking the problem of creating a happy work culture is a major business win and uses the phrase ‘holistic engagement’ to differentiate its product. It integrates employee benefits in financial wellbeing, nutrition, mental health or fitness in the workplace with an accent on retention as a key advantage for employers. With over 200 companies signed up, it boasts a 93% retention rate.

It’s a cliche that a company is only as good as its people, but it is a useful one to appreciate that constant change in business is inevitably affected by the changes in the working life of the people who run it. Technology, culture, demographics, and new products shape increasingly dynamic workforces that HR and recruitment professionals have to keep up with. Ireland’s tech sector offers an unrivalled diversity and sophistication of talent management tools to equip companies in the race to do that. Supporting them in choosing the right ones is the team at Enterprise Ireland.

Ireland was named top performer in the area of skills and innovation in the European Commission’s Small Business Act Fact sheet 2017.

The latest ranking builds on Ireland’s leading international reputation for innovation. The European Commission’s 2017 Innovation Scorecard also ranked Irish small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) first for innovation.

Small Business Act (SBA) Fact Sheets are produced annually by the European Commission, with the aim of improving understanding of trends and national policies affecting SMEs across the European Union. The SBA is the EU’s flagship policy initiative to support SMEs and focuses on key performance indicators and policy measures organised around 10 principles, including entrepreneurship, internationalisation, state aid and public procurement.

Ireland’s SBA profile continues to be competitive, with the EU Commission’s 2017 Fact Sheet showing significant improvements on last year’s performance.

Ireland is one of the top four EU performers in entrepreneurship and has the highest EU score in two separate entrepreneurship indicators. On the high status given to successful entrepreneurship, Ireland records the highest percentage in the EU (83.1 %) compared to the EU average (66.6 %). Ireland’s pro-business environment is also evident in the Fact Sheet’s finding that it has the least burdensome government regulations in Europe

In eight of the SBA areas — entrepreneurship, ‘second chance’, ‘responsive administration’, state aid and public procurement, access to finance, single market, skills and innovation and internationalisation — Ireland performs above or well above the EU average.

Earlier this year, Eurostat research found that Ireland has the highest proportion of high-growth enterprises in the EU, ahead of the UK, Portugal, Hungary and Bulgaria.

Customers and partners of Irish companies worldwide leverage this innovation to increase efficiency and productivity in ways that enhance their product portfolios.

The Irish government continues to put innovation at the top of its agenda with the implementation of its Innovation 2020 strategy.

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