What Dating Apps Can Teach US About HR Tech Buying
We have been dating and selecting our partners for much longer than we have been selecting technology tools. In this blog post, we look at lessons learned from our dating experiences and apply to HR technology selection.
Hope you enjoy the same.
Problems of Plenty
It is said that people who don’t find love tend to have shorter life spans on average. Thus, finding love in your busy urban life is literally a matter of life and death. Similarly, if you don’t find the right technology tool for your HR related processes it could well be the death of your career in a particular company.
The phenomenon called dating apps has been around for a while and we seemed to have gotten around the initial stigma of adoption. In the Indian context, most urban 18-21-year-old seem to be comfortable using a dating app to find friends and meaningful relationships.
With 3 men for every woman on the app, the women on the app are spoilt for choices and are typically bombarded with attention requests from multiple men. The homegrown dating app, Woo, indicates that men would spend more time on the app compared to women since men are chatting with multiple women. However, women limit their conversation to two to three men only at a given time.
If you are a buyer of HR technology, you are in a similar situation. The market is full of multiple options from local to international suitors. Your task is to find the 2 or 3 with whom you can engage in a deeper conversation. Hopefully. such conversations can lead to a meaningful relationship with one of them.
This Vox article about Tinder algorithm offers some insights into one of the most popular dating apps. The Tinder algorithm uses an Elo score, like the method used in Chess to indicate skill of the chess player.
Higher the Elo score better the player. To improve your Elo score you must play with players ranked higher than you. In the dating scenario, this translates into who right swiped whom. Simply put, if you right swipe a person and you have a lot of right swipes yourself, then your right swipe means a lot.
One of the most interesting algorithms, I found while researching is the Gale-Shapley algorithm for the Stable marriage problem (SMP). It states that matching is stable when there does not exist any match by which both A and B would be individually better off than they are with the element to which they are currently matched. This is distinguished from the Stable Roommate problem (SRP), since SRP allows matches between any two elements, not just between classes of “men” and “women”
Based on the above algorithm data, one finds out primarily two ways people find other people. Firstly, through other people who are like us and secondly through matching parameters that we consider are important.
In my experience of buying, building and selling HR technology solutions, I have seen both these approaches at work. Organizations routinely shy away from experimenting with a new HR technology solution from a start-up because that HR tech solution has not been “right-swiped” enough yet.
Another buyer behavior that is very commonly observed is to ask for PTR in an industry. This indicates that buyers’ value and trust the solution more when it has already been tried and tested by someone from the same industry. Typically, the higher the Elo score of such buyer the better is the perception about the player.
The SMP and SRP, provide an interesting insight. If we know the different categories and elements of a match it would be easier for us to find one. This involves hard work of defining what we are looking for and consulting with all internal stakeholders. Once again, in my experience, many organizations do not invest enough time on this part. The selection process could be simplified by identifying a select few parameters.
If you are investing your time and efforts to build a meaningful long-term relationship, be prepared to spend time understanding yourself.
Know what you are looking for and learn to differentiate between experiments and proof of concept (POC).
Appearance and presentation win whether you are on dating apps or in the HR technology market. So, focus on the user experience and the critical components of your story.
You won’t take dating advice from a friend who doesn’t date, so why take HR tech buying advice from someone who hasn’t done it multiple times.