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5 HR tech acquisitions you need to know about in 2021

Let’s take a look at five noteworthy HR tech deals.

Allie Nawrat

Just one quarter into 2021, and we have already seen multiple acquisitions in the HR tech space. Unleash Your Curiosity

  • Just yesterday, isolved acquired Givful to add philantrophy to its employee experience platform.
  • But that’s not all — several different HR tech companies have announced acquisitions over the past few months.
  • We take a look at some the quarters’ most noteworthy transactions.

The HR tech space has seen records of investment during the pandemic with investors quickly realizing that workplace technology is hot.

But the activity isn’t confined to the venture capital investment space. Mergers and acquisitions are also making headlines.

With this in mind, we took a look at some of the most interesting acquisitions that’ve taken place so far this year.

Isolved Acquires Givful

Just yesterday, US-based human capital management (HCM) platform isolved acquired Givful for an undisclosed sum.

Givful makes it easy for staff to donate money and volunteer their time to charities and non-profits, as well as streamlining the process by which companies match fundraising by their staff. As a result of the acquisition, Givful’s platform will be integrated into isolved HCM platform People Cloud.

“More than ever, employees want to be part of a purposeful and impactful culture,” said Givful CEO and COO Walker Morrow.

“Culturally and technically, isolved and Givful are a perfect fit.

“Now we can pass on those common values and vision to companies of all sizes by helping them implement social good initiatives to remain competitive and relevant in today’s environment.”

A 2021 report by consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that employees want their companies to support their interest in charity work.

The Workplace Pulse survey found that 33% of workers would sacrifice a portion of future earnings if their employer gave them paid time off to volunteer for a cause of their choice.

Gen Z is particularly interested in this benefit “suggesting that they value the time and opportunity to pursue personally meaningful activities”.

Isolved CEO Mark Duffell added: “With the acquisition of Givful, isolved will now offer our own integral giving and volunteering capabilities as standard, the first of its kind in the mid-market.”

But isolved’s acquisition of Givful is not the only noteworthy HR tech acquisition of 2021 so far. Let’s look at some of the other big announcements in the first quarter of 2021.

Workday buys Peakon

Back in January, enterprise cloud software giant Workday announced its intention to acquire Peakon and its employee success platform.

The financial details of this HR tech deal were not disclosed, but it was announced that the Peakon team would report into Workday vice-chairman Tom Bogan.

[Read more: More than a tick box: How to create genuinely trans-inclusive workplaces]

Peakon’s platform focuses on converting employee feedback and listening into organizational change. It centers on employee experience, sentiment, and productivity, with the aim of driving both engagement and productivity.

In addition, Workday believes Peakon’s acquisition will help customers gain deeper insights into diversity and inclusive workplaces.

“To succeed in today’s changing world of work, it’s more important than ever to put employees — and their experiences — at the center, helping identify what motivates and is needed to support them,” said Bogan.

“I see great opportunity in working together to provide customers with the tools and insights they need to support employees and build stronger workplaces.”

[Read more: Is HR moving towards personalized employee benefits?]

PHEnOM acquires Talentcube

Pennsylvania-based Phenom, which became a unicorn in early April following a $100m Series D raise, acquired German video platform Talentcube in February 2021.  

This was Phenom’s third acquisition in a year – it followed the purchase of California-based AI HR-focused MyAlly in September and Dutch candidate experience company Endouble in December 2020.

Talking about the acquisition at the time, Phenom CEO Mahe Bayireddi noted that the deal will drive authenticity, accessibility and automation.

He added: “Talentcube’s video platform inspires mutual trust throughout the talent lifecycle.

“Organizations can convey their mission through their employees’ own voices, while job seekers can narrate their journey in a context that relates to recruiters and hiring managers.

“Our acquisition of Talentcube will cultivate a stronger understanding between company and candidate.”

The acquisition of Talentcube expands Phenom’s presence in Europe with an office in Munich, as well as its Rotterdam overseas headquarters.

Ceridian NABS Ascender

Ceridian, a US-headquartered HCM software provider, strengthened its footprint in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) with the acquisition of Ascender, a payroll and HR solutions provider based in the region.

The deal was announced in February and was closed in March 2021. Financial details were not disclosed.

The deal means Ascender’s capabilities will be integrated into Ceridian’s Dayforce enterprise HCM platform.

By combining Ceridian’s Dayforce capabilities with Ascender’s reach, expertise, and leadership, we are laying the foundation to support our customers’ current and future human capital needs in the APJ region and beyond,” explained Ceridian’s head of APJ Stephen Moore.

Moore also noted that APJ is one of the fastest growing regions for payroll and HCM, hence why Ceridian is so interested in growing its business there.

As a result of the deal, Ceridian believes it will be able to serve 1,500 customers and 2.5 million across 30 countries in Asia Pacific, including China, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

Ceridian CEO and chairman David Ossip added: ““The acquisition of Ascender will strengthen our leadership in the APJ region, accelerate our global growth strategy, and deliver even greater value to our customers.”

Beekeeper acquires Lua

Beekeeper, which has created a mobile platform to support frontline workers, acquired workflow platform Lua (previously known as Whispr) in March.

Lua’s digital platform is also focused on frontline workers and allows them to automatically transfer work to their colleagues once their shift is over.

“Frontline workers are often the most public-facing employees, and even those who aren’t, they still guide the customer journey. They are the forefront of our businesses, as well as the backbone of the economy, and deserve to be given the right tools to succeed,” noted Beekeeper CEO and co-founder Cristian Grossmann in a blog post.

“This new venture will cement our platform as the leading mobile workforce productivity and collaboration platform for frontline workers, and further our mission of helping companies around the world achieve operational excellence,” concluded Grossman.

These are just five noteworthy HR tech deals and with Q2 now well underway, we’ll just have to wait and see what other transactions take place in the market. Stay tuned.

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