September 21, 2023

Q&A with Juris Zalāns: creating Smart HR & thriving in the people business

Q&A with Juris Zalāns: creating Smart HR & thriving in the people business

We’re excited to introduce you to Juris Zalāns – the founder of Smart HR & educator in the HR-tech community. We met Juris in October 2022 and soon became one of the Smart HR partners in Lithuania and Latvia. We’re happy to continue our partnership and grow together! We asked Juris some questions about creating the Smart HR concept, its vision, goals, and how to keep motivated & inspired in the fast-paced HR industry.

Smart HR is definitely an interesting and innovative concept in the HR community. Could you tell us how did idea transformed into a successful business?

We’re HR-tech consultation providers who educate businesses about HR-tech trends, implementation & integration of innovative tools for smoother HR processes & happier employees. We began our journey in 2017 with a similar product to MELP – a platform named Benefits, which was focused on employee benefits & communication management. We soon found out we had a lot of strengths in technology, implementation and integration & our clients often asked for our support in managing and implementing different HR tools. That got us thinking that there is a gap in the market, as there were few resources for companies to learn about innovations in HR-tech and get support in integrating those great new ideas into their practices.

We decided to create our own HR community for professionals who are interested in learning about technology, and data, and want to be more data-driven in their approaches and actions. We’re here to keep everyone updated on HR-tech trends & prepare businesses for the future. We are constantly finding loads of new, innovative tools and technology within the Baltics & beyond, and invite those innovators to share their expertise with us and our clients. Currently, Smart HR is the oldest & biggest platform to offer these specific services.

Could you give a little sneak peek about what is in the future for Smart HR?

We’re currently focusing on the Estonian market – actually, we started that before the pandemic, but that hindered our progress. So we could call it a re-start. Next year we’re introducing our services & events in Poland. So expansion is the main focus as of now.

Being the ones who bring the news about HR-tech trends, you must always be up-to-date. How do you stay on top of things & bring reliable information to the clients you consult?

We keep in touch with the news in the market through extensive research & networking. We have allocated team members who are always browsing the tech market all over Europe, so we constantly find new HR tools and smart solutions. While conferences are also great sources of information, and we must be on top of the latest HR legislations and job market situation, we put a huge focus on technology. That means we are sourcing conferences where we can find tech representatives who are hands-on. We meet with those innovators who have extensive knowledge in certain fields and listen to their ideas & best practices. Going to the visionaries and the dreamers & listening to them really helps us not only to know what is happening at the moment, but make some predictions about the future and see the big picture.

You work in the people business with a lot of listening, talking, and networking. How do you and your employees keep going & stay inspired in this fast-paced industry?

We are dreamers too, in a way! Seeing our clients implementing the solutions that we bring to them & improving the employee and employer experience is a really good feeling. We dream of a time when businesses will be even more analytical, step away from Excel sheets and have more tech to make their daily lives easier. but we understand that small change is also a good change. One new tech system in our clients’ HR practice might be the biggest and most effective step they have taken in years. So I think the most important thing to stay motivated and inspired is to level the expectations & enjoy the small wins.