Interview with Guillermo Corea, Managing Director, SHRMLabs


Guillermo Corea has been involved in digital technology for over 25 years. He’s currently the Managing Director for SHRMLabs, SHRM’s workplace innovation laboratory and venture capital arm.

1. Could you tell us more about your role at SHRMLabs?
I serve as the Managing Director and head of SHRMLabs. Also, to give you some context, I can provide some background about SHRMLabs and what it does.
We launched SHRMLabs about four years ago as an innovation lab and venture capital subsidiary within the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) umbrella.
SHRMLabs, powered by SHRM, is an inspiring innovation to create better workplace technologies that solve today’s most pressing workplace challenges.
As managing director, I lead programs that elevate human resources (HR) as a thought leader on the future of work and workplace technology. SHRMLabs is also SHRM’s venture capital arm, so we identify, evaluate, and enable the success of startups in the workplace technology industry that strategically align with SHRM’s mission.

2. How does your typical day at work look like?
In my role, no two days look alike. In our unique position, we can create platforms that enhance creativity and innovation.
These days, our primary focus is gearing up for our Better World Challenge Cup (BWCC) Finals competition taking place later this month at our annual SHRM22 conference in New Orleans.
Four startups worldwide have advanced to this stage and will give their pitch, in person, to a panel of judges, including Cindy Eckert, CEO of The Pink Ceiling/Pinkcubator and Kevin Harrington, a successful entrepreneur and an Original Shark on the ABC hit, Emmy-winning TV show Shark Tank.
The winner will receive a 50,000 cash prize in addition to having the opportunity to pitch their idea to hundreds of potential users both in the audience and streaming virtually.

3. How do SHRMLabs create a dialogue between tech and workplace experts?
SHRMLabs connects workplacetech startups with the people who know the workplace the best, HR, to explore their ideas and solutions to the critical workplace challenges. For example, the BWCC allows these startups to present these ideas to experts, additional investors, and consumers. It is the only pitch competition in which HR practitioners have a direct say in the workplace solutions that matter.
Being nestled within the SHRM umbrella gives us the lateral space to offer insight into the HR space to each of these innovators as they build their product and present it to the sector. We leverage the expertise of SHRM members and staff to help tech innovators create technologies catered to the needs of workers and the workplace
We offer real-world solutions to our members and the wider HR community through our programs.

4. What was the motive for designing workplace digital solutions?
Our mission at SHRMLabs is not designing workplacetech, but we support innovation through our programs like the Workplace Accelerator.
The motive behind the launch of our WorkplaceTech Accelerator is the demand in space. There has been a generational shift in the workforce, having organizations seek out new efficiencies and technologies.
As we have seen since the pandemic, technology and the workspace has become even more fused than before. Through our support of digital startups, we provide HR with a front row seat to the workplacetech solutions they need now, and which are likely to become the standard in the coming years.

5. How important is workplace collaboration for business expansion, according to SHRM?
Workplace collaboration is essential to the success of a business.
Communication is vital for organizations to improve the efficiency of their operations.
While technology assists in this capacity, it is only one tool in the toolbox and does not make up for the human element in the HR field.

6. How has technology revolutionized the HRTech space?
There are numerous ways that technology is having an impact on the HR field. One such tech having an impact is artificial intelligence (AI).

AI allows HR professionals to identify patterns and make those decisions in real time.

This tech can improve issues arising in the workplace and increase optimism in your workforce.
Technology can assist from recruitment to compliance and even with performance management. By utilizing tech tools in the HR field, our HR and people managers can be more effective in identifying the needs of their employees and how to improve those problems.

7. Recently you conducted a WorkplaceTech Accelerator program. Could you highlight some of its salient features?
Yes, this spring, we launched our inaugural accelerator program- an 8-week virtual program designed to assist in scaling up early-stage startups specifically focused on HR and solving critical workplace challenges.
This program is backed by 300,000 HR and business executives from 165 countries.
The program will also offer an initial 160k investment from SHRM.

8. What is the biggest piece of advice you could provide to company leaders about helping them fulfill the needs of their team?
My advice to company leaders is that the combination of technology and innovation can impact your output and efficiency. Be open to new ideas coming from the tech space, such as using AI with performance reviews and software to identify skill gaps. Limitations are what your perception is.

9. Let us in on SHRMLabs’ work culture. How would you describe your team?
We are a very collaborative and dynamic team. Our team is comprised of professionals across the spectrum with a diverse array of backgrounds who possess curiosity in their DNA. This is a requirement for every member of this team because without curiosity you cannot really have innovation. We are all also global ambassadors, and we view the work we are doing as having an impact worldwide. Another aspect of our team is that we have a unique combination of tech, product, and finance savviness.
We utilize the “startup” mentality when it comes to our process, and in fact we are a startup within SHRM. Each individual brings a unique perspective, and we can crowdsource solutions to propel us forward.
We are also lucky to have a network of over 300K+ members who touch the lives of over 115M employees worldwide that we can tap into.

10. Where do your passions lie? What do you think defines you as a person?
I am very privileged to be at SHRM and in the role, I am in, leading thought leadership on workplacetech.
The work we are doing will have a dramatic positive impact on the lives and work of millions of employees worldwide. I am very passionate about bringing equity to the workplace.
The activities SHRMLabs engages in will be a great way of doing it. For me personally, SHRMLabs is a blank canvas in which I can combine a passion for entrepreneurship, building products/solutions, and doing something that will positively affect the world.

Guillermo Corea Managing Director of SHRMLabs

Guillermo Corea has been involved in digital technology for over 25 years. He’s currently the Managing Director for SHRMLabs, SHRM's workplace innovation laboratory and venture capital arm. He is charged with establishing SHRM as a research thought leader and product testbed for technologies impacting the future of work and the workplace. Previously, as Director, Digital Media and Business Development at SHRM, he lead e-commerce operations and identified non-dues revenue opportunities through a variety of activities, including business and product development, and content and technology partnerships.


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