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Authenticity Over Appearance: Addressing “Greenwashed” Terms in HR Tech

Authenticity Over Appearance: Addressing “Greenwashed” Terms in HR Tech


With the celebration of Earth Day on the 22nd of April comes the opportunity to take a closer look into how we can draw parallels between greenwashing and how some organizations in the HR Tech industry have adopted a similar approach in using deceptive marketing tactics to persuade consumers.

With the rise of digital marketing and with the HR Tech industry booming with competition, it is now more important than ever to ensure that consumers are provided accurate, honest and reliable information to inform their decisions when it comes to choosing which HR organizations to partner with. Much like greenwashing, where organizations make inaccurate claims about how they contribute to the environment, some HR organizations are falsely advertising their solutions to appear as if they are staying on top of trends in order to maintain their market relevance. However, when consumers decide to partner with them, they see the wood for the trees and realize that, in reality, the HR partner’s marketing materials do not correlate to the level of service or type of product that they offer.  

By organizations remaining true to their offerings in their marketing initiatives, they will not only attract the right consumers, but also gain cheerleaders of their brand. As a result of this, organizations are able to increase their brand awareness, promote consumer loyalty and improve their client retention rates.

What is Greenwashing and How Does it Compare to Deceptive Marketing?

Greenwashing refers to the act of making false or deceptive claims about how an organization contributes to the environment through their business operations or how their products are environmentally friendly. Many companies claim that they are socially responsible to attract new consumers and investors, when in fact they use greenwashing terms to gain appearance. In reality they are not truly authentic nor true to what they have claimed. Companies often identify the need to attract investors and business opportunities with the appropriate ‘green’ image but are not willing to make the financial sacrifice or put in the necessary effort associated with authentic green practices.

Similarly, deceptive marketing refers to the act of sharing false or misleading information to convince consumers to buy a product or service. Deceptive marketing is unfortunately widely used, with over 59% of consumers saying that they have been influenced by false advertising claims. Using deceptive marketing tactics often leads to an increase in interest and initial leads for organizations, however in the long term these organizations face significant consequences.

Common “Greenwashing” / Deceptive Marketing Tactics Seen in HR Tech  

As with big tech companies being questioned about their unsubstantiated ‘green’ statements, many HR tech companies have also been brought into question around whether they are in fact authentic in their product or service marketing efforts. In recent years, it has become increasingly apparent that some ‘big’ HR tech organizations, who have previously dominated the industry, are now looking for artful and spurious ways to stay relevant in the market and maintain their customer loyalty.

One of the main ways they are doing this is through using certain buzzwords to appeal and relate to consumers. For example, one well-known HR Tech company has claimed that they offer an innovative eNPS solution which suggests that they regularly obtain in-depth feedback from their employees using comprehensive lines of questioning. However, their offering is limited and in reality they infrequently ask a handful of rudimentary questions, which does not provide a holistic view of employee experience, and thus does not add value. Companies looking to partner with these HR organizations need to constantly evaluate whether what they are saying is in fact true.  

Commonly Used HR Buzzwords

- Employee Experience
- Employee Engagement
- Employee Satisfaction
- Onboarding  
- Everything HR
- All-in-one HR solution

How Deceptive Marketing Impacts Organizational Success

Not only do these deceptive marketing tactics have a negative impact on the HR organization’s reputation and ability to retain customers, they also indirectly affect the companies they partner with. Whether it be through monetary loss, loss of productivity in their HR operations or, most importantly, loss of employee trust. If employees do not have trust in the company that they work for, they are less likely to be engaged and less likely to continue working for said company.

The Importance of Being Transparent and Accountable

Transparency and accountability is paramount when striving to gain consumer loyalty and trust. If consumers are deceived into partnering with an HR organization that does not live up to the expectations they created initially, they run the risk of their brand reputation being tarnished. In contrast, if HR organizations are transparent from the get go, they are more inclined to retain consumers and increase their brand awareness through good reviews. As a business, your employees stand to be your biggest ambassadors if you succeed or your greatest critics if they see through unsubstantiated HR claims.

How to Make an Accurate Assessment

Knowing which organizations are honest in their marketing efforts and which aren’t can be challenging. Although it is complex to decipher the truth, consumers are encouraged to gain as much knowledge on the HR partner before signing any contract.

Here are a few things you can keep in mind when looking for an HR Tech solution:

Read client reviews - client reviews are one of the best ways to confirm or deny whether a company has sufficiently met the needs of other consumers.

Research and obtain as much information as possible
-  in an attempt to find out whether their claims align with what they are able to offer, it’s important to gather as much information as possible on their offering and how they plan to execute it.

Book a call/demo
- by booking a call / demo session with key members of the HR Tech company, you’ll be able to ask them specific questions to see if they would be the right fit for your company. In some cases, you’re able to also ask for a demo session, which will provide you with more clarity on the exact product or service that they offer.


In conclusion, your employees are your biggest asset and therefore the HR organization that you choose to partner with needs to meet your expectations adequately. Money invested in maintaining your employees’ morale is crucial and should not be spent frivolously. Don’t allow HR buzzwords to offer a false sense of security, these terms should be substantiated with legitimate industry standards. Should you have any questions regarding the HR tech industry and what it has to offer, reach out to Qualee for more information.

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