Five Ways Tech Companies Can Be More Innovative and Competitive

A tech company employee stands at a white board and figures out new ways to innovate.

In today’s highly competitive software-as-service (SaaS) industry, staying ahead of the curve is essential for success. As technology evolves, SaaS companies must adapt to meet changing customer demands and preferences. And competition is fierce! Approximately 50 million new startups are launched yearly, not to mention the millions of established tech companies dominating and disrupting their respective industries.

HiringThing has been in the recruiting tech space for over ten years, succeeding and growing where many startups have not (95% of startups fail, 50% just make it to the five-year mark, and only 40% ever become profitable). 

We’ve learned a thing or two about remaining competitive, and we wanted to share our innovation, creative, and productivity insights that have helped us achieve our current status.  

Help Your SaaS Company Become More Competitive 

Become Multiproduct

To increase their competitive edge, SaaS companies should consider expanding their product offerings beyond a single solution (or, if you’re already a multiproduct company, expanding further). 

By expanding product offerings, tech companies can cater to a broader range of customer needs and tap into new markets. Offering a suite of complementary products allows providers to provide more value to customers and build long-lasting relationships. 

Check out the benefits of going multiproduct in our blog, All SaaS Vendors Should Aspire to be Multiproduct.

“Today’s tech users seek platforms with greater functionality,” says HIringThing Director of Product Colette Luke. “If they could choose to stay on one platform to do multiple tasks versus going back and forth, they’d pick one platform every time. Going multiproduct keeps your platform stickier, reduces customer churn, and enhances the user experience.”

HiringThing recently went multiproduct with the addition of our employee onboarding solution. “Going multiproduct has been a game-changer,” says HiringThing COO Jess Tejani. “We’re seeing firsthand how it’s provided our current customers an additional solution they needed, how it’s helping us market to segments we hadn’t prior, and it’s setting us up for the goals we want to achieve in the future.”

Our Director of Marketing, Joanna Campa, says that helping launch the new product has been one of the most “challenging and rewarding” things she’s ever done professionally. Campa was so inspired by her experience that she wrote a series, “Going Multiproduct,” that provides actionable tips and insights to other companies looking to do the same.

White Label to Become Multiproduct Quickly and Efficiently 

At HiringThing, we white label our application tracking system (ATS)—hiring software built to streamline and strengthen the recruiting process—and new onboarding solution.

Want to learn more about starting a white label partnership? Check out our Guide to Starting a White Label SaaS Partnership today!

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Keep the Human Element Strong

Maintaining a human element in the SaaS industry can be a differentiating factor in an era dominated by automation and AI. While technology can streamline processes and improve efficiency—and we’re very pro AI and automation here—keeping the human element strong can help you stand out. 

Generally, people enjoy working and interacting with people. In a world where claims are being made that AI is employed just for the sake of employing AI, companies that keep the user experience front and center will be the ones who win. Increasingly, this will mean determining where users will they’ll be served best by people and where they’ll be served best by technology. 

“We’ve seen ample evidence that while customers are embracing AI, they want it to be meaningful,” says HiringThing Director of Marketing Joanna Campa.” Research backs this up. 

Gartner found that by 2027, 20% of brands will lean into differentiation based on the absence of AI in their business or product. "We're committed to not being among the 20% that avoids AI and automation," Campa explains. "Instead, we're focusing on how the human element can differentiate us. Our account management practice and marketing content highlight our thought leadership from real people, not just AI-generated aggregation."

By focusing on human-centered experiences, companies can foster customer loyalty and create a competitive advantage.

Gartner also found that being a people or human-centric company makes companies more productive! Workers are 3.2x more likely to have a high intent to stay at their jobs and are 3.1x more likely not to be burnt out  at companies that deliberately focus on keeping humanity in tech-centric processes.

Embrace an AI-Assisted Approach to...AI

As with any new technological advances, it could be easy for artificial intelligence to have too big a hand in some very important decisions. While AI is often faster, more accurate, and less biased than people, it’s not intuitive, emotionally, or culturally sensitive and can’t always digest context the way people can. 

Considering this, we’ve been approaching AI as a collaborator and assistant, not a replacement for humans. We’ve purposely named all our new AI solutions “AI-Assisted” or “AI-Enabled” instead of other verbs. Take, for example, our AI-Enabled Job Descriptions. We considered calling them “AI-Generated Job Descriptions,” which technically is true since we’re utilizing generative AI technology. However, that doesn’t properly encapsulate how we view the feature, which is not AI fully creating a job post but rather assisting people in creating great job posts—once a post is generated, best practices are for people to review it, ensure there aren’t any mistakes, and enhance it to ensure it adheres to the brand voice. We took a similar approach to AI-Assisted Resume Screening.

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Highlight Your Industry Expertise 

In an influx of tech startups, highlighting industry expertise is a great way to stand apart from the competition. It’s also overwhelmingly what consumers seek: 

The Edelman Thought Leadership Impact Study found that 58% of top decision-makers say they choose who to do business with based on their thought leadership. Thought leadership is content—blogs, articles, podcasts, interviews, videos, etc.—that demonstrates how thoroughly individuals or companies know and lead the discourse around their chosen field. 

Part of our brand’s story is that our founder, Joshua Siler, decided to create the first iteration of HiringThing when he was asked to help hire a new engineer and was handed a stack of paper resumes to do so. Siler knew he could develop a platform that made hiring easier for professionals like him and went about doing so. This demonstrates that he built this platform to solve an actual problem he had, in a market he had an understanding of. We highlight that story because it proves Siler’s expertise. He’s still consistently enmeshed in the latest hiring data, recruiting trends, and best practices. 

HiringThing has been named on Inc.’s Best Workplaces list. We’re not just saying this to brag, either—it demonstrates a point! Workplace culture and employer brand play a big part in retaining top talent, which is coincidentally the goal of our platform. Our leadership understands the importance of practicing what one preaches. By demonstrating that we know how to cultivate a strong workplace culture, we showcase that we’re not just experts in helping other organizations recruit and retain top talent—we’re doing it, too. 

Build Industry Expertise

While the ideal situation is that your founder member or team comes from the industry you serve, this doesn’t always happen. But you should still demonstrate that you understand and care about said industry like the founders of Squire—a barbershop and salon platform—did. 

The Squire team operated their own barbershop for a year before starting to build their software. While this is obviously an extreme example, showcasing that you care about understanding the industry you serve will give your platform a huge competitive edge. This could look like getting involved in professional organizations, hiring industry experts, volunteering in industry-related events, and legitimately becoming part of the industry in a meaningful way, will give your platform a huge competitive edge.  

Establishing credibility and expertise in a specific industry in a crowded marketplace can set SaaS companies apart. Businesses can tailor their solutions to address industry-specific pain points and challenges by deepening their knowledge and understanding of a particular sector. This specialization allows you to provide targeted features, customized workflows, and relevant insights, which are highly valued by customers, who—especially those purchasing niche or vertical SaaS products——are becoming increasingly wary of well-funded entrepreneurs who have no real passion or insight for the industries they serve. 

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Don't Always Follow the Tech Crowd: Carve Your Own Path

In a crowded SaaS landscape, it’s crucial for companies to have a clear and distinct identity and not follow the crowd, which happens a lot in the world of tech. We see this happen often when tech companies make layoffs, always—not coincidentally—in quick succession. This phenomenon was addressed in a Fast Company piece titled Why Tech Companies Lay Off 6 Percent of Employees, in which Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Jeffrey Pfeffer explains that he simply thinks companies often copy each other.

“Just as people everywhere decided a decade ago that planking in weird places was a worthwhile thing to do, tech companies have decided in the past few months that about 6% of their employees are surplus to requirements,” the article states. The Fast Company article goes into greater detail about how this isn’t a new phenomenon. 

This isn’t, as it happens, a new phenomenon. There’s interesting academic work about the rise of downsizing in the 1980s that shows that trend-following helps explain companies’ willingness to slash payrolls. While downsizing was initially seen as a dubious strategy, it became normalized over time, which in turn made it easier for companies to embrace. On the flip side, the tech industry’s hiring spree from 2019-2022 was also likely in part the product of trend-following: If everyone else was doing it, then it was hard to resist doing so yourself.

It’s easy to follow what everyone else is doing. But not necessarily wise. We contacted Professor Pfeffer and asked him to comment further on this copy-and-paste approach to running tech companies, often called social contagion. Here’s what he said,

Technology companies, like all businesses, only more so succeed or fail on the basis of the quality—skills, and motivation—of the workforce.  Extensive evidence suggests that layoffs depress morale, cause the best workers to head for the door, and adversely affect productivity by creating stress and fear in the workplace.  Therefore, layoffs are particularly harmful for tech companies.  Mindlessly copying what others are doing in shedding workers seems like a recipe for poor performance in talent-dependent businesses.

Sticking to your guns and doing what you know works best for your company is a surefire way to be that fabled industry disruptor. 

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Make Yourself a High-Trust Organization 

There’s a Harvard Business Publishing blog we at HiringThing really like, titled Good Leadership: It All Starts With Trust, which talks about the benefits of being a “high trust organization,” which it defines as 

A high-trust organization is one in which employees feel safe to take risks, express themselves freely, and innovate. When trust is instilled in an organization, tasks get accomplished with less difficulty because people are more likely to collaborate and communicate with each other in productive ways. As a result, outcomes tend to be more successful.

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding: 

According to a study in Harvard Business Review, people at high-trust companies report 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, and 40% less burnout than people at low-trust companies.

50% higher productivity? 76% more engagement? There’s no way that doesn’t lead to more innovation and a competitive edge. 

“I’m a huge believer in how you treat employees directly affects how successful your business is,“ says HiringThing CEO Joshua Siler. “Why should my employees work for me and commit to doing excellent work if they can’t trust me?”

Siler wrote about fostering a high-trust organization through transparency in Forbes. 

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Embrace Innovative Ways of Doing Things to Remain Competitive 

As the SaaS industry continues to evolve and competition climbs, SaaS companies need to stay ahead of the curve and do things just a little bit differently to stand out. Not doing what everyone is doing is a good thing, but tech companies specifically fall into the trap of keeping the status quo (no matter how much we tout ourselves as disruptors). Being leaders in both your product and company culture will spurn creativity, productivity, and success. 

What have you done to remain competitive if you’re in the tech space? We’d love to know in the comments, and if you want a suggestion for giving yourself a competitive advantage, check out our blog Create a Competitive Edge for Tech Companies.

About HiringThing 

HiringThing is a modern recruiting and employee onboarding platform as a service that creates seamless talent experiences. Our white label solutions and open API enable technology and service providers to offer hiring and onboarding to their clients. Approachable and adaptable, the platform empowers anyone, anywhere to build their dream team. For more information, visit or follow us on LinkedIn, X, or YouTube.