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    Thursday
    Nov232017

    Holidays, ranked

    I looked through the blog archives with the intention of re-running my 'Holidays, ranked' post today, and could not find one!. Turns out I had not gotten around to ranking the holidays, and since today is Thanksgiving in the US, I had to take 10 minutes away from meal prep and bust out my rankings.

    Two notes about the rankings. One, these are just holidays/celebrations that I personally recognize or resonate with me. So we don't have things like 'Bastille Day' or any of the scores of religious celebrations that are important around the world. So don't take offense if I left off a day that is meaningful to you.

    Second, as always these rankings are unscientific, unresearched, highly subjective, and 100% accurate. Use at your own risk.

    To the list of Holidays, ranked:

    10. Columbus Day - Holds a soft spot for me because in grade school Columbus Day was often the same day as my birthday, which i always thought was cool. Like they were closing school for my birthday.

    9. President's Day - Needed something in the #9 slot. That's about it for this one.

    8. Fourth of July - Hot weather, beach, barbecue, beer, patriotism. Pretty good mix.

    7. New Year's Day - Whether you are shrugging off a hangover or just gearing up for the new year ahead, all-around a good day. Bonus points if the Gamecocks are in a bowl game that day.

    6. St. Patrick's Day - Sentimental pick as my son's name is Patrick and he always loved the idea of having his own holiday.

    5. Labor Day - Great way to unofficially end the summer and take a day to rest up for the Q4 push that many of us deal with

    4. Memorial Day - Similarly, great way to start the summer and to take time to remember and thank those that served and sacrificed

    3. Halloween - Probably overrated at this point, but the kids love it. But if you are an adult getting really wound up for Halloween, you may need to think about some of your decision making

    2. Christmas - The big daddy of holidays. Still strong after all these years. Watch 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' again soon.

    1. Thanksgiving - A holiday primarily identified by food? I will take all that you've got.

    Of course you could dispute these rankings, but sadly you'd be wrong.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating today!

    Wednesday
    Nov222017

    HRE Column: LinkedIn One Year Later

    Once again, I offer my semi-frequent reminder and pointer for blog readers that I also write a monthly column at Human Resource Executive Online called Inside HR Tech that can be found here.

    This month, I take a look back at the Microsoft acquisition of LinkedIn which (although it seems like a lot longer), only closed officially about this time last year. It has been a pretty interesting, innovative, and fascinating year for the largest professional social network. Since LinkedIn is such an important and influential technology for organizations and individual professionals alike, it seemed like a good time to reflect back on the year and to speculate a bit on what might lie ahead.

    In the HRE Column, I dig a little bit into some of LinkedIn's recent product announcements, look at how the Microsoft angle is beginning to play out and how LinkedIn could evolve moving forward. I hope to have some execs from LinkedIn on an upcoming HR Happy Hour Show totalk about some of these ideas in more depth.

    Having said that, here's a taste of the HRE piece titled 'Betting on LinkedIn'

    I recently was invited to attend a quarterly product update from the folks at LinkedIn Talent Solutions, an online event where the product and marketing teams provide demonstrations and details about new product initiatives and capabilities that are (or are about to be) released. I get these kinds of invites from solution providers quite often, and admittedly do not usually attend -- either I am busy planning the annual HR Tech Conference or I simply don't get all that excited by incremental updates to existing platforms or solutions.

    But I made an exception in this particular case and watched this most recent LinkedIn update. The reasons why were twofold: I had some extra time; and I was interested in one particular update that LinkedIn planned to share information regarding the integration of LinkedIn information with Microsoft Word in the context of a user creating a resume.

    And, since Microsoft finished its $26.2-billion acquisition of LinkedIn about a year ago now, I figured it was an appropriate time to reflect on that industry development, as well as some new capabilities being added to the platform, the challenges the company faces, and what might be coming next.

    On its latest product update webcast, LinkedIn showcased two new initiatives that reflect its continued need to provide value to two distinct constituencies: HR and talent-acquisition professionals; and its rank-and-file members. Each obviously have very different needs and goals.

    The first enhancement for organizational users of its Talent Solutions products was a new performance summary report, which provides them with a simple but comprehensive overview of organizational activity and results on the platform. On one dashboard, HR and talent management professionals can see data such as the number of hires who were "influenced" by candidates viewing company profiles and content on LinkedIn prior to being hired; the effectiveness and response rates of candidate outreach; and most interestingly to me, the top five companies that organizations are losing and winning talent I can recall working at an organization where we were suddenly losing lots of talented sales reps over a short period of time, and had to scramble (and pull up lots of individual LinkedIn profiles) to figure out which competitors were poaching them. We would have loved to have had this information in one place.

    The other new capability -- and probably the more innovative development -- was the announcement of a deeper integration of LinkedIn data with Microsoft Word. For users drafting a resume in Word, information from other LinkedIn profiles is used to help craft a resume. This Resume Assistant asks them to provide a job role of interest and then surfaces examples from LinkedIn of typical work-experience summaries and skills descriptors

    Read the rest at HR Executive Online...

    If you liked the piece you can sign up over at HRE to get the Inside HR Tech Column emailed to you each month. There is no cost to subscribe, in fact, I may even come over and re-surface your driveway, take your dog for a walk, rake up your leaves, and eat your leftover pumpkin pie.

    Have a great day and Happy Day Before Thanksgiving!

    Monday
    Nov202017

    Job Titles of the Future: Man-Machine Teaming Manager

    It's been ages since I have had a new entry in the extremely popular 'Job Titles of the Future' series, but over the weekend I came across an interesting report from tech consultancy Cognizant titled '21 Jobs of the Future: A Guide to Getting - and Staying - Employed Over the Next 10 Years'that more or less has the next 21 posts in this series all in one report. With so much interesting source material (thanks Cognizant!), I had to bust out a new post for the series.

    Then entire report is really interesting, and I imagine I am going to re-visit it again for future installments, but I thought today I would call out one really interesting future job from the list of 21 - a job that I can see playing a large role in the future of work and too, the future of HR.

    The job title of interest is 'Man-Machine Teaming Manager' and I will share some details from the 'job description' for this theoretical role as laid out by our pals at Cognizant.

    The key task for this role is developing an interaction system through which humans and machines mutually communicate their capabilities, goals and intentions, and devising a task planning system for human-machine collaboration. The end goal is to create augmented hybrid teams that generate better business outcomes through human-machine collaboration.

    As a man-machine teaming manager, you will identify tasks, processes, systems and experiences that can be upgraded by newly available technologies and imagine new approaches, skills, interactions and constructs. You will define roles and responsibilities and set the rules for how machines and workers should coordinate to accomplish a task. This involves designing flexible experiences that meet workers’ expectations, while providing a simple and intuitive interaction with machines (translating consumer behavior to business users, as well as to machines, for instance). Ideal candidates will be passionate about advancing human-robot cooperation strategies in a dynamic business environment.

    Lots of the more enlightened 'robots are taking away the jobs' commentary and predictions have arrived at a similar conclusion, that the future of work will be much more about people and robots/machines/algorithms working together, with each contributing their unique and hard to copy strengths. If you did in to the job responsibilities for the Man-Machine Teaming Manager role, (and kudos to Cognizant for writing this report in the form of a bunch of new-age job adverts), the first one talks about the manager needing to identify and describe the business functions and capabilities that are uniquely possessed by people and the ones that would be better performed by machines.

    It seems to me, if you took this conceptual job, and instead of 'people' and 'machines' being the groups that the manager had to better combine as teams and collaborators, and just described it in today's terms of cross-functional teams of people, then in many ways you would be describing the role of an HR leader or Chief Talent Officer.

    Figuring out strengths, capabilities, gaps, and the best ways for diverse groups of talent to combine and connect and collaborate in order to achieve desired business outcomes seems to be one of the most important roles in any organization, and one that should be owned and championed by HR and Talent leaders. So if the Cognizant report is right, and I have no reason to nay say it, then in the near future more of the talent and the collaborators will be some form of technology or robots or algorithms.

    That doesn't change the essential need, purpose, and importance of the role - organizations need leaders that can assess, understand, support, and put in place systems and processes that enable all the talent in the organization to work together to produce the best possible outcomes.

    Hopefully, that role will be filled by people for some time to come.

    Hopefully, they will be HR people.

    Have a great week!

    Friday
    Nov172017

    Steve's Holiday Gift Recommendation #1 - The Complete Calvin and Hobbes

    Is it me, or did things seem to get just a little bit slower this week? I swear I noticed the first signs of 'Getting geared up for the Holidays' this week, at least judging by the relative calm of my email inbox. Or maybe it could be that I am just less popular and important than I like to think.

    Yeah, that probably has something to do with it too.

    But I'd prefer to think the quiet today was more about holiday distractions. And that, coupled with after almost a decade of blogging in one place or another, every topic I thought about hitting for the end of the week felt tired and played out, I decided to start a new series to run on Fridays until the end of the year - Steve's Holiday Gift Recommendations for 2017.

    Each Friday I will share something I would love to receive as a gift this season, and since according to my view of the world (and massive ego), if I like something, then you (and the people in your life), should love to receive as well.

    I will try to make the gift recommendations affordable, appropriate for pretty much everyone, and easily obtained. And finally, there are no affiliate links or kickbacks on any of these items. These are just cool gifts that I think anyone would love. And please, please resist your temptation to order and send these gifts to me. This is not what this is about.

    Wow, that was a long preamble. Here goes...

    Steve's Holiday Gift Recommendation #1 - The Complete Calvin and Hobbes

    If you are of a certain age, say about 35 - 55, you probably consider Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes to be one of the most important and memorable cultural touchstones of your youth/early adulthood.

    The adventures of six year-old Calvin and his companion 'stuffed' tiger Hobbes, ran from 1985 - 1995, and in that decade, came to re-define and re-imagine what a daily comic strip could be, how it could look, and how meaningful and poignant it could be.

    The reclusive Watterson retired the strip on December 31, 1995 in an epic sending off of Calvin and Hobbes, standing on the top of a newly snow-covered sledding hill, racing off into the future to find their next amazing adventure. And with that last sledding run, millions of Calvin and Hobbes fans were left to read and re-read the old strips, sometimes again and again, until even our reprint collections became worn out.

    So for the Calvin and Hobbes fan in your life, or for kid of say 10 or so to 15 who may have never had exposure to the classic strip, the first 'Steve's Holiday Gift Recommendation' is this 4-volume boxed set containing every Calvin and Hobbes strip that ran between 1985 - 1995. You'll see Calvin's continuing 'fight the power' struggles with his parents, teachers, and classmates, his incredibly imaginative adventures with time travel and shape shifting, and most importantly, the amazingly powerful and touching bond between best friends Calvin and Hobbes.

    I loved Calvin and Hobbes. I still love Calvin and Hobbes. And I think this complete set of the C&H strips would make an amazing gift this year.

    So that's it, hope you liked the recommendation. Unless I get some violently aggressive and negative comments, I will be back next Friday with another holiday gift recommendation.

    Have a great weekend!

    Let's go exploring!

    Wednesday
    Nov152017

    Self-driving bus crashes, proving all buses should be self-driving

    In case you missed it, a fairly significant pilot of self-driving vehicles, in this case shuttle buses, launched last week in Las Vegas. In this test, shuttle buses developed by French company Navya ARMA will carry passengers along a half-mile route in downtown Las Vegas, (that part of Vegas that most of us who go to Vegas for Conference and conventions tend to ignore). The Navya ARMA buses rely on GPS, cameras, and light-detecting sensors in order to navigate the public streets. According to reports, the year long test hopes to shuttle about 250,000 passengers up and down the Vegas streets.

    Pretty cool, right?

    Guess what happened in the first couple of hours after launching the self-driving pilot program?

    Yep, a CRASH.

    The first self-driving bus was in a minor accident within a couple of hours of the service's launch when a (human driven) delivery truck failed to stop in time and collided with the stationary shuttle bus.

    According to a spokeperson from the American Automobile Association, "The truck making the delivery backed into the shuttle which was stopped. Human error causes most traffic collisions, and this was no different."

    No one was hurt, the damage was minor, and the self-driving pilot program continues in Las Vegas.

    Why bring this up, especially on a blog that at least pretends to be about work, HR, HR Tech, etc.?

    Because these kinds of technology developments, of self-driving vehicles, robots that can sort and organize inventory in warehouses, robots that will greet and provide basic customer services in retail environments and hotels, are being developed, improved, and deployed at increasing rates and in more and more contexts.

    Self-driving technology in particular, especially for commercial vehicles, is by some estimates within 10 years of becoming a mainstream technology, potentially displacing hundreds of thousands of commercial truck drivers. And as an aside, this piece describes how the trucking industry is clearly not ready for this and other technological disruptions.

    This is not meant to be another, tired, 'Robots are taking our jobs' post, but rather another reminder that technology-driven disruption will continue to change the nature of work, workplaces, and even our own ideas about the role of people in work and the economy. And HR and HR tech leaders have to take a leading role in how, where, when, and why their organizations navigate these changes, as they sit directly at the intersection of people, technology, and work.

    And lastly, if that Las Vegas delivery truck had been equipped with the same kinds of self-driving tech that the Nayva ARMA bus has, there is almost no chance there would have been an accident.

    But it might have be fun if it happened anyway. I'd love to see two 'robot' trucks argue with each other on the side of the road about which one was the doofus who caused the accident.

    Have a great day!