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    Monday
    Oct152018

    CHART OF THE DAY: How much are you using your smart speaker?

    Have you finally jumped in to the 'smart speaker' game? Whether it's an Amazon Echo device, something from Google, or one of the emerging third party manufacturers who are shipping devices that run voice operating systems from Amazon or Google, there seems to be no doubt that this technology is still growing, and maybe faster than you think.

    Some data from the recent Adobe 'State of Voice Assistants' research suggests that after the holiday shopping season concludes, almost 50% of US households will own a smart speaker of some kind. According to the Adobe data, about a third of US households already own a smart speaker, with another 16% reporting the intention to acquire one this holiday season. And here's another chart from the Adobe research, one that shows that the vast majority of smart speaker owners are increasing their use of the technology. Have a look, then some pithy, insightful, and still FREE comments from me.

     

     

    Three takes on the data:

    1. Really significant numbers of both current smart speaker owners, (76%) and non-owners (38%), report increased usage of the technology in the past year. The number to me that is really shocking is that 38% of non-owners are using these technologies more. I confess to not really knowing where or how these folks are using these tools more, but the fact that almost 40% of them are, leads me to believe that a decent number of them will become owners very soon. Said differently, over three quarters or current owners are using their devices more, as are a really healthy percentage of non-owners. You'd love to report at the end of the year that 76% of your employees engaged with any of your workplace technologies more this year.  

     

    2. One reason for the growth in usage? The sheer number of use cases keeps increasing. While the Adobe data also reports the most common uses of smart speakers are for streaming music, getting news and weather updates, and setting alarms and timers, a growing ecosystem of applications and skills are making these devices more useful, fun, and engaging. A full 32% of respondents reported using calendar and scheduling capabilities on their smart speakers for example. And 13% have used them to help with managing finances. Bottom line, the sky seems to be the limit for more and more innovative applications and users seem eager to expand their use of these tools.

    3. If you are in an HR or HR tech role, and have not started to think about how to incorporate these technologies into your delivery of HR information and services, in 2019 you really should plan some time to do so. Your employees are more and more likely to be using these tools and are becoming more comfortable with engaging with them. And pretty soon (if it has not happened yet), these speakers will be in offices, meeting rooms, common areas, cars, and possibly everywhere else. They offer a way for you to engage your employees with access to information, help, support, and more advanced activities in an interface format that everyone already understands - 'Alexa, set up a meeting in Friday with the Marketing Team'. What could be simpler?

    Finally, since I think you know by now I am all in on smart speaker, I wanted to remind readers that we have a special version of the HR Happy Hour Podcast on Alexa for Amazon Echo devices. If you are an Echo user, just add the 'HR Happy Hour'Skill to your device's Daily Flash Briefing to get a short HR Happy Hour Podcast a few times a week.

    Have a great day!

    Friday
    Oct122018

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 342 - Sports and HR with The 8 Man Rotation

    HR Happy Hour 342 - Sports and HR with The 8 Man Rotation

    Sponsored by Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com

    Host:Steve Boese 

    Guests: Kris Dunn, Lance Haun

    Listen HERE

    Today on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve was joined by two of the founding members of the 'Sports and HR' crew known as The 8 Man Rotation. Kris, Lance, and Steve broke down three recent HR and workplace issues taken from the world of sports.

    The crew discussed the recent harassment and hostile workplace charges at the NBA's Dallas Mavericks organization, how the City of Pittsburgh is implementing a form of the NFL's 'Rooney Rule' to try and improve diversity and representation of underserved populations in City's workforce, and how one innovative technology is moving from the football field and into corporate America.

    Sports were the source of these topics, but the true topics were harassment in the workplace, the responsibility of leaders to respond to harassment reports, diversity in sourcing and hiring, and how modern technology is changing workplace training - all 'real' HR issues.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, on your favorite podcast app, or by using the widget player below:

    This was a fun, interesting, and engaging conversation about how these important workplace issues have originated in the world of sports, but have relevance and importance in the 'real world' too.

    Additionally, we broke down budget hotels in the southeast, the best dining options at Publix, and Tim Sackett's shameless use of exclamation points in blog post titles.

    Thanks Kris and Lance for joining us!

    Remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, Google Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts - just search for 'HR Happy Hour'.

    Tuesday
    Oct092018

    You had me at "Almost no email"

    I had come across a few pieces about the tech company Glitch, (formerly Fog Creek Software, one of the most innovative tech companies of the last two decades), but until recently had never actually explored around their site to try and see what was so unusual and refreshing about their approach to openness and transparency.

    While their Employee Handbook has been the usual focus of articles that talk about just how different Glitch is, I found myself absolutely stunned into silence (and admiration) for this the paragraph below, buried as bullet point number three in a section called 'Working at Glitch'. And here is it: 

    • Almost no email. Most people at Glitch get fewer than a dozen email messages in a week from their coworkers. We use email for especially urgent company-wide alerts, and to work with people at other companies. For ordinary chat, we prefer to use Slack, and for lengthier conversations, we write out our ideas in full and share them for feedback and comment. It's common for people to come to work in the morning at Glitch and have no new emails in their inbox, and Inbox Zero is common enough that nobody even talks about it

    I know, I know what you are saying - our company isn't a small, tech company and we can't operate on just a handful of emails per day. We have too many things going on, too many moving parts, too many people we have to deal with on a regular basis to ever function in the way Glitch seems to function. Besides, if 273 emails not sent just turn into the same number, if not more, pings on Slack, then what is the difference. Fair point.

    But the other fair point I think, and one that is doubled-down on in the next 'Working at Glitch' bullet point titled 'We Respect Working Hours', is that Glitch has seemed to recognize that a barrage or onslaught of electronic messaging that you are expected to remain on top of all day long (and all night and weekend long too), is probably not the best way to create an inspired, engaged, and productive workforce.

    It's so easy to default back to the way we have always done things, the way we are conditioned to do things. I would guess that at least some portion of the team over at Glitch arrived there from some other workplace where 24/7 connection and hundreds of emails per day were the norms. But I would also guess that many of these same people now can't imagine going back to that kind of an environment. Good luck, by the way, cold-calling someone like that and luring them back to the dark side.

    Over time, and especially when things get really busy, I more and more send an email or a text almost begging that we stop emailing each other and just get on the phone. I am not sure all this email is doing us and our workforces the service it once did, back when we really thought for moment or too about sending the email in the first place.

    There are lots of other interesting ideas over at the Glitch careers site. I recommend checking it out. If only to dream 'What if?' for a few moments.

    Have a great day!

    Friday
    Oct052018

    HRE Column: Making Better HR Decisions Using HR Tech

    Yes, you may have noticed that I have been writing a little bit less frequently here on the blog. The combination of a ton of travel in September, helping deliver the largest HR Technology Conference ever, and keeping the growing HR Happy Hour Podcast Network going are all taking up quite a few cycles lately. But I am still writing over at Human Resource Executive where my latest column just posted.

    The piece is titled How Technology Helps Us Make Better HR Decisions and is a reflection on some of the more important topics in HR and HR Tech today - data, and making sense of data, and understanding how modern HR tech can help us make better HR and Talent decisions.

    Here's an excerpt from the piece on HRE:

    With the HR Technology Conference just completed a few weeks ago, I have had some time to attend a few industry events, record new episodes of the HR Happy Hour Podcast, and give a presentation on data, technology and decision-making in HR and talent management.

    In preparing for that talk, I referenced two highly recommended books, How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellberg; and Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence by Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb. While neither book is “about” HR—or even the workplace—both provided some excellent frameworks for thinking about information, data, technology and AI, and had great examples of how understanding these “non-HR” concepts can help those of us in HR get better at making talent decisions.

    I thought I’d devote this month’s column to sharing a few ideas from those books and my own personal thoughts on how we might want to view our people challenges a little differently.

    1. Data don’t always mean what you think they mean.

    How Not to Be Wrong opens with an extremely interesting tale from World War II. As air warfare gained prominence, the challenge for the military was figuring out where and in what amount to apply protective armor to fighter planes and bombers. Apply too much armor and the planes become slower, less maneuverable and use more fuel. Too little armor, or if it’s in the “wrong” places, and the planes run a higher risk of being brought down by enemy fire.

    To make these determinations, military leaders examined the amount and placement of bullet holes on damaged planes that returned to base following their missions. The data showed almost twice as much damage to the fuselage of the planes compared to other areas, most specifically the engine compartments, which generally had little damage. This data led the military leaders to conclude that more armor needed to be placed on the fuselage.

    But mathematician Abraham Wald examined the data and came to the opposite conclusion. The armor, Wald said, doesn’t go where the bullet holes are; instead, it should go where the bullet holes aren’t, specifically, on the engines. The key insight came when Wald looked at the damaged planes that returned to the base and asked where all the “missing” bullet holes to the engines were. The answer was the “missing” bullet holes were on the missing planes, i.e. the ones that didn’t make it back safely to base. Planes that got hit in the engines didn’t come back, but those that sustained damage to the fuselage generally could make it safely back. 

    Read the rest at HRE Online...

    You can also subscribe on HRE Online to get my monthly Inside HR Tech column via email here. I promise it will be the most exciting email you will ever receive. 

    Thanks for checking out the column, the blog, the podcasts, the 'Alexa' show, and all the nonsense I'm now in my second decade of churning out. 

    Have a great weekend!

    Wednesday
    Oct032018

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 341 - The Evolution of Talent Branding and Candidate Experience

    HR Happy Hour 341 - The Evolution of Talent Branding and Candidate Experience

    Sponsored by Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guest: Kathryn Minshew, The Muse

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve was joined by Kathryn Minshew, CEO and Founder of The Muse, a career platform used by over 50 million people to navigate their careers and by hundreds of companies looking to attract, hire and retain great talent. She’s also the author of "The New Rules of Work," a Wall Street Journal national bestseller.

    On the show, Kathryn discussed how candidates have become increasingly discerning in their careers, how they expect more and more authentic information from prospective employers, and how organizations can leverage new technology and media to deliver these talent brand messages and create better candidate experiences.

    Kathryn feels we are in the 3rd phase of the talent branding and candidate experience journey - where employers have to be specific, accurate, and use their 'real' people to tell the organization's stories and deliver an authentic message about how they experience their work environment. She also shared how some of the more effective employer attraction strategies have parallels to marketing - by sourcing great stories to share with prospective candidates, inserting more information and authenticity when interacting with candidates on sites like LinkedIn and email, and by making job descriptions more thoughtful and interesting to candidates. 

    Listen to the show on the show page HERE, on your favorite podcast app, or by using the widget player below:

    This was a great conversation, thanks to Kathryn for coming back on the show!

    Subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show wherever you get your podcasts.