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    « HR Technology, Amtrak, and Priorities | Main | The Man Without Fear »

    Corporate Social Networking Vendors - Here's your chance

    to give something to the community, support an educational program in Human Resources, and get some free publicity.Flickr - pascal.charest

    Some background - I teach a graduate course at the Rochester Institute of Technology, in Rochester, NY.  My course is one the very few in existence 100% devoted to Human Resources Technology.

    We cover the fundamentals of HR Technology (ERP, HRIS, SaaS), the important Talent Management processes (Performance, Succession, Comp, Recruiting), and lastly the emerging and growing area for corporate social networking and collaboration tools (blogs, wikis, Twitter, and such).

    Since I started teaching HR Technology almost two years ago, I have spent considerable time soliciting assistance and trying to build partnerships with the HR Technology vendor community, in an effort to get more hands-on access to software and 'real' experiences for my students, the vast majority of which have not ever had such an opportunity before my class.  To date several vendors have graciously offered access, assistance, and support, most notably Halogen Software and SpectrumHR. To both of these organizations, once again, I offer my sincere thanks, and I certainly hope that we will be able to continue our partnerships in the future.

    But for my next class that starts in June, I am faced with a new challenge that makes integrating a core HRIS (like Spectrum's iVantage), or a robust Talent Management suite (like Halogen) quite difficult. I will have  a class of students unfamiliar with these types of systems and the course will be offered completely online.

    No 'in-person' class meetings means no opportunities to do 'live' demos or in-class exercises that were the primary benefit of using these 'donated' platforms. Based on my experience with the class so far, attempting to integrate these systems in the manner that I would prefer is going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible in an 100% online delivery method.

    So for the new class, the online class, I still need to provide a 'real-world', 'hands-on' experience with a relevant technology that the students could very well encounter in their workplaces, or better still, bring to their workplaces, armed with the expertise and knowledge gained in class.

    What better technology then, than Corporate Social Networking?  The very type of solution that is designed to foster connectivity and collaboration amongst a dispersed workforce, is meant to be simple enough to use to achieve rapid and widespread adoption in the organization, and is growing in popularity in the corporate world, thus exposing the students to a technology that is suddenly 'hot'.

    My idea is to essentially 'run' the class in the social network, have the students collaborate on assignments, post and respond to discussions, create 'HR related' content and resources typically housed on corporate intranets, and interact with each other in real time from their dispersed locations.

    The types of vendors that I think would be a good fit for this project would be SelectMinds, Jive, or perhaps Telligent. There are many other vendors as well that would be a fit, too many perhaps to list here.  Or perhaps one of the newer, less well-known vendors would like to participate in the project to generate some publicity.

    It would be a pretty simple effort on the vendor side, since I need a hosted solution, the vendor would need to create an instance for my class, with perhaps 20 user licenses for a period of about 3 months. I would set up and administer the class network, and the students would be the 'users'.  At the end of the class, the vendor could simply close off access to the network.

    In return for the software use and support, I would offer good, constructive feedback from the class as this project amounts to a 3 month extended 'test', I will publicly blog, tweet, and otherwise promote the product and the vendor, and make myself available to the vendor as a reference for articles, internal blogs, press releases etc.  It is a mutually beneficial arrangement that I think worked really well last class with Halogen, and I think it would be a good opportunity for the right vendor.

    Ok, that is the pitch.  For any social networking vendors who might be interested in this project here is my contact information:

    E-mail - steveboese@gmail.com

    Twitter - sbjet

    Or simply leave a comment on the post and I can get in contact with you.

    Thanks in advance for your support of my class and the education of some future HR leaders.




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    Reader Comments (6)

    Another benefit for the vendors that might not be apparent:
    These students may have little to no experience with HR tech. Imagine that your system is the first one they come into contact with, and they have a positive experience. When they go to work, they become advocates not only for HR tech, but for tech with which they are familiar. The press and feedback are both valuable, as Steve mentioned, but having access to a classroom of students who are going to remember exactly what HRIS they used in college could be worth much more.

    *This is coming from a soon-to-be grad student who would kill to attend Mr. Boese's class if not for the 1000+ mile separation of RIT and me.* :-)

    March 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBen

    Thanks Ben for the comment, actually you make a very good point. I had a student in my last class who owns a small engineering firm locally. As a result of class experiences with wikis and performance management systems, she has begun the process of implementing both in her small business. So while I can't promise direct 'sales' opportunities, this example proves that indeed a vendor who partners with the class may indeed see some real leads develop.

    March 26, 2009 | Registered CommenterSteve

    Steve- I think this is great that you are trying to engage companies to help out with the needs of your class. This type of "exchange", I believe, will become more prevalent in as social networking and blogs (by teachers and students) are more the norm than exception. Hopefully you get some traction with this.

    March 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEthan Bull

    Thanks Ethan for the comment, I have had a couple of decent leads since the post ran, so I am optimistic I will get something worked out with one of the vendors soon. I think these types of exchanges are so mutually beneficial that the vendor community will one day start reaching out to more instructors to offer support and software for classes. I appreciate you reading and sharing your thoughts.

    March 30, 2009 | Registered CommenterSteve

    Hi Steve:

    You should get in touch with Steve Barham, senior account executive with LinkedIn. He visited our HR Tech Group Recruitment SIG meeting a few weeks in Vancouver, BC. Great speaker and outlined amazing tips for in-house recruiters and hr folks to increase their employer brand presence and source potential candidates (FREE or through their Corporate Recruiter function). You can find Steve Barham on Linkedin!

    BTW, love your comments about HR stepping into the modern tech world. This will be an interesting year for company recruiting budgets. There will be more emphasis on HR folks upgrading their company career pages and getting on every direct source tool available.


    April 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbrenda

    Brenda, thanks for the information and for sharing your experiences. I will definitely look him up on LinkedIn. I agree with you 100% on the need for many, many HR groups to upgrade their presence on their own company career pages as well as the more popular external networking platforms. And the thing is, most of what they can do as a start is not all that complex or expensive. Thanks very much for reading and sharing such great information.

    April 4, 2009 | Registered CommenterSteve

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