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    #HRHappyHour 162 PODCAST - 'RPO and Talent in 2013'

    This week the HR Happy Hour Show/Podcast is back with a fresh episode recorded earlier this week -'RPO and Talent in 2013' with guest John Wilson, Founder and CEO of the RPO firm WilsonHCG (you can follow John on Twitter as well - @wilsonceo).

    It was a fascinating conversation with John - as the founder and CEO of a leading RPO firm, he had lots of particular insight around the key talent acquisition challenges facing all kinds of organizations today. John shared some interesting and relevant ideas about how organizations are having success in today's competitive enviroment, how much (or little) companies are looking to temporary or contingent markets to find talent, and when and why RPO makes sense or is a good fit for an organization.

    You can listen to the show on the show page here, using the widget player below, and of course on iTunes - just search the podcasts area for 'HR Happy Hour'.

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    In a HR Happy Hour Show from earlier in 2013, industry legend and thought leader Gerry Crispin talked about the increased use of RPO by small and midsize firms to be one of the most important trends to look for in talent acquisition in the next 1-3 years. As Gerry described then, and as you will John talk about as well, when done right, RPO arrangements do offer customer organizations a compelling mix of service, access to technology, and understanding of broader industry and market trends that can certainly augment internal recruting teams. So check out the podcast, let me know what you think and please connect with John as well.

    Thanks to John and the folks at WilsonHCG for taking the time this week - and a shout-out to HR Happy Hour Show co-host Trish McFarlane, who was on the road this week and could not make the show.


    Finally, for listeners of the show a quick reminder. For the next little while anyway, Trish and I will be doing the HR Happy Hour Shows more as a traditional podcast - recorded in advance, perhaps a little shorter than the live shows were, and hopefully posted to the site every other week. With our schedules and lots of travel on the horizon this year, doing the shows 'live' on Thursday nights has become increasingly challenging. Trish and I hope that by changing how the shows are produced it will allow us the opportunity to continue doing the show/podcast in a way that will work with our schedules as well as our future guests.

    Have a great weekend!


    I've got some suggestions for your screenplay

    Not really, and unless you are up to something on the side, you probably don't even have a screenplay (or a short story or a book for that matter). But what you might have, still, is that problem of folks in the HR and even IT game have been lamenting just about forever - no 'real' business people take you all that seriously.

    For whatever reason the people in the organization that get to decide the 'what' of what people do are more important and 'strategic' than the people that (largely) are responsible for finding and hiring those people in the first place (HR), and identifying, procuring, deploying, and maintaining all the technologies that the people rely on every day (IT). That is probably true in most organizations and it's also true that it's unlikely to change unless HR and IT start to think a little differently about the problem.

    I was thinking about this over the weekend when I read this piece in the New York Times, Solving the Equation of a Hit Film Script, With Data, about a new method or process where Hollywood film scripts are evaluated, and suggestions for improvement given, based on data-driven analysis. How does the process work? From the NYT piece:

    Netflix tells customers what to rent based on algorithms that analyze previous selections, Pandora does the same with music, and studios have started using Facebook “likes” and online trailer views to mold advertising and even films.

    Now, the slicing and dicing is seeping into one of the last corners of Hollywood where creativity and old-fashioned instinct still hold sway: the screenplay

    A chain-smoking former statistics professor named Vinny Bruzzese — “the reigning mad scientist of Hollywood,” in the words of one studio customer — has started to aggressively pitch a service he calls script evaluation. For as much as $20,000 per script, Mr. Bruzzese and a team of analysts compare the story structure and genre of a draft script with those of released movies, looking for clues to box-office success. His company, Worldwide Motion Picture Group, also digs into an extensive database of focus group results for similar films and surveys 1,500 potential moviegoers. What do you like? What should be changed?

    Pretty interesting and still in this age of data trumping everything kind of unusual. Although even as I recently wrote about here, data and algorithms and machine learning approaches encroaching on formerly 'creative' endeavors are starting to pop up more and more.

    Applying intelligence, Big Data, and more powerful technologies for improving movie screenplays does more than just fix up the dramatic scene in Act III, it allows a guy like Vinny Bruzzese, who as far as we can tell had no 'real' movie experience, to become an influential participant in the movie-making process.

    His data, team of analysts, and statistically-backed conclusions and suggestions, now put him more and more 'at the table' (sorry), where formerly only writers and movie producers used to meet. It doesn't really matter that he didn't go to film school or he didn't spend the 80s directing episodes of Full House, his data-driven solutions make him a Hollywood player.

    Influence in business seems to be becoming more about who can gather, assess, and make data actionable, than who has the 'right' degree or experience. And the background of the people who can do that might be a lot different than who normally used to have that kind of influence. 


    WEBINAR: How smart managers are employee agents

    Yep, it's time for me to pitch the next installment in the Fistful of Talent free webinar series, this one titled Get My Agent On The Phone- How Smart Managers Position Themselves as Agents Via Performance Goals, which is set for next Tuesday, May 21st from 1:00PM  - 2:00PM EDT, and is sponsored by longtime friends of FOT and of mine, Halogen Software

    You can register for the free webinar here.

    But why should you?

    Because chances are at your organization either performance management, goal setting and tracking, or the capability of your front-line managers to really manage employee performance and inspire and encourage development need some help.

    Because your company is probably like 98% of companies out there that are not getting enough - enough improvement, enough accountability, enough understanding of who the best performers really are - out of your performance management process.

    Because despite the hype and buzz about 'scrapping performance reviews' you know that will never happen anytime soon where you work, and that you as a talent pro have to find ways to make the system work for you, and not try and invent something entirely new.

    And last, because you secretly know if your organization doesn't continue to improve and innovate and stay one step ahead, there are 4 dudes who just dropped out of Stanford that have already figured out a way to do what your firm does, only cheaper, faster, and using only an iPhone app. 

    So what will you learn from  Get My Agent On The Phone- How Smart Managers Position Themselves as Agents Via Performance Goals?


    Making sure the goals you set represent the Five Most Important Things (5MIT) for the employee in question. What are the most important things your employee has to focus on this year? If you can only talk to them about five things, what would those things be and why? Smart managers skip discussing the busy work and get to what's going to change the game - for the company and the employee. We'll give you the 411 on how to do that.

    Offering up ways each of the Five Most Important Things might be measured in the months that follow. You want measurements - we get it. The key in offering up how you’re going to measure the 5MIT in question is not to limit yourself. The more you box yourself in, the less innovation you get. We'll show you how to set the expectation your direct reports are going to be measured without actually taking performance off the table. PS - They'll love you for this if you deliver it in the right way.

    Having Thoughts on what “Good” and “Great” performance looks like in each area. That’s right – we’re going through a goal setting process not because HR told us we had to, but because it can set us up to be a great performance coach for the rest of the year. Nothing sets you up as a coach more than owning the difference between “good” and “great”. We'll tell you how to reserve the “great” tag for employees who really innovate, drive change or add true value in the job they’re in.

    Including a section that details “What’s In It for Me?” for each area of focus. Being an agent is about talking about how chasing great performance in the area in question could be great for the employee’s career. We'll show you how to frame this as the agent/coach. It's the most important thing you can do.

    Putting it all in an easy to follow, informal format. If you go beyond one page, you’re making goal setting too complex. List everything we’ve described to this point in one page, and make the headers conversational in nature, and you win. We've got some format to share with you.

    Look you and your managers want to be viewed as career agents for your employees rather than a run of the mill corporate bureaucrat. The robots are coming for those jobs. Trust me on that.

    Join FOT for "Get My Agent on the Phone"  on Tuesday, May 21st from 1:00PM  - 2:00PM EDT and we'll show how the secret sauce to goal setting and follow-up conversations can dramatically change the positioning of what you do in performance management.

    As always, the free FOT webinar comes guaranteed - 60% of the time it works every time.


    HR map of the day - time to widen your circle

    The map below, initially posted by Reddit user valeriepieris, made the internet rounds last week, so perhaps you've seen it. Or perhaps not, as we seem often in the HR online space (me included), debating about cultural fit and performance reviews and the difference between SaaS and hosted applications, and other such nonsense, when chances are at least more likely information like in the map below will have a more profound and significant impact on our businesses in the next decade.

    So here is the map, and then we can discuss what, if anything this should mean to those of us in the Talent game.

    So for the US-based Talent pro, this might be kind of surprising, I know it was surprising to me. We know that the world is supposed to be shrinking, but in a way this map doesn't really bear that out. Rather it shows pretty simply that the center of population is on the other side of the world, and packed into a relatively small area. 

    So what might this mean, or what might you need to be thinking about with this map in mind?

    If you are an older, established company that is having a hard time finding opportunities for growth in your domestic market, then if you are not looking to play inside the circle in some way - then you are effectively cutting out half of the world's population and potential customers.

    If you are a newer Talent pro, then chances are sometime in your career you will either need to understand the talent pools inside the circle, or perhaps even have to spend some time working inside the circle yourself. Maybe not today or tomorrow, especially if your shop is in some kind of truly local business. But do you really think you will be working there forever? No time like the present to start preparing for both of those possibilities. 

    Last, if you are a parent, or perhaps plan to be a parent one day, this map is just another representation of the fact that the world our children will inherit and have to make their way in will be substantially different than it was even one generation ago. That has probably been true of all generations, but that doesn't give you a pass to ignore what is happening in the world today and to think about how best all of us should be preparing those rock and roll loving young whippersnappers.

    So take a look at the map, think about (at least for a few minutes), what it might mean for you. Then, if you must, resume tweeting about how companies need to be more social and how employee engagement is good. 

    Somehow, I think all that stuff will mean very little when compared to some of the really big changes happening in the world.


    Note: If you need or care about the rough population estimates that back up this conclusion here they are:

    World pop: 7+B, so the circle must have more than 3.5B people in.

    China pop: 1.33B
    India pop: 1.25B
    Indonesia pop: 0.25B
    Japan pop: 0.13B
    Thailand pop: 0.07B
    Bangladesh pop: 0.14B
    Pakistan pop: 0.19B
    Malaysia pop: 0.03B
    Philippines pop: 0.095B
    South Korea pop: 0.04B

    Total from above: 3.524B

    What if there was a Yelp for HR Software?

    I'm a little late on this since some of the big tech news sites like TechCrunch and CIO.com covered this back in February, but over the weekend I finally got around to checking out a site called G2Crowd, and the simplest way to describe it is as a 'Yelp for Enterprise Software.'

    By now we are all familiar and possibly reliant on the crowdsourced reviews and ratings paradigm popularized by sites like Yelp for restaurants and bars, TripAdvisor for travel destinations, and certainly Amazon.com for books, music, heck just about everything. There continues to be tremendous popularity and value for sites to gather, interpret, and categorized real live customer experiences with products and services for just about anything that can be purchased. But while consumers and users love these sites, as they generally provide neutral, unbiased, and sometimes massive amounts of information about the quality and value of a product/service, many suppliers have come to fear and loathe these sites, as one or two poor reviews can sometimes cause serious damage to a business' reputation and sales.


    But for whatever reason despite there existing a 'Yelp' equivalent for seemingly just about everything, there really isn't a large, successful manifestation of the crowdsourced review and ratings site for Enterprise Software. That is the gap that G@Crowd is trying to fill, providing a platform and frameworks for enterprise customers and users of technologies like CRM, ERP, Accounting, and yes HR Technology as well, to enter product reviews and ratings just as people do for the local BBQ joint on Yelp.

    The process to create a software product review on G2Crowd is familiar to anyone who has used Yelp or TripAdvisor, but with one important difference - G2Crowd requires the reviewer to log in with their LinkedIn credentials, which serves a few important ends. One, (with limited exceptions), reviewers identities are not anonymous; two, G2Crowd 'knows' based on the LinkedIn profile, at what company and in what role the reviewer was working in at the time of the review; and three, G2Works can police phony reviews left by people working for or against any of the software companies themselves.

    The idea is simple really, a set of unbiased ratings and reviews of enterprise software solutions like Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, etc., that can be aggregated, (over time, and if enough scale is achieved), produce a valuable and previously unavailable resource for organizations that are evaluating software for themselves. In addition to the individual product reviews, G2Crowd has started to create, based on the review data, their own version of the 'analyst grid', positioning competing firms in a given market segment in comparison to each other, the most famous of which is the Gartner Magic Quadrant. But rather than a Magic Quadrant that represents, in the end, the opinions of one or a few analysts, the G2Crowd grid would reflect the collective experience and opinion of potentially thousands of users. In theory not necessarily a 'better' way to compare vendors, but certainly a different one, and one that if G2Crowd can continue to keep the reviews clean, would potentially be more important, (and accessible), than what the traditional analyst firms create.

    Will G2Crowd catch on with enough users and customers to generate the kind of scale it needs to be a truly valuable resource to the enterprise software buyer?

    Hard to say. It is a new site, and there seems to be some decent traction and volume on the CRM market. If you spend some time checking out the HR software reviews you will see they are a little thin.

    But how about this? How about if everyone who reads this blog and is a current user of one of the big HR software solutions heads over to G2Crowd this week and drops a product review?

    That might be a way to get this kind of endeavor a little more attention for the HR market, and perhaps also show how all of you as users of these solutions really do have the power to influence the market.

    What do you think - would a site like G2Crowd be helpful to you and your organization?