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    Wednesday
    Apr112018

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 318 - Virgin Pulse Thrive Summit Report: Helping Employees Thrive

    HR Happy Hour 318 - Virgin Pulse Thrive Summit Report: Helping Employees Thrive

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guests: Aimée Dodson, Thrive Director, Movement Mortgage; David Osborne, CEO, Virgin Pulse

    Recorded live at the Virgin Pulse Thrive Summit in Miami Beach, Florida

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, we return for our annual visit to Virgin Pulse's customer conference - the Thrive Summit where Steve sat down with Aimée Dodson from Movement Mortgage, and Virgin Pulse CEO David Osborne to talk wellbeing, engagement, and how organizations can help their people thrive at work and at home too. David shared an update on what has been happening at Virgin Pulse, but more importantly how the goal of helping organizations and their people succeed with their goals - health, financial, and more - and how leading companies are thinking about wellness more expansively and holistically - and how that drives important business and personal outcomes.

     Aimée then dug into some very specific details on Movement Mortgage's "Thrive" program - a comprehensive approach centerered around caring for their employees in four areas - health and wellness, family and relationships, personal finance, and community service. Movement is doing some incredibly innovative and successful things in their employee wellbeing efforts and Aimée shared examples like their 'Couch to 5K', 'Lose $1M in debt', and how they used social media to engage employees in these programs.

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

    Thanks to Aimée and David for joining me and thanks as always to Virgin Pulse for all the support.

    Subscribe to the HR Happy Hour wherever you get your podcasts - just search for 'HR Happy Hour.'

    Tuesday
    Apr102018

    HRE Column: Getting Personal with HR Tech

    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, after having attended several HR technology solution provider user conferences, I look at the major ideas, themes, and directions these providers, (and others) are talking about, using as design cues for their latest innovations, and are becoming more important for HR leaders to think about and understand. I am not looking directly at individual bits of functionality or capability, but rather more fundamental and cross-product ideas and concepts in HR tech.

    These are some of the major themes that we will be focusing on for the next HR Technology Conference - the nature of the most innovative HR technology solutions are putting user experiences, personalization, and embedding more intelligent recommendations to users and HR leaders.

    In the piece, I talk about each of these themes in some detail.

    Here's an excerpt from this month's piece in HRE Online:

    A major part of the planning process in creating the program for the upcoming HR Technology Conference and Exposition® is attending as many industry and HR technology solution provider customer conferences as I can. The primary benefit for attending these events are the conversations: with product executives about their current and future plans, with HR leaders who are using these products in their organizations, and with industry analysts and influencers about what they are seeing in the HR tech market.

    In the last month or so, I have had the opportunity to attend three such events: Ultimate Software’s Connections conference in Las Vegas, IBM’s Think event (also in Las Vegas) and Oracle HCM World in Dallas. (As an aside, while I do believe Las Vegas is the best place for any large conference, kudos to Oracle for choosing a location with great weather and great barbecue.)

    Rather than producing an event report for each conference, I thought I’d take this opportunity to highlight some common themes across all three events. While every HR technology provider approaches new trends, technologies and customer challenges in its own way, it is useful to assess what kinds of technology developments and “big picture” considerations are being seen across the industry, as these tools and developments are likely to shape much of the HR technology conversation for both solution providers as well as in customer organizations this year.

    Here are the three major themes I took from those recent conferences.

    AI-powered Solutions

    At HR Tech last year, artificial intelligence was the one theme that seemed to emerge out of almost every conversation with a solution provider. This is a good thing for HR leaders, but potentially problematic as well. While the promise of AI and AI-powered HR technology is amazing, the confusing blend of terminology, technology and marketingspeak can make AI in HR tech a difficult concept to grasp, as well as challenging to understand its practical applications.

    At the recent events I have attended, one major theme seems to be communicating more clearly in this emerging HR technology area. Currently, the primary way this technology is being deployed in HR tech is in the form of using AI to create more specific and tailored recommendations to support HR and HCM processes (for example: job matching, targeted employer value proposition messaging to specific, desired candidates, and recommended actions for managerial coaching and development opportunities for current employees). These and other AI-powered capabilities are demonstrating how this advanced technology can be put to work by HR and organizations without having to “learn” how the AI really works or hire AI-savvy HR staffers.

    Expect to see more AI usage, and more examples of AI becoming the “fabric” of HR technology platforms as this technology evolves and organizations become more comfortable with AI-powered HR tools. From what I heard at the three recent conferences, AI offers HR leaders tremendous opportunity and promises to dominate the discussion in HR tech in 2018 and beyond.

    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 plant your spring garden, take your dog for a walk, or change the oil in your lawn mower.

    Have a great day!

    Monday
    Apr092018

    Is every company soon to be an 'Artificial Intelligence' company?

    A few years back the quote 'Every company is a technology company' made the rounds on social media and in presentations on the workplace, the future of work, and in probably too many TED talks to try and compile.

    But while some work and workplace sayings, at least to me, don't necessarily become any more true just because they are repeated all the time, ('Culture eats strategy for breakfast', I am looking right at you), this notion of just about every kind of organization becoming much more reliant, dependent, and committed to more and more advanced technologies as a means to survive, compete, and thrive still seems valid to me.

    Can you think of any business, small, medium, or large, that has not had its processes, products, services, communications, administration, customer service, and marketing significantly impacted by new technology in the last decade? Aside from perhaps a few of the very smallest, local service businesses, I can't really think of any. And even those kinds of places, say like a local barbershop or pizza joint, are likely to have a 'Follow us on Facebook' or a 'Find us on Yelp' sticker in the window.

    I thought about this idea, of every company being a technology company, again recently when I saw this piece on Business Insider - 'Goldman Sachs made a big hire from Amazon to lead its Artificial Intelligence efforts'. While it isn't surprising or revealing at all to think of a giant financial institution like Goldman being transformed by technology like so many other firms in all industries, this specific focus on AI technology is I think worth noting.

    Here's an excerpt from the piece:

    Goldman Sachs has hired a senior employee from Amazon to run the bank's artificial-intelligence efforts.

    Charles Elkan has joined Goldman Sachs as a managing director leading the firm's machine learning and AI strategies, according to an internal memo viewed by Business Insider.

    Elkan comes from Amazon, where he was responsible for the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Amazon Web Services, according to the memo. He previously led the retailing giant's Seattle-based central machine-learning team.

    "In this role, Charles will build and lead a center of excellence to drive machine learning and artificial intelligence strategy and automation, "Elisha Wiesel, Goldman Sachs' chief information officer, wrote in the memo. "Charles will work in partnership with teams across the firm looking to apply leading techniques in their businesses."

    The key element I think to the announcement of Goldman's new AI hire is meant to work with groups across the entire business in order to find ways to apply AI and Machine Learning technologies. Almost as if Goldman is not looking to create the 'AI Department' akin to the classic 'IT Department' that exists in just about every company, but rather to find ways to infuse specific kinds of tech and tech approaches all over the company.

    And thinking about AI in that way, much differently to how most companies have looked at most of the major technological advances in the past is what leads me back to the question and title of the post. If the Goldman, (and plenty of other companies too) example of looking for ways to embed AI technology and techniques all across their businesses, then it is not really a stretch to suggest at least in some ways they are seeking to become 'an AI company' at their core.

    What's been the most significant single technology advance in the last 25 years or so that has done more to change how work and business get done?

    Email?

    The web?

    Mobile phones?

    Probably some combination of these three I would bet. And has any company you have known decided to 'brand' or consider themselves 'an email company?' Or a 'mobile phone' company? 

    Not really, these were just tools to try and get better, more efficient, more profitable being whatever kind of company they really were.

    So I think the answer to the 'AI question' for Goldman, or for anyone else going all in with AI at the moment is 'No', we aren't really trying become an Artificial Intelligence company. We probably should just consider AI and its potential as just another set of tools that can be leveraged in support of what it is we are really trying to do.

    Even if it is tempting to try and create the latest management/workplace axiom.

    Have a great week! 

    Thursday
    Apr052018

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 317 - When Women Thrive: Supporting Women in the Workplace

    HR Happy Hour 317 - When Women Thrive: Supporting Women in the Workplace

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guest: Pat Milligan, Mercer

    Sponsored by Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve is joined by Pat Milligan of Mercer, where she leads the When Women Thrive research initiative to talk about the project's most recent research on Women's economic standing and equity in the workplace. On the show Pat shared some findings and key recommendations from the recently released report from the When Women Thrive research titled 'Accelerating for Impact: 2018 Gender Inflection Point.'

    Pat discussed the current state of women's economic standing in the workplace, how in 2018 the data show that despite progress, there are still opportunities and challenges for organizations with respect to including and improving women's representation and standing in their organizations. She also shared some of the ways and tools that are available to organizations - an increased focus on data and analytics to identify areas of opportunity and measure progress, the benefits of focusing on women's health and wellness - inside and outside the organizations, and finally how HR leaders can begin to change the culture in their organizations and with their leaders to better focus on these 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 is an important issue, and When Women Thrive are doing great work to help organizations make progress. Make sure to download the report here.

    Thanks Pat for joining us!

    Subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show wherever you get your podcasts - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' on your favorite podcast app.

    Wednesday
    Apr042018

    UPDATE: Who benefits from corporate tax rate cuts?

    About a month ago I had a piece on the blog about the recent cuts in the corporate tax rate for US companies - more specifically, I looked at what companies were actually doing, (or have stated they will do) with the proceeds of these cuts, and how organizations may or may not be able to leverage these plans in their recruiting and retention efforts.

    Long story short, last month I said, (and shared some data) that said most companies are taking care of shareholders before and to a much more substantial degree than they are looking after current employees (with raises, bonuses, increased development opportunities), and potential future employees, (investing in new facilities, R&D expansion).

    Well, some more and more current data about corporate spending plans for their tax cut driven windfall is in, and sadly for (most) workers, the story has not changed all that much. Courtesy of Just Capital, a non-profit organization that has been monitoring what large US companies are doing and planning to do with these proceeds, have a look at how about 120 large organizations are allocating these new found funds:

    If you can't see the chart, (email and RSS subscribers may need to click through), the data breaks down by category of corporate stakehiolder or potential spending group as follows:

    Shareholders - 57% (stock buybacks, dividends)

    Jobs - 20% (commitment to job creation, capital investment intended to add jobs)

    Products - 7% (invesment in product quality or benefits)

    Customers - 6% (reduced pricing, increased service, privacy, safety)

    Workers - 6% (wages, bonuses, benefits, training)

    Communities - 4% (charitable giving, matching gifts, volunteering)

    Although the many announcements and rounds of one-time bonuses that many corporations have granted to employees have generated a lot of news, the Just Capital data continues to show that these programs and plans amount to an exceedingly small percentage of the total corporate benefit of tax cuts - estimated to be about $150B in 2018 alone.

    As I speculated the last time I looked at this data, organizations that were really making a meaningful and greater than average commitment and investment of these tax windfalls in their employees would likely be able to leverage the investments effectively as a tool for retention and increased overall employee loyalty. And potential new recruits could also be attracted and drawn to organizations that if not putting their employees first on the stakeholder pecking order, at least consider them to be more important (relative to shareholders for example) than competitors and industry averages.

    And here's one more bit of interesting information to consider for organizations and leaders trying to decide the 'best' allocation of tax savings. Just Capital periodically polls American's attitudes towards corporations - mainly to find out which corporate behaviors are seen as being the most 'just' or fair. In the most recent polling, how corporations treat their workers came in as the most important category in evaluating these corporations, with almost a quarter of respondents ranking worker treatment as number one.

    Shareholders? How corporations treat them came in last, with only 6.4% of respondents naming their treatment as most important when assessing corporate behavior.

    Lots to chew on here for sure. I will probably let this topic go for a while, as frankly its a little depressing. I suppose for most organizations, it is better to be a shareholder than anything else.

    Have a great day!