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    Monday
    Nov272017

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 303 - Jeff Carr and the 'New' Zenefits

    HR Happy Hour 303 - Jeff Carr and the 'New' Zenefits

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guest: Jeff Carr, COO, Zenefits

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve is joined by Jeff Carr, COO of HR Tech provider Zenefits. Zenefits has had a pretty wild ride in only about four years, and today is at a much different place than just a year or two ago. Jeff was really open and honest discussing Zenefits efforts to correct mistakes made in the past, (and in fairness, under a totally different leadership team), to re-brand and re-cast the company products and strategies, and what might be in the future for one of HR Tech's most interesting companies.

    While I bet just about every HR, Payroll, and HR Tech professional that will hear this show has certainly heard the name 'Zenefits', you may not be as aware at how in the last 12 - 18 months the company has looked to, for lack of a better word, emerge from its own past. This was a really interesting conversation with one of HR Tech's most experienced leaders talking about what I think is an incredibly fascinating story.

    We also talked a bit about minor league baseball, Thanksgiving, and Steve once again teased his upcoming All-NBA podcast, 'Bounding and Astounding'.

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

    This was a fun and interesting show - thanks for Jeff for coming on the HR Happy Hour.

    Thanks to HR Happy Hour sponsor Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com.

    HR Happy Hour listener survey here

    Subscribe to the HR Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

    Friday
    Nov242017

    Steve's Holiday Gift Recommendation #2 - The Rocker T-Shirt You Used to Have

    For your 'Black Friday' reading and shopping pleasure, wanted to run out a fresh Gift Recommendation installment. For folks who may have missed the first shot at this last week, here is a quick reminder of what this series is about:

    It's the end of the year, things are a little quiet, 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...

    Today I am not pointing you to one specific item, (the image on the right is just an example, but a cool one for sure), but rather a website that has dozens if not hundreds of cool, retro-style T-shirts and other items featuring rock stars and bands past and present - Rocker Rags.

    Take a quick look through Rocker Rags inventory and you'll find reproductions of such beauties as Aerosmith's 1977 'Boston to Budokan' Tour shirt, (I have that one), Journey's 1981-82 'Don't Stop Believin' Tour, and Soundgarden's 1994 'Superunknown' Tour. 

    And there are tons more vintage look band, concert, and performer shirts from just about every band you used to think was cool. And the neat thing is these kinds of classic shirts are even popular with today's kids - I know I have picked up a Clash shirt or two for the Gen Z'er on my list.

    So for today's Black Friday recommendation, check out Rocker Rags, relive that concert you went to in 1988, and get yourself or someone on your list something pretty fun, original, and neat.

    Have a great weekend!

    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!