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    Cast of Characters

    Cast of characters
    Originally uploaded by steveboese

    Are you only bringing one thing to the table?

    This picture is the cast of characters from my 8 year old son's latest creation, a comic book based on the Lego 'Power Miners'. What I found amusing about the page was the specific roles he has assigned to all the characters, and the descriptions he chose for each one.

    For example on the good guy side we have 'Ace the Engineer', 'Brains the Scientist', and 'Tom the Reporter'. The villains have the expected sinister sounding names like 'Boulderax', 'Sulfurix', and 'Glaciator'.

    Each character fits neatly into their assigned role, you know what to expect from them as the story progresses. Granted, 8 year olds (and most TV sitcom writers) usually haven't mastered the concept of complex character development. In this story, Glaciator will be evil throughout, and there is no way he will ever change.

    What does this have to do with HR Technology? Well, nothing really.

    But it does raise a question that almost all of us who are lucky enough to still be employed need to ask ourselves. That is, are we as one-dimensional and predictable as the characters in my son's comic? Are we only bringing one thing to the table? Even if that one thing that we do, we do fantastically well, it is still only one thing. When it comes time for the organization to decide who will be in the next group to be shown the door, if you can be so easily defined by your 'one thing', you are bound to be at more risk than a more fully developed character.

    To use another analogy, when Kirk, Spock, Bones, and a random crewman beamed down to the hostile planet, it was pretty much a given that 'Crewman XYZ' was the one not coming back.

    Do whatever you have to do to not be branded as a one-dimensional character like 'Glaciator' or 'Crewman XYZ'. Learn a new skill, badger some colleagues to let you in on a new project, connect with peers in your industry and start sharing knowledge and insight.

    Don't be so easily defined.


    HR Technology for the Small Business - Communication

    Every class I have two or three students who are HR Directors or HR Managers at what are typically considered 'small' businesses, that is organizations that employ less than 500 people. As the course progresses, and we cover topics ranging from 'core' HRIS systems, to Talent Management solutions, to collaboration and networking platforms, these HR pros from small business frequently indicate that their organizations are sorely lacking in the area of HR Technology solutions. This is a particularly acute problem for organizations with around 100-200 employees.

    This position in the market is a really difficult one, the organization has outgrown many of their original, paper-based processes for employee tracking, performance management, and benefits administration, but they are typically either below the radar of the most popular HR Technology solution vendors, or these solutions are simply priced too high for the small business to manage.

    In the area of communication tools, while all the small businesses have email, some don't even have simple intranets to manage employee communications and information.  Fortunately for the small organization, there are numerous, accessible, inexpensive tools that can facilitate employee communication and collaboration.  Here are just a few ideas for the small organization.


    The most popular public platform for microblogging is of course Twitter, but for the small organization, the 'enterprise' version of Twitter called Yammer can be a great solution.  Note: If you are not familiar with the concept of microblogging, watch this explanatory video from Common Craft. Simply register your company's domain (your '.com', if you will), send out some e-mail invitations to your employees to join your Yammer network, and immediately folks can begin communicating with each other via short status updates. Yammer also extends the capabilities of Twitter by supporting group creation (the sales folks can have a separate Yammer group from the accounting types), and the inclusion of message attachments. The company's Yammer network is restricted to only those people having a valid email account in the company domain.  The basic Yammer service is free, there are some premium features that can be purchased, but for the small company at least initially these premium features are not necessary.


    Another free and easy way to facilitate communication is by starting a simple company blog.  Post announcements, events, and company information on the blog, and invite employees to read and comment.  There are numerous free blogging platforms that the small business can utilize to create the blog, and most like Google's Blogger platform and Wordpress, allow you to make the blog 'private', meaning only invited users can view and comment on the blog.  Starting an internal blog, particularly one where company executives contribute is a great way for the small business to open up a new communication channel.

    Surveys and Polls

    Another great way to have a dialogue of sorts within the organization is through the use of survey and polls.  Once again there are a multitude of options (most of them free), for creating employee surveys and polls.  For simple, yet powerful survey capability check out SurveyMonkey.  With a SurveyMonkey free account, you can create up to 10 question surveys with up to 100 responses per survey.  Once the survey is created, simply e-mail the generated link to all your intended responders, and watch the result come in. You can review the survey results online, but do need to upgrade to a paid subscription at $19.95 per month to be able to download the survey results, create longer surveys, and have unlimited respondents.  Still for most small organizations, the constraints of the free account are not that limiting.

    For polling, I really like Zoho Polls. This free service (one of scores from online applications provider Zoho), is a simple tool that allows you to create simple polls, invite unlimited responses, and easily embed the poll on your intranet or blog. Your poll can be 'Rating' poll (like rating a movie with stars), or a 'Voting' poll, where participants can choose one option from a list.  The small business could use these polls to solicit feedback on a new benefits program, choosing the best option for a new ad campaign, or even where to hold the next company party.  A sample Zoho poll is here, where I invite anyone who reads this post to offer an opinion.

    In a future post, I will expand on some of these concepts to get into real collaboration tools, like wikis, internal social networks, and community platforms.  While some of these may be beyond the scope of the average small business today, an enterprising small business needs to be positioned for the future.



    Are all the candidates on Facebook?

    If you are a corporate recruiter or hiring manager are you using Facebook at all in your recruiting strategy?

    Because based on my very unscientific and limited data set, it appears like pretty much everyone you might be targeting is either already on Facebook, or will be soon.

    This is a chart showing the number of registered Facebook users from my high school, the incredibly typical, average, run-of-the-mill public school, John F. Kennedy Memorial High School in Iselin, NJ USA.  The Jul-08 line shows the data as of the first time I prepared the chart, and the Feb-09 line shows the data as of today.

    In just about 7 months, Facebook use by my high school cohort for the graduation years I selected (a total of 12 graduating classes), has increased from 229 to 1,068.  That is a 366% growth rate from just my high school in the last 7 months!  Is there anyone not on Facebook these days?

    In the last couple of years more and more organizations have embraced Facebook as a platform for recruiting, usually from the 'branding' and communication perspective.  If the adoption trends displayed by the good folks from my high school are at all indicative of larger trends in the US, expect to see more and more organizations dive in to the Facebook pool.

    So to ask the question again:

    Are all the candidates on Facebook?



    Enterprise Knowledge vs. Individual Job Security

    There is lots of energy and interest in implementing 'social' collaboration systems inside the Enterprise.  Flickr - steve took itThese systems have many goals, chiefly the facilitation of employee collaboration, development of a corporate knowledge base, and to provide a platform to speed new hire productivity.

    For any of these 'social' systems to be effective, they must engender enthusiastic support and adoption by the organization's ranks.  Employees must see the benefit in contributing and participating in these systems. They must be comfortable sharing information and sometimes explicitly documenting the 'how' of their work processes.

    But in a climate where it seems like corporate America sheds thousands or workers every day, does it make sense that many employees will be reluctant to openly share and document this tacit knowledge?

    If an employee feels like the safeguarding (in their heads), of this critical information is their best defense against a possible layoff, are they likely to enthusiastically participate in social systems, that rely on making such 'internal' knowledge transparent.

    Is it possible that the implementation of corporate social systems can benefit the enterprise, but harm the individual employee?

    What do you think?



    Your first 100 HR Twitter follows


    In late December I posted 'An Introduction to Twitter for the HR Student', which was meant to be a guide and starting point for my HR Grad Students, as well as HR professionals who were interested in diving in the world of Twitter.  That post can be found here - and remains by far the most viewed post on this blog.

    About a month has passed since that post, and I have since found and been found by many, many more talented, informative, interesting, funny, and fantastic HR Tweeps, so I thought I would try to expand the 'Introductory' HR Twitter list, and see if I (we) could come up with the definitive (for today) list of the 100 first follows for the HR student or professional.  So without further ado, lets see how far we can get.


    1. SteveBoese - Me, since I am spending my 'free' time working on this, I get to be number 1.  Seriously, I am an HR Technology Instructor and advisor and I hope if you found your way here, you will give me a follow.

    The Bloggers

    2. Lisa Rosendahl - from the HR Thoughts blog

    3. The HR Maven - from the HR Maven blog

    4. lruettimann - from Punk Rock HR

    5. sharlyn_lauby - from HR Bartender

    6. hrwench - from the Hr Wench blog

    7. Hr_Minion - from the HR Minion blog

    8. williamtincup - from the Human Capital Vendor space blog

    9. kris_dunn - from the HR Capitalist blog

    10. pdxmikek - from the Info Box blog

    11. mvndrvrt - from the Human Racehorses blog

    12. penelopetrunk - from Brazen Careerist

    13. thelance - from Your Hr Guy

    14. ChrisFerdinandi - from Manager's Sandbox

    15. marenhogan from marenated.com

    The Recruiters - note a more complete list of recruiters to follow is here, from The Recruiter's Lounge

    16. toddkmiec

    17. Barry_at_Impact - Executive Recruiter

    18. SJDelaney

    19.CincyRecruiter - Executive Recruiter

    20. blogging4jobs

    21. JenWojcik

    22. HireCentrix

    23. TheRecruiterGuy

    24. animal

    25. jjbuss

    26. heathergardner

    27. havrilla

    28. ejobfairs

    29. SourcerKelly

    30. StevenGilbert

    31. jerry_albright

    32. jimstroud

    The Pros

    33. HollyMVG - HR Director and Novelist, if you follow her now, maybe you can get a signed copy of her novel when it comes out, (maybe)

    34. SHip - Executive Recruiting Consultant

    35. clachnit - Exec Editor at Workforce Management

    36. amylewis - from the Human Capital Institute

    37. Kelly Mitton - recent HR Graduate and a great person to follow

    38. johnhollon - Editor of Workforce Management

    39. thealphafemme - HR Director

    40. jessica_lee - Employment manager and blogger at Fistful of Talent


    The Consultants

    41. stelzner - from Inflexion Advisors and from what I hear, a friend of Obama, and the head 'Angel'

    42. vastrat - a really deep thinker and interesting follow

    43. gautamghosh - Consultant and blogger

    44. hrwhisperer -  OD Consultant

    45. rickdeare - talent acquisition consultant

    46. rhhr - President RHHR Associates

    47. jasonaverbook - Jason Averbook, CEO of Knowledge Infusion

    48. jcorsello - Jason Corsello, also from Knowledge Infusion and the Human Capitalist Blog

    49. joningham - Jon Ingham of the Strategic HCM blog

    50. seiden - from JasonSeiden.com

    51. bncarvin - CEO of Nobscot Co. and once you find out her home base, you will want to take a meeting

    52. mspecht - Michael Specht, leading HR consultant and blogger from Australia


    The Vendors

    53. ICIMS - Recruiting solutions

    54. OrangeHRM - open source HR systems

    55. VisualCV - service that lets candidates create rich, multi-media CV's

    56. Success Factors- Performance Management solutions

    57. Salary.com- Compensation data and planning, recently expanding into Talent Management

    58. Smart Recruiters- Recruiting solutions for small and medium size businesses

    59. Human Capital Institute- great source of information and knowledge

    60. Workscape- suite of Talent Management solutions

    61. Sum Total Systems- learning management solutions

    62. Standout Jobs- Really cool and innovative approach to recruiting solutions

    63. ross- Ross Mayfield, Chairman and co-founder of Socialtext

    64. dpriemer - from Rypple a cool service for getting performance feedback



    65. DailyCareerTips - helpful tips and links to manage your career

    66. CompetencyMGMT- helping organizations make better workplace decisions

    67. GoCollaboration- feeds blog posts on workplace collaboration

    68. kwg4now - COO at HR Marketer.com

    69. Leadership News- all about leadership

    70. jobangels - a resource for job seekers and folks trying to help them

    71. thehiringsite - community for hiring professionals

    Everyone Else - I am tired of 're-numbering' so here are the rest I came up with to get close to 100

    72. employerbrander - Employer branding consultant

    73. yammer_team - Yammer is the 'Twitter for the Enterprise' leader

    74. StevenRothberg - founder of CollegeRecruiter.com

    75. presentationzen - great resource on effective presentation design

    76. MNHeadhunter- Minnesota based recruiter

    77. pauljacobs4real - New Zealand based HR Recruitment strategist

    78. jasonalba - from JibberJobber

    79. michellerafter - reporter covering business, tech, and  HR

    80. Bersin - Bersin & Associates Research and News

    81. coffeebuzd - HR Pro from the bullseye company

    82. GLHoffman - Author of Digyourjob

    83. heatherhuhman - resource for Gen Y types

    84. annbares - Compensation consultant and blogger

    85. chris_bailey - workplace experience designer

    86. TheResumator - ATS solutions for the small business market

    87. Workscape - Talent Management Solutions

    88. visualcv - Resource for jobseekers to create online, multi-media CV's

    89. byosko - the man behind Standout Jobs

    90. ERE_net - source for recruiting news and information

    91. SlideRocket - site for creating and sharing presentations

    92. slideshare - site for uploading and sharing your presentations, and for research

    93. HRSearchPros - Executive search for HR Pros

    94. MikeHaberman - Human Resources Consultant

    95. cathymartin - HR Consultant

    96. williamu - Talent Acquisition

    97. venlatch - HR Student at RIT

    98. lunatic09 - HR Student at RIT

    99. bizofmanagement - John Hollon's Workforce Management blog

    100. hrbartender - HR served up in a refreshing frosty mug


    Well, I made it to 100.  If I forgot anyone I should have, I am really sorry, I spent a bunch of time on this, but eventually I just had to post the darn thing.  I hope some folks will add some suggestions in the comments that will boost the list to 200 (or more).

    Please add any names of 'key' folks to follow to the comments, and happy Twittering!