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    Monday
    Mar232009

    Another Small Business HRIS - Human Services HQ

    After my post on HRIS for the small business ran last week, I thought I might be

    contacted by a vendor or two who I omitted, as the market for these solutions is so crowded.  Sure enough I did receive a few comments, and I wanted to highlight one of the vendors, Human Services HQ.

    Human Services HQ is positioned as an online HR database that provides easy access to your employee records, relieves paperwork headaches, and reduces employee management costs for small businesses. There are three main functions, employee record keeping, tracking of employee training, and document storage for things like manuals, handbooks, and forms.  

    The service is deployed in the SaaS mode, and is priced on a monthly basis ranging from $24/mo for up to 15 employees, to $399/mo for up to 900 employees, but the solution seems to be most applicable to very small organizations, say less than 100 employees. All paid plans include a 30-day free trial.

    Human Services HQ might be a good option for a very small business that wants to stop tracking employee data on spreadsheets or on PC-based databases, and also wants some flexibility to store important HR documents in the same tool.

    Thanks to Human Services HQ for reaching out and making me aware of your solution.

    Saturday
    Mar212009

    When 'free' can be very expensive

    You are a mid to large size company.  You bought and deployed a big ERP solution for your HRMS, Payroll, maybe your Accounting and Procurement as well. Flickr - JeffChristiansen

    It was crazy expensive, likely took longer and cost way more to implement than you figured, and you ended up making lots more customizations than you had planned for (despite the initial desire for a 'plain vanilla' project).  Aside - you know your Project Manager used that expression at least 10 times in the beginning.

    You finally have the ERP running relatively smoothly, to the point where it's time for other long put off projects to get considered.  More 'strategic', high value-add type projects. Things like a new Applicant Tracking System, an automated Performance Management tool, or perhaps Succession Planning.

    But in these tough economic times, do you even have any funds for new software?

    After all, you are locked in to some hefty annual maintenance/support fees for the big ERP system. But wait, the ERP system can support all these 'strategic' processes. And five years ago, when you hammered out the ERP license contract, you made sure that you would have the right to use all those modules at any time in the future at no additional cost.

    It's a no-brainer then, right?  You will simply use whatever functionality that is inherent in the ERP package for your new ATS or Performance Management solution. It is already paid for, it integrates with the rest of the system, and you have functional and technical staff who know the technology.  Slam-dunk.

    But wait a second, five years ago when you did your due diligence in the ERP purchase process, did the modules for ATS, Performance, or Succession even factor in to the discussion?  Did you even consider them at all? If you approached ERP selection like most organizations, you spent 95% of your energy on things like integration, technology, and 'core' business processes.  These are all important, and it was altogether fitting and proper that they were the priority. 

    But now, when you are ready to deploy some of these 'strategic' modules, are you realizing that while your ERP package supports them, they are difficult to use, don't offer most of the latest advances in the technology, and are not well-received by your end users?  ERP packages are developed and sold from the 'inside-out'.  The tight integration, the unified database, the ability to leverage tools like workflow and security management across a wide swath of the enterprise is what 'sells' ERP.

    No one, I mean no one, ever bought an ERP solution for the wonderful E-recruitment capability, or for the fantastic Performance Management module. 

    It is a concept that has been repeated for 20 years, it is almost a cliche, but it usually bears true. The big ERP packages simply cannot be as good at all the ancillary strategic capabilities as the best-of-breed vendors.

    And when you implement ERP-based, sub-standard capabilities for ATS, Performance, or Succession, areas that impact a much, much wider audience than your core HRMS, you had best be prepared to justify and support that decision. 

    When the candidates, hiring managers, line managers, and executives start complaining and griping about the solutions that you have implemented, and adoption rates are slower than you would have liked,  is your primary response going to be, 'Hey it was free'?

    'Free' can be very expensive.  Implementing software just because you have already paid for it can be a very costly mistake in the long run.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Thursday
    Mar192009

    Happy 100!

    So I've hit the 100 post mark on the blog since I moved it over to Squarespace and figured a 'retrospective' post was in order.

    Flickr - Chocolate Geek

    Quite a few times in the short life of this little blog, a post that I spent many hours researching and writing and was really proud of fell completely flat, got very few hits and 0 comments.  Conversely, a few posts that I was not particularly proud of, garnered (relatively) high traffic and lively comments.

    And once in a while, a post that I knew would be popular turned out to be just that, and for a minute or two I let myself think I was starting to figure this whole blogging thing out.

    So, in keeping with a good 'retrospective', here are the most popular posts out of the first 100:

    Your First 100 HR Twitter Follows - my list of 100 interesting, informative, and fun HR-related folks on Twitter

    An Introduction to Twitter for the HR Student - my first attempt at the HR Twitter 'list'

    Empty your cup - this was a recent post about my approach to teaching, and was helped greatly by being my 'featured' post for my short stay in the Fistful of Talent March Madness blog contest.

    And here are the posts that I personally liked the most, but for one reason or another (probably because they were not about Twitter) did not rise up in popularity

    Your HR Director should Blog - My fruitless attempts to find 'public' corporate blogs written by Directors or VP's of HR

    Technology and the University - thoughts on what the future of college teaching/learning may be - more open, collaborative, and fluid

    Cast of Characters - a post on differentiating yourself in the workplace.  This is probably my all-time favorite post because I used one of my son's drawings to help illustrate the point. It was also the post I submitted the first time I was included in a Carnival of HR collection.

    Finally, I want to say thanks to everyone who has stopped by to read, comment, re-tweet, and otherwise help and support me and this blog.  I have learned much, met dozens of fantastic people, and have really enjoyed working on this little project.

    I am not sure what direction I am going to take for the next 100 posts, but I hope that whatever happens, I am providing value to the HR community and to my past, current, and future students.

    Cheers!

     

    Wednesday
    Mar182009

    A Carnival of Productivity

    The latest version of the wildly popular and informative Carnival of HR has been posted at the i4CP Productivity Blog.

    This edition of the Carnival, as befitting its host, has a 'Productivity' theme. As usual a wide range of Flickr - Wisconsin Historical Societyfantastic posts from across the HR Blogosphere are represented, and I am honored to have one of my posts included.

    Thanks to Erik Samdahl for putting together a great list, and many thanks for including my little story about Yammer.

    Enjoy the Carnival.

     

    Wednesday
    Mar182009

    MBTI and ROI and E2.0

    I saw a presentation yesterday on Change Management and the impact of people's Meyers-Briggs (MBTI) classifications on accepting change and was struck by one slide that attempted to explain the differences in outlook between the 'Sensing' and 'Intuiting' dimensions.Flickr - trussmonkey

    The slide indicated that 'Sensing' folks prefer to trust and rely on 'real' or verifiable data.  'Intuiters' on the other hand prefer to focus on connections and meaning, and trust and rely on insights and explanatory patterns.

    It seems to me that most of the so-called Enterprise 2.0 technologies like social networks, blogs, wikis, etc.  rely on the 'Intuiting' benefits. Things like seeing value in connections, trying to interpret the patterns, and focusing on connections seem to me to be foundation of E2.0 evangelism.

    But the folks that control the budget, allocate resources, and otherwise tend to demand 'real' numbers and detailed ROI calculations for these projects are typically squarely on the 'Sensing' side of things.  They rely on verifiable data, fact and figures, and proof of value.

    I wonder if this contrast and conflict between the 'Sensers' that control all the $$ and resources and the 'Intuiters' that are usually the most passionate advocates for E2.0 is behind the difficulty that many would-be implementers of E2.0 solutions have in 'selling' these tools in the enterprise.

    So what do the MBTI theorists offer to help 'Intuiters' deal with 'Sensers'?

    1. Present the pitch or arguments for E2.0 in precise, step by step manner - this FASTForward blog post has links to several success stories that you can use a a resource for your plans. Another great resource is the 'Groundswell' book by Bernoff and Li.

    2. Be as detailed and descriptive as possible as to the 'real' benefits that will accrue to the organization - this blueprint has some suggestions

    3. Present the proposed implementation plan, the milestones, resources needed, and overall implementation approach. A great article on this is here.

    4. Clearly state the metrics that help define success, why these metrics were chosen, and how you will measure and report them - some examples from the Social Organization blog - here

    Remember, the 'Sensers' want the practical details, they want the hard data. 

    If you walk into that room as an 'Intuiter' and try to sell an abstract 'collaboration nirvana', you probably have already lost your argument.

    What other ways have you seen E2.0 projects get pitched to skeptical management?