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    Steve's First HR Technology Interview - Beth Carvin


    For my next HR Technology class, I thought arranging and recording some interviews with leaders and experts in the HR Technology space would be an excellent addition to the course content, and give the class a chance to learn directly from the source, which is always a great opportunity.

    My first guest and interviewee is Beth N Carvin.  Beth is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Nobscot Corporation, the pioneer in exit interview management software, was founded in April 2000. Nobscot released it's flagship product, WebExit, in January of 2001. In December of that year, WebExit was crowned one of the Top 10 HR Products of the Year by HR Executive Magazine.  Nobscot also markets Mentor Scout, an application to help support company mentoring programs, and Mentor Scout Talent Networking Edition, a platform for internal corporate social networking.

    Beth has over twenty years of experience in business management, strategy, human resources, sales and marketing. Ms. Carvin was previously an HR and Business Development Officer with BancWest Corporation and the managing partner of Excel Employment. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

    Recently, Beth has delivered a number of talks and webcasts on the subject of 'What Every HR Professional Needs to Know About Social Networking', and is recognized as a thought leader on the subject of both external and internal social networking and the implications and issues to the HR Professional.

    Beth and I discussed Social Networking in the organization, and talked on a wide range of issues, from policy, to whether organizations should 'block' access to these sites, and if today's employee has a right to expect access and the ability to use social networking in the workplace.

    The interview can be heard here:

    This interview, done on April 30, 2009 and future interviews can also be found on my Blog Talk Radio page.

    It was a fantastic discussion, and I want to thank Beth for taking the time to share her insights on the subject, and I am sure my upcoming class will enjoy her perspectives.

    Thanks again Beth!


    Carnival Time - Minion Style

    One of the very coolest HR Bloggers in the world, the HR Minion, is your host of the latest Carnival of HR at her HR Minion blog.

    The Minion is uber-awesome and she did a great job of assembling this edition of the Carnival, with some fantastic offerings from HR Bartender, Lisa RosendahlJon Ingham and more.

    Even my little 'ol HR Technology blog is included, for which I say Thanks to the Minion.

    Check out the Carnival for some great reads from some great bloggers.





    The HR Blog Exchange


    Many bloggers from time to time find themselves 'stuck', or lacking a source of inspiration for their blog, and get into a bit of a slump creating new content.

    It happens to me quite often.

    Most blogs have a particular angle, or Point of View, and sometimes after dozens or even hundreds of posts on your topic of choice you can easily find yourself at a loss for what to write next.  Hasn't it already been written, maybe even by you already?

    Sometimes taking a fresh approach, examining a new subject, or mixing up your writing style a bit can help give you a shot of creativity and inspiration.

    So in this spirit a few fellow HR Bloggers have decided to participate in a little 'blog exchange', a simple idea where two bloggers are paired up with each other, and each submits a 'guest post' to their Flickr - JasonDGreatpartner's blog, hopefully done in more of less the style and using the 'normal' subject matter of the host blog.

    So each blogger gets a chance to stretch a bit, potentially writing about something new, and perhaps altering their style a bit, and hopefully most of all having some fun.

    Getting to the point then, here are the bloggers that have agreed to participate in the blog exchange:

    The Participants

    Steve Boese - Steve Boese's HR Technology Blog - Twitter user name - sbjet

    Lisa Rosendahl - HR Thoughts - Twitter user name - lisarosendahl

    The HR Maven - HR Maven - Twitter user name - thehrmaven (The Maven really knows how to brand)

    Trish McFarlane - hr ringleader's blog - Twitter user name - Trish_HR

    designtwit -Fusion Frames- Twitter user name designtwit

    Steve Urquhart  - Talent for the 21st Century - Twitter user name workforce101 and Talent421

    Beth Carvin - Nobscot's Weblog - Twitter user name bncarvin

    ImJustAGoyle - ImJustAGoyle - Twitter user name imjustagoyle

    Margaret Murphy - MYFUTURE MYSELF - Twitter user name murphymargaret

    Lois Melbourne - Aquire Blog - Twitter user name loismelbourne

    The Pairings

    Since the original thought was from one of my Tweets (lucky me), I was nominated to choose the pairings, so here goes:

    HR Thoughts - Talent for the 21st Century

    HR Maven - Nobscot's Weblog

    Steve's Tech Blog - Fusion Frames

    imjustagoyle- MYFUTURE MYSELF

    Aquire Blog- the hr ringleader's blog

    There were also a couple of folks who expressed interest in 'playing' but are not currently blogging, but would be interested in guest posting.

    Ben Eubanks - Twitter user name beneubanks

    I have a standing offer open to Ben to guest post on my blog, and I encourage other bloggers to consider opening up some 'guest' slots for new HR professionals and students.

    For the actual writing and publishing of the posts, here are a few steps that I think make sense, feel free to ignore these completely if you disagree:

    1. The 'pair' should contact each other via e-mail or Twitter DM to go over how they want the process to go and review any specific details that they care to discuss (length of post, timing, etc.)

    2. Each blogger should spend some time reading their 'hosts' blog, looking at the content and style etc.

    3. An agreement should be made for a target date to publish the guest posts

    4. I think the 'pair' should try to publish on the same day, I think for the best impact and exposure that makes sense.

    5. Once the posts are published, make sure to announce them on Twitter and use the hashtag #blogexchange in the Tweets, and the other participants in the #blogexchange should RT for further exposure.

    I think that is it.  I am not 'in-charge' of this little project, I just agreed to help organize.  I don't plan on badgering anyone if the guest posts don't get done quickly. It is up to each blogger to make sure that the guest posts get written and published in a timely fashion.

    Thanks everyone who agreed to participate, and let's have some fun!



    Kindergarten Information Systems

    information systems
    Originally uploaded by striatic

    I came across this awesome photo of a classic Kindergarten bulletin board on Flickr the other day and I had to write about it.

    This type of board, which exists in thousands of elementary school classrooms all over the world, really is a great example of an information portal. Key information that is relevant and important to the 'users' is readily available, easily understood, is presented in a very visually appealing manner, and is very accessible.

    Frankly, it jumps right out at you as soon as you walk in the door.

    Schedules, news, events, important facts, and some required learning objects all right there. And there is usually an element if 'user creation' in this content, as kids often update the board with things like the day's weather conditions or perhaps adding vocabulary words to the 'letter or the day'. They may even put their names up to volunteer for activities and events.

    So let's get this straight - updated, meaningful content, presented in an attractive, user-friendly manner, with elements of user-created content?

    Sounds like most kindergarten classes have a better information portal than many corporate organizations.

    I guess the old line about 'All I needed to know I learned in Kindergarten' may have some truth to it after all.


    HR Technology for the Small Business - Performance Management

    This latest installment of the 'Small Business' series focuses on tools to support Employee Performance Management.  Many small organizations that I talk to, say up to about 100 employees have no formal processes in place for employee performance management. Or if they do, they use simple Microsoft Word-based forms, that the manager fills out once per year and are then tucked away in an file in the HR department for posterity, and to gather dust.Flickr - James Callan

    Just like for Core HRIS, there are scores of competitors and solutions in this space, and sifting through the options can seem like an impossible task for the HR professional, who in a small business, is likely responsible for many, many other things besides Performance Management and HR Technology.

    With that in mind, I will only review a few of the options, this list is by no means exhaustive, or even authoritative, just a starting point for the small business who wants to get started with performance management automation.

    I will highlight only solutions that are vendor hosted, and delivered on a SaaS subscription basis.  Most small organizations that I know do not want to get involved with installing and maintaining this kind of software on their own.  The solutions that might be a fit fall into two main categories, 'big' vendors that also offer a scaled-down version of their performance management application for small business, and 'small' vendors that cater almost exclusively to the small business market.

    Big Vendors

    SuccessFactors - SuccessFactors is one of the best known vendors of Performance Management solutions. They have been one of the leaders in Talent Management software for several years, and have introduced many innovations such as integration with Google Docs and Chat and the ability to perform 'Stack Ranking', a comparative rating of multiple employees against competencies, (although these features are not included in the small business offering). SuccessFactors offers its solution in different 'editions', ranging from 'Mega' for customers with over 20,000 employees, all the way down to a bare-bones 'Individual Manager' edition that allows a manager to enter performance reviews for up to 25 employees.  For a small business up to 100 employees, the 'Professional' edition is offered.  The solution supports all the expected functionality, goal management, performance reviews, and 360 feedback.  SuccessFactors has long been a leader in this space, and would almost certainly need to be included in a serious review of Performance Management solutions.

    Taleo - Taleo is more well-known, and justifiably so, as the leading vendor of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) for the enterprise market.  Recently, they have expanded the depth and breadth of their offerings to include more Talent Management applications, including Employee Performance Management. For the small business market, Taleo offers its 'Business Edition' that encompasses both performance management capability and recruiting support.  Specifically for performance management, the solution supports goal management, competency definition and rating, and the appraisal itself. The employee profile functionality is also strong and highly configurable. The primary strength of the solution is the tight integration with the Recruiting module, so Taleo Business Edition for performance would probably be a strong choice if your organization was also considering using Taleo for a recruiting solution.  As a 'stand-alone' solution it is competitive, but not particularly ground-breaking.

    Halogen - Halogen Software offers its suite of Talent Management solutions in the same package to all its customers, regardless of their size. This is a strength, as it allows even the very small organization to take advantage of all the advanced features and new development in the application just like the giant 'enterprise' customer.  Halogen's Performance Management application, known as eAppraisal offers advanced functionality including goal setting, cascading goals, an included (but expandable) competency library, multi-rater feedback, and analytics. Halogen does have customers with less that 100 employees, but typically serves larger accounts.  Their solution would be a good choice for a smaller company that wants to take advantage of 'big company' features right out of the box, and with the assurance that new development and new features that are included will be available to them as well as the large customers.

    Small Vendors

    Appraisal Smart - Appraisal Smart offers online performance management tools that can be installed on the client's servers, or hosted and delivered in the SaaS model.  The tool has a wide range of functions, from scheduled, interval based performance appraisal, ad-hoc appraisal capability, multi-rater feedback, and integrated competency library, and both spelling and legal checking.  Pricing is not published on the site, but consists of two components, a one-time setup fee, and an annual subscription fee that varies based on number of users.  Appraisal Smart claims to be an affordable solution for organizations as small as 20 employees. A free 7 day trial is available that may be just enough time for a small organization to check out Appraisal Smart to see if the solution is right for them.

    ReviewSnap - ReviewSnap offers a simple, easy to use tool for online Performance Reviews and 360 Feedback.  It supports goal management, self appraisals, a seeded competency library, and more.  The solution comes with pre-defined performance review templates, or the customer can create totally custom performance forms.  Pricing is published on their site and varies based on the number of employees to be evaluated, for example companies with 51 to 100 employees is $899 annually.  The license does allow unlimited reviews for the same cost, and includes both the Performance Appraisal and 360 Feedback functionality. A free 21 -day trial is offered as well, which provides a great opportunity for the small organization of department to try out the product before committing any resources.

    HRN Management Group - Performance Pro.  The Performance Pro application is an online Performance Management tool that similar to the other vendors in this space support all the expected functionalities like goal management, self assessment, multi-rater feedback, and ongoing performance events or journals.  The solution also includes manager's 'Comment Coaching', a tool to assist managers in crafting meaningful and detailed feedback.  This functionality is common in the 'higher end' solutions, but not always included in solutions aimed chiefly at the small organization.  Pricing is published on the site and as is common in this space, includes a one-time set up fee, and a variable cost based on the number of employees to be reviewed.  Example list pricing for 50 employees priced out at $2,075.  HRN also offers training in the use of Performance Pro for a nominal fee.

    This was just a quick overview of some of the options for the small business for Performance Management. There are probably 50-100 potential solutions on the market, and the right fit for your business based on requirements, budget, size, and internal capability is something only you can determine.

    If any of the included vendors has clarifications or comments, please feel free to add them below.  And if any vendor who was not included cares to leave some information about your solution, you are encouraged.