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    Monday
    Jun082009

    I don't care what it says, who else has seen this?

    One of my very first 'mentors' in the corporate world was the CFO of a rather large division of what then was AT&T. Whatever is left of that group today would likely be part of Alcatel-Lucent, although it is really impossible to say what became of the department.

    Back in the day before ubiquitous e-mail, important information was circulated via the old-school written memo.  The memo was usually typed out by an administrative assistant, copied, and finally distributed to two 'lists' of people.  The 'To' list and the 'CC' list. Generally speaking, the folks on these lists would be the only people to see and read the contents of the memo.Flickr - mil.

    Back to my CFO. Whenever a memo of any kind crossed his desk, he immediately glanced at the top of the first page, (where the 'To' list of names was), and then quickly paged to the end of the memo, (where the 'CC' list of names was).

    Once I observed him doing this and asked why he instantly paged to the end of a particular 5 page memo and he replied,

    'I need to know who else has this information, before I read it, and before I even think about making a decision about it'. 

    He really meant it too.  His approach, strategy, and decision making process was heavily influenced by his perception of 'Who else knows this?'.  Back then, information could be controlled, e-mail was not universal, there was no wiki, blog, or Twitter to spread and share information.  To use the old cliche, knowledge was power, and in many cases it was hoarded and exploited for the wrong reasons.

    That all seems like such a long time ago, and I would like to think in the modern organization, supported by almost limitless media and technology to share and transmit information, that the 'Who else has seen this?' question is ridiculous and unimportant.

    But I am not so sure.

    I still think that the 1970's mindset of the closely guarded memo still endures in many organizations. I still sense that information, and access to those who have information is not as free and effortless as many of us would like to believe.

    I hope that my organization, and yours, can get to the place where the answer to 'Who else has seen this?' is typically, 'Everyone'.

    I hope that soon, even asking the question is ridiculous.

    Wednesday
    Jun032009

    HR Happy Hour - Episode 2

    The impromptu HR Happy Hour we did last Friday on Blog Talk Radio was so much fun and has inspired enough interest that we have set up HR Happy Hour - Episode 2, coming to you live at 6:00 PM EDT, on Friday June 5.

    The special guests for Episode 2 are three of the best and coolest HR Bloggers I know:

    Deidre Honner - The HR Maven - A key member of Job Angels, a HUGE hockey fan, and all-around great person

    Shauna Moerke - HR Minion (Shauna was on HR Happy Hour Episode 1, but she is so cool she got invited back for Round 2)

    Lisa Rosendahl - from HR Thoughts - one of the best HR Blogs around, a super-nice person, and notorious early-riser

     

    To listen live to the show, or to access the show archive afterwards, go to Steve Boese on Blog Talk Radio.

    To participate and ask a question of one of our superstar bloggers, call 646-378-1086 once the show starts.

    Thanks is advance to the All-Star panel, and let's have some fun at HR Happy Hour!

    Tuesday
    Jun022009

    A New HR Blog Search Tool

    My friends at Halogen Software have launched a neat tool on their site, an 'HR Blog Search Engine'.

    The tool does a custom Google search of the many if not all of the top HR and HR Technology Blogs for relevant content.  So if you want to know what the HR Bloggers are writing or thinking about on a particular topic, this is a tool worth checking out.

    Just enter your search criteria in the 'Search' box and you are on your way.

    For example a search on 'Leadership' brings the following results from some top HR Blogs like 'Great Leadership' and 'Fistful of Talent'.

     

    And happily for me, a search on 'HR Technology' yields the following list of results:

    Thanks very much to the good people at Halogen for building this neat tool for searching the HR blogosphere, and of course for including my HR Technology blog in the search results so prominently.

    I will definitely make use of the search tool to help find information, insights, and when I find myself thinking, 'I know that the HR Bartender wrote about that, let me find that post again'.

    If you are a blogger, or a fan of an HR Blog that you would like included in the search results, contact pr@halogensoftware.com and let the folks at Halogen know.

    Saturday
    May302009

    HR Happy Hour - With some Special Guests

    So last night Mark Stelzner tweets:

     

    As I tend to agree with the sentiment in Mark's tweet, I offered this reply:

     

    After a quick convo on Twitter where Mark agreed to call in, and a hasty round of promotion and soliciting other callers, about 25 minutes later we went live on my Blog Talk Radio show, (the one I normally use to record interviews for my HR Technology Class).

    It was a blast!  By my reckoning the following folks were live and participating on the call at one time or another:

    Mark Stelzer, Charee Klimek , Shauna Moerke (you may know her as the HR Minion), Sharlyn Lauby (the HR Bartender), Joyce Chastain, Becky Allen, Michele Wagner, Susan Burns, and Michael Krupa.

    Since the call was not planned, scripted, or rehearsed in any way, the conversation was pretty free-flowing and ventured into many topics: what is happening with JobAngels, an update of the upcoming Social Recruiting Summit in June, and some interesting discussions about employer branding from Charee and a great story from Shauna about 'coming out of the blogging closet'.

    You can listen to the 'Happy Hour' here:

    I really had fun doing this, and if there is interest from the HR community to do more of these, I am certainly happy to organize and host.  Hit me up in the comments, or sent me a Tweet.

    Thanks so much for everyone that called in, and anyone who listened live to the show.

    Thursday
    May282009

    Have an Idea?

    One of the benefits of writing an HR Technology blog is that from time to time I get alerted to new products in the HR Technology space.  Recently I heard about, and had the chance to try out Kindling, an online solution for capturing employee ideas or suggestions, a mechanism for other employees to vote up or down submitted ideas, an approval process for ideas, and finally a way to allow employees to 'volunteer' to work on approved ideas.

    I took Kindling for a quick test drive, assisted by Ben Eubanks from the Upstart HR blog, (thanks Ben for helping out).

    Step 1 - Submit an Idea

    The first step in the process of for an employee to submit an idea. The process is incredibly simple, they enter a title, description, tags, and optionally an attached file to their idea.

    Other employees can also add comments and questions to ideas, so a conversation and dialogue can form around any individual idea.

    Step 2 - Vote on your favorite ideas

    Once some ideas get submitted, each employee is allotted 10 'Votes' to indicate which ideas they like. Votes can be all allocated to one or two ideas, or they can be spread around many ideas. But an employee can only use 10 'votes' at any one time, once an idea is approved or rejected, they can 're-claim' any voted used on those ideas. 

    It is a simple concept really, ideas that receive the most employee votes are popular, and potentially deserve some managerial review for possible implementation.

    Step 3 - Approve ideas

    Once ideas are submitted and voted upon, the system administrator can 'Approve' or 'Reject' the ideas.  Once an idea is approved or rejected the votes for those items are released back to the employees and can be re-used on new ideas.

    Step 4 - Make it happen

    The last step in the Kindling process is for an employee to 'volunteer' to make an idea 'happen'.  This can mean different things to your organization, but essentially the idea is 'assigned' to the volunteer as this point.

    Pricing

    Kindling offers three subscription levels, $49/month for up to 40 users, $99/month for up to 100 users, and an 'Enterprise' level that has negotiated pricing for more that 100 users. All plans offer a 30-day free trial. Some additional features that are offered are e-mail digests of idea related activity, RSS feeds, and simple usage reports. 'Enterprise' users can also map a custom domain and implement custom skins for integration with a corporate look and feel.

    Value Proposition

    Kindling offers a tight set of functionalities in a clean, simple, and easy to use manner. Capturing employee ideas for new products/services, for improvements on existing processes, or for ways to cut costs or improve productivity are all potential uses of an idea platform.  The additional features of employee voting and commenting on ideas helps to foster a sense of inclusion and openness.  Basically, platforms like Kindling provide a modern and enhanced view of the old company 'suggestion box'.  If your organization is interested in trying to more effectively harness the ideas in the workforce, and to give your people more of a voice and a view into decision making, then Kindling may be worth a try.