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    Two HR Technology Solutions - One Theme

    HR Technology has become a deep and richly varied discipline.  It encompasses so many diverse technologies and processes, that trying to keep 'current' is definitely a challenge.

    Last week was a busy one, and I thought it would be interesting to give a quick overview of two of the  technologies and solutions I was discussing and trying to learn more about.

    Collaborative Technology

    Neighborhood America - I had a great call and demonstration of the Community Platform ELAvate from Neighborhood America, a company based in Florida that provides solutions for both external, customer oriented communities, and internal, employer-oriented communities. The market for community platforms is a crowded one, with companies such as Jive, Telligent, Tomoye (my current vendor partner for my next class), and several others.

    The ELAvate solution offers all the features that are becoming 'must-haves' in this market, things like rich user profiles, discussion forums, blogs, content rating and tagging, and many others. Increasingly, organizations are looking to these platform solutions in their quest to improve employee collaboration and communication, and to harness internally some of the energy and momentum that has shifted to popular external networking sites. Where Neighborhood America stands out from their competitors in this space is with their new Reveal module, an idea generation, review, and rating component that allows customers or employees to propose, comment, and vote on ideas. These idea generators are very popular in the consumer space, (Dell and Starbucks are two notable examples), and can be an effective way to harness the creativity and innovation of an organization.

    I was very impressed with Neighborhood America, and want to thank Ron Duquette and Lori Burke for taking the time to show me the platform.



    Avature - I was fortunate to get a demonstration of the Avature Recruiting CRM product from the nice folks there.  The Recruiting CRM product essentially applies classic customer relationship management concepts, (campaigns, sourcing, pipelines, and relationship building) to an organization's candidate population. This solution is a significant departure from traditional applicant tracking systems that are primarily used to create and post job requisitions, and collect specific applications for those positions.  Traditional ATS are often designed with the functional step by step process in the forefront, and not designed around the candidate and building and managing a relationship with said candidate.

    The features that I saw were very impressive, things like mining social networks like LinkedIn, easy import of contacts from various source systems, and multiple candidate communication channels including integrated SMS messaging.  It was immediately clear that the Avature Recruiting CRM can't really be compared to 'traditional' ATS, as the Avature solution mostly enhances and augments the functions of the ATS.  Certainly organizations that find themselves in highly complex, competitive, and high volume recruiting situations would likely be wise to take a look at Avature. Thanks very much to Mike Johnson at Avature for the demonstration and to Susan Byrnes for arranging the introduction.


    While these technology solutions support completely different business processes (employee collaboration versus candidate relationship management), they do possess a common theme.  That is, fostering connections between people for the ultimate benefit of the organization. In the case of Neighborhood America, the platform aims to enhance creativity and innovation by facilitating employees connecting to each other.  For Avature, the goal is to connect prospects and candidates to the organization for mutual benefit. 

    Systems that facilitate connections and relationships, rather than simply automate transactional business processes are, I think, the most interesting developments in HR Technologies, and definitely one that I plan on researching further and incorporating into the HR Technology class.


    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.