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    Tuesday
    Nov182008

    Bring something to the table

    We have all read ad nauseam about how HR needs to 'get a seat at the table', where organizational strategy and plans are discussed and developed. Well, if you want a seat at the table, be sure you bring something to the table.

    Flickr - katesheets

    Something innovative, groundbreaking, difference-making.

    Something they may not have heard or seen before.

    A plan to exploit 'Web 2.0' for improved recruiting or employee collaboration.

    A strategy to assess the current skills and competencies of the current organization, so as to be poised to act when the economy rebounds (and you know it will).

    An effective plan to keep valued staff engaged, even if you are forced to let some of them go. 

    Don't just expect to turn up and be included because of your relative position on the org chart.  No one in that room will get excited if all you have to offer is compliance reporting and maybe a new employee discount at the local dry cleaner.

    Times are tough - be willing to take a chance, make a difference, and earn the seat at the adult table.

     

     

     

    Monday
    Nov172008

    Social networking and HR

    Virgin Atlantic sacks 13 staff members for inappropriate Facebook comments - link.

    Things are just going to keep getting trickier for HR. 

    The Virgin Atlantic staff were probably out of bounds with their activity on Facebook; if there were truly safety and health concerns they should have taken them up with their management.  But the danger in this story getting so much play is the actions that some firms may take in response; bans of Facebook use, increased monitoring of employee internet use, and in general more suspicion of employees and less openness and trust.

    Flickr - Torley - 'I'm going to tell you a secret'

    I would argue that is the very last thing companies should do. Companies should be thinking about the issues in these terms:

    1. Where are my employees congregating and conversing online?  Facebook, Twitter, somewhere else? And what kinds of things are they saying and who else is listening?

    2. Should the company attempt to join or monitor the conversations on these external sites, or create and support an internal social network or collaboration environment? 

    3. When comments or conversations take place among employees that are not exactly flattering to the company, what should the appropriate company reaction be?

    These are difficult question for sure, especially for many HR organizations that may not be that well-versed in these technologies to begin with. For now, I would offer these simple recommendations:

    1. Trust your employees to do the right thiing

    2. Create an environment of openness where employees feel like there are meaningful internal mechanisms for complaints and honest feedback

    3. Make sure that employees understand that you are not trying to control or monitor their private lives

    So much of corporate communications and processes be it marketing, product development, customer support, etc. are gradually and inexorably moving to more 'open' platforms.  It is also inevitable and necessary that communications among employees and between employees and the company will become more 'open' as well.

    The smart company will recognize, understand, and capitalize on this shift.

     

    Friday
    Nov142008

    The right tools

    Flickr - m kasahara

    Today, in two separate meetings I participated in, it was clear the frustration that results from staff not having the right tools and applications that can make their jobs easier and themselves more productive. Whether it is a simple employee directory with all the necessary information to contact, locate, and identify staff; or a robust information sharing and knowledge managment system to improve productivity and access to information, the absence of the right tools is incredibly frustrating.  It is particularly troubling for new staff, who will immediately compare your tools and applications to the ones at their former employer.  On three separate occasions today, someone commented to me that the resources and tools they had at their last place of employment were far superior to what they have now.

    So how do organizations (particularly internal support organizations like IT and HR) get into this predicament? One reason is a complete 'customer' focus.  How can a total customer focus be bad?  When support staff is required to spend 100% of their time and effort only on those projects and tasks that are directly linked to end customer objectives, then no time is spent identifying and deploying those internal tools and applications that the support organizations can leverage to improve their productivity. 

    What to do if you find your organization in this unenviable position?

    I would argue that these organizations should attempt to devote 10% of their time (at least initially) looking inward, and developing solutions to improve their own jobs and processes. Managers should take some time to gain a better understanding of the real workflow and the processes by which tasks are getting accomplished and get some insight as to what kinds of solutions are needed.

    And spend more time talking to these new employees who claim to have had better tools in their last workplace.  They likely have much to offer as to specific technologies and solutions that they have first hand experience with, and that can potentially be deployed in your organization.

    Easy access to information, resources, expertise - these are all critical components for employee success.  Ask yourself, are you making it easy for staff to find the needed information, resources and expertise?

    Or do your staff spend way too much time and energy searching?

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    Friday
    Nov142008

    Links for a Friday

    For a sort of quiet Friday some assorted links to news, companies, or stories that caught my attention this week:

    Halogen Software - The great people at Halogen Software have agreed to support my class this Winter. I encourage you to check them out for Peformance Management, Succession Planning, Compensation and Learning solutions.

    Simplicant - A really bare bones solution for managing resumes and applicants for small organizations

    An upcoming Webinar from CollegeRecruiter.com on using Facebook in recruiting that I plan on attending

    From Mashable - How to monitor a multitude if Blogs in 10 minutes a day

    If you are on Twitter, and like to follow a Tweet stream of news items from your favorite teem, check out SportyTweets

    Looking to embed polls, rating, comments easily into your website or blog - Give JS-Kit a try.

    An older post, but still the best, concise explanation of how Wikis are superior to e-mail for collaboration, courtesy of the Grow Your Wiki blog

    The new Watchmen trailer was released

     

    More to come as the day moves along....

     

     

     

     

    Tuesday
    Nov112008

    HR Technology Class - Version Three

    Version three (or is it Volume Three) of my HR Technology Class at RIT is scheduled to start in about three weeks. Flickr - Charlyn L

    Preparing for the course is still a challenge, as I strive to turn over the material at least 30-40% each time, removing older readings and more dated topics, and adding the latest in technologies and trends.

    Much has changed in the business environment since the last class ended. The banking and insurance industries are in turmoil, world equity markets have dropped precipitously, and more and more organizations announce job reductions it seems like almost every day.

    Companies increasingly want less risk and exposure to traditional, or long-term software licenses. In technology, the trends continue to be towards simpler, more easily deployable solutions, mainly delivered in the SaaS model.  Complementing these technology trends are organizations that suddenly find themselves having less investment monies available for technology projects (or perhaps no funds at all for new initiatives).

    Fortunately for me, in the last class I began to devote more time and emphasis to some of these newer technologies, particularly collaborative technnologies like wikis, Twitter (and this time Yammer), and corporate social networking. I also have hopes to incorporate software from Halogen this quarter, if the details can be worked out in time.

    UPDATE : Had a great conversation with the folks at Halogen today, and we will be using their fantastic Talent Management software this class, Thanks Halogen!

    I think that as the class (and the HR Technology world) evolves, it is essential that the materials also evolve.  Sure, it would be easier for me to just roll out the same exact class each time, but that would be doing the students a disservice, and I would get pretty bored as well.

    What key concepts or technololgies do you think should be included in a graduate course in HR Technology?

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