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    The Sacred Cow and HR Technology

    The single most influential book I read in college was from my Sociology 101 class.

    The book was 'Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches: The Riddles of Culture' by Marvin Harris.


    From the summary on Amazon:

    This book challenges those who argue that we can change the world by changing the way people think. Harris shows that no matter how bizarre a people's behavior may seem, it always stems from concrete social and economic conditions.

    The most memorable passage, I recall, was the observation that if a starving Hindu farmer relented, and slaughtered the family cow, that while he would temporarily improve his family's hunger and other conditions, he would almost be certainly sealing his doom, since the cow (when alive) provided so much more than a few cuts of beef (most importantly the potential to breed and produce another cow).

    Over time, the sacred cow metaphor has come to stand for unquestioning adherence to an organization or ideology or process.  Something that is so entrenched in mindset, that it sort of perpetuates on and on, whether or not it still makes sense or adds value.

     How does the sacred cow analogy tie back to HR and in particular HR Technology? 

    Well, do you post every one of your job ads in the exact same manner and on the exact same job sites?

    Do you continue to have employees provide feedback and questions on HR programs to a single 'general' e-mail address, viewable by only internal HR staff?

    When pursuing technology projects to increase automation and improve efficiency, are you really just taking a old, long paper form and 'webifying' it?

    These are some of the most challenging economic times in memory, can you afford to cling to your own Sacred Cows, or do you need to think about and explore opportunities for improvement.

    I am running an experiment right now, designed to help show how changing things up from the standard is a good and necessary idea - this is a link to one of our open engineering jobs, the job has been open for a while, and for whatever reason we can't get it filled.  Take a look, pass it along, lets see if 'advertising' the opening in non-traditional ways leads to a better result than the same old methods we have been using forever - Engineering Job.







    Technology and Recruiting in 2 hours

    I have been thinking about what should be the main points to emphasize for a class module on the impact and effect of technology on corporate recruiting. 

    Flickr - Thewmatt

    Do the 'old-school' jobs sites like Monster and Careerbuilder still really matter?  This week I listened to Penelope Trunk from Brazen Careerist state the Gen 'Y' candidate/prospect will never get interested in your job from a Monster job posting.  So how to attract those candidates?

    So is it really all about mining LinkedIn for passive candidates and setting up shop in Facebook and maybe placing a few well-connected tweets on TwitHire?  I think I have heard the 'Ernst & Young Facebook page' story about a dozen times now, is that really the only good example of effective corporate recruiting on Facebook there is?

    And from the internal processing perspective, is Taleo still to be considered the market leader, considering all the bad news lately? Do the other Talent Management vendors have any chance of growing in the Recruting space?  Is it worth spending class time on the some of the newer solutions like JobVite or VoiceScreener?

    If you had two hours or so to enlighten a (mostly) captive audience on the impact, current state, and trends in technology for recruiting what would you focus on?


    Aside - thanks Alltop for adding me to HR.alltop.com!






    I'm a stranger here myself

    I am knee deep in prep for my HR Technology Class, version three and it really is remarkable to me how much I have learned and how much the course has changed in just a relatively short time.

    In the beginning, I only had a passing knowledge of many of the tools and technologies that I now spend large portions of the class discussing.

    I had never taught a undergrad or grad course before.

    I had no vendor partners at all, (thanks again for the assistance this time Halogen Software).

    Quite frankly I was just glad to have something to say for a couple of hours and tried to avoid looking like a complete idiot.  It did not help that the class was over-subscribed and located in a way too-small computer lab.  By the third hour, the temperature in the room had to have been about 80F and it was not a pleasant experience.

    Tomorrow night I start version three, and the class is light years better than the first version.  Once in a while I run into a student from that first class, and I swear I really want to apologize.

    This time I (mostly) know what I am doing, I know what to expect, and I have lined up a great set of tools and technologies to discuss and demonstrate.

    I am really excited to be starting off a new session and I welcome any former and current students to give some recommendations and feedback here.



    An HR Technology Sampler

    As I am getting my materials in order for Week 1 of my HR Technology class, I thought I would attempt to compile a list of all the different tools/technologies that will either bt discussed, demonstrated, and in some cases used by the students.  Let's see how many I have come up with so far:

    ERP - Oracle, PeopleSoft

    Time and Attendance - Kronos

    Self-service - not sure yet, maybe iEmployee

    Talent Management - Halogen Software

    Recruiting - All the obvious, but for the sake of this list, Monster, Dice, LinkedIn, HigherEdJobs, Jobvite, SmartRecruiters, visualCV

    SaaS - Zoho, Workday

    Collaboration - Wikis, blogs, Idea marketplace, Second Life, RSS

    Communication - Twitter, Yammer, SurveyMonkey, CoverItLive

    This is just off the top of mind, and after thinking about it, it does seem like a tremendous amount of different technologies and concepts to try and cover in 10 weeks.

    What should I emphasize, what can or should be downplayed?

    What are the most important technology concepts and lessons to be learned for today's HR leaders?




    The Net Generation in Class

    Been spending some time this week reading the fantastic, 'grown up digitial' by Don Tapscott.

    It really is a great book and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in understanding how Generation Y, or the Millennials, or the Net Generation, or whatever you would like to call the group born between 1979 and 1997 will forever change education delivery, workforce management, social networking, and collaboration.

    To me the key points I have taken from the book center around the ways that Gen Y students generally prefer to be 'taught'.  The classic mode of delivery with the teacher in front of the class expounding his or her words of wisdom which the students dutifully transcribe and hopefully successfully regurgiate later on for the exam. This method is tired, old, and frankly boring for everyone.

    Gen Y students want to to give their opinions, insights, and help to co-design the curriculum and content.  They are much more comfortable in a collaborative environment, and will gladly assist and help each other in their efforts.  They have the tools to explore and inject concepts and content from everywhere.

    A key takeaway for me as the insructor is to stop talking so much, start listening and start asking more questions. 

    In class I introduce a number of technologies like Performance Management, Succession Planning, wikis, blogs, and microblogs.  But rather on 'telling' the students what they are used for, perhaps I need to spend more time having the students tell me what these tools can be used for.

    I think, then we will both learn more, and be better for the experience.