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    Where is my choir?

    Since I have been researching and teaching my HR Technology class I have tested a really large number of web services, software programs and concepts in my preparation for class. 

    Certainly many are the most obvious types of products that would have direct application to the study of HR Technology, vendors  like SuccessFactors, Halogen, Taleo, and SpectrumHR come to mind. 

    But I found that as the class content started to evolve and mature I introduced Twitter, Second Life, Socialtext, PbWiki and SelectMinds.

    And I have even spent time on the 'utility' type Web 2.0 services, while not really designed for HR applications, could certainly support many HR initiatives.  Some of my favorites are Zoho, Box, Meebo, FlickR,and Slideshare.

    And like any good worker, I have tried to educate our internal HR folks and other colleagues on some of these tools and services.  And while I fully understand that we are knee-deep in the muck of a train wreck of an Oracle R12 upgrade (a whole other story for a different post), I have been really disappointed in the general lack of interest in exploring quite frankly any of these tools in our own organization.

    The couple of folks I could convince to get on Twitter are sure it is a goof.  Two different attempts at kick-starting some internal wiki development are stalled (I still post to it, I am stubborn), and you would have thought I committed a crime when I told an internal training class that the presentation was on SlideShare and I would gladly give them the link.

    (Here they are by the way - I know they are ugly have not had time to make them over)

    Irc Training Slides
    View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: irecruitment recruitment)

    I know, people are busy, don't bother them with superfluous garbage like Twitter and Yammer.  Leave Facebook for the Admissions department.  I wonder if this organization will ever be ready to embrace the new Web 2.0 world.

    And I also wonder how long it makes sense to keep preaching, when there seems to be no choir?


    Is the job candidate too hip for you?

    A few weeks ago I was doing a training session for a hiring search commiitee on our online Applicant Tracking System . It was a routine session, one I have done 20 times before, the standard stuff - here's how you log in, here's how you find your candidates, here's how you review their resumes.  It was routine right up to the point when I clicked on the link to the first candidate's resume and we were all presented with something like this:

    It was a resume, or CV, built using the VisualCV service. Visual CV describes their service as "A better resume, online. Include video, pictures and a portfolio of your best work samples. Securely share different versions with employers, colleagues and friends, and control who sees what."

    It is also free for candidates to use, which is nice. 

    But the ability for the candidate to effectively create a 'applicant website' using Visual CV is very powerful.  Add videos showing your skills or demonstrating a product you have developed.  Add slideshows showing off your designs and ideas. Include audio clips of clients attesting to your wonderfulness. Link to your blog that contains evidence of your thought leadership and expertise.

    Back to my training session. 

    The thing I immediately noticed was that the hiring committee had no idea what they were looking at.  I had to stop the training to explain and practically demo Visual CV for them, and explain how a candidate who would create a Visual CV is certainly one comfortable with new technology and was on the cutting edge so to speak. I even advocated giving this candidate extra points for creativity and vision.

    The moral of the story?

    More and more of your candidates will be using services like Visual CV, giving you their blog address, and their LinkedIn or Facebook profiles to use in your evaluation process.  Don't stay hung up on the old classic 'paper resume in Word format' paradigm.

    Your candidates are moving forward, your hiring thought processes need to move forward as well.



    A 1997 Ford Taurus

    Ah 1997, Elton John's Candle in the Wind was on the charts, PDiddy was still Puff Daddy, and one of America's top selling cars was the Ford Taurus.  Maybe you bought one, or more likely had one as a rental car. I swear I drove a Ford Taurus something like 72 weeks in a row when I was consulting. 

    Stylin' in the Taurus

    She's a beauty, no?

    You know what else you might have purchased in 1997?  Your ERP system. The same one that still runs your HR, Payroll, Accounting and Distribution processes.  In 1997, about $14B was spent by organizations on ERP.  By now you would have had to go through two or maybe even three significant upgrades, each one getting progressively more complex, costly, and lengthy.  But underneath it all, the chances are the 'core' of the system is still largely the same as the 1997 model.

    What about your business? How many things have changed since 1997?  Would you still make the same ERP purchase decision today that you did in 1997, when chances are you were in a panic over Y2K and you were pretty sure your Cobol mainframe system was going to spontaneously combust.

    Is it really time for your organization to begin to let go of the loyalty to a system you bought in 1997? 

    Many organizations still feel the need to only look to their ERP solution and try to add-on HR Talent Management functionality, rather than do a comprehensive assessment of the market, the business issues, and make an informed decision about technology. 

    You eventually sold (or junked) that '97 Taurus, didn't you?




    If you don't like Twitter, what about Yammer?

    Just launched this week, Yammer.  What the heck is Yammer?  Well, think if it as a semi-private version of Twitter. Yammer has all the features of Twitter (mini-blog type updates, choosing what users to follow, integration with SMS and IM), but with one major difference.  'Tweets' are generally viewable by any Twitter user. Any one can follow you on Twitter.  Making your Tweets private is possible, but most users don't bother. 

    Yammer creates mini-networks of users sharing the same e-mail domain. That is only users with authenticated @acme.com email addresses can follow and see the updates of other folks from the Acme Company.  So it effectively becomes a mini-Twitter just for the people in your company.

    Yammer has a couple of other features currently missing in Twitter, an easy way to view threaded discussions and the ability to 'follow' a hashtag or topic instead of a user.  Yammer also offers companies the ability for more robust administration capabilities for a fee of $1 user/month.

    Many people I have talked to never could grasp the value of Twitter in the enterprise, (too many 'I just woke up and I'm tired' posts) may see more meaning in Yammer, where at least you know that all the traffic is from your own organization.

    A couple of quick ideas as to how an HR department could use Yammer:

    • An HR receptionist could Yammer questions to the entire HR staff with quick queries to help handle phone calls and walk-ins more rapidly
    • A recruiter could send a link to a revised job description for feedback before an advert is placed
    • HR service staff could update in/out times to make sure there is adequate coverage for special circumstances and events.
    • Floating a new company benefit idea, 'We are considering offering Pet Insurance this year.  Who would be interested in that?'

    What other uses of Yammer can you think of?



    Talent Management and Google

    This announcement from August got by me, but I think it is interesting and worth noting.  SuccessFactors markets a suite of Talent Management applications ranging from Performance Management, to Compensation Management, to Employee Development.  They announced a new integration with Google Talk to enable real-time chat via the Google platform as well as Google Calendar to leverage a centralized scheduler as well as Google docs and Google Maps. See a screen print below of a Google Chat dialog embedded in a SuccessFactors dashboard.

    The interesting thing to me is how a mainstream, entrenched Talent Management platform is opening up to the Google platform, recognizing that many employees are either already using these Google services, or that organizations are starting to encourage the blurring of the internal vs. cloud services.

    Another benefit of a platform like SuccessFactors opening up to Google, is the relative ease embedding these Google services in other applications like wikis and blogs.  So a workgroup or organization could set up a shared Google calendar once, and leverage the same calendar in their talent system (SuccessFactors), their internal wiki and perhaps their blogs or other web sites. 

    I love to use wiki technology (especially PbWiki) for this ability, and I think it is likely that more and more internally focused applciations will begin to support this simple interoperabiltiy.