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    CHART OF THE DAY: Reminding you that China is really, really big

    Regular readers of the blog will remember that I've been fortunate enough to be a part of the first two HR Technology - China Conferences in 2016 and earlier this year. Both times visiting China, learning more about the HR and the HR technology ecosystems there, and meeting some truly engaged HR leaders, I have left more and more impressed and in a way, awed by the size, scale, growth, and innovation of HR and HR tech in that country.

    I look forward to going back in 2018 for sure and in the meantime, I am a member, (the only non-Chinese member I think), of a 30-person strong group chat on WeChat titled 'AI in HR', where HR folks I met in China share information and discuss innovation in HR and HR tech. It is really cook, even if I can only successfully translate about half of it. Get on that, WeChat.

    So I'm a mark for interesting information and additional insight about China and when I saw the below chart/infographic, wanted to share on the blog as a reminder for those of us that sometimes forget, or just never think about, the scale and size (and opportunity), the growth opportunities for businesses of all kinds that China presents.

    So here's the chart, courtesy of Visual Capitalist, then a comment or two from me after the data. Email and RSS subscribers may need to click through to see the chart.

    Pretty amazing, right? That many 'mega-cities' that rival many medium to large countries in terms of the size of their economies.

    A couple of things struck me. One was kind of personal in that the first HR Tech China Conference was held in city called Zhuhai, which, (it seemed to us), was a really large, growing, busy, and important city in Southern China, strategically positioned between Kong Kong and Macau. That city, Zhuhai, does not even crack the Top 30 in terms of economy size in China. Amazing.

    And last, taking a closer look at the map in China, and thinking about these different cities and regions and how they are different, i.e. some still focusing on manufacturing while others are financial centers or hubs for innovative new tech (like AI), reminds me that it is really, really hard to get to 'know' China from just taking a few business trips or attending an event or two. Spending four days in Beijing and thinking you 'get' China would be like taking a long weekend in New York City and concluding that you 'get' America.

    Anyway, file today's post under my philosophy for the blog since 2008 - 'It's interesting to me, so I'm blogging about it'. Your mileage may vary.

    Happy Tuesday.


    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 301 - Re-inventing the Candidate Experience at J&J

    HR Happy Hour 301 - Re-inventing the Candidate Experience

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guest: Sjoerd Gehring, Global Vice President, Talent Acquisition, Johnson & Johnson

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve is joined by Sjoerd Gehring, Global Vice President of Talent Acquisition at Johnson & Johnson, to talk about how J&J has re-invented the candidate experience with a blend of enhanced processes combined with new technology resulting in a modern, consumer-like, responsive, and effective new set of tools and processes that combine to create a new standard in large company candidate experience.

    Sjoerd shared some of the challenges that J&J was facing in talent acquisition, the need to become more responsive to candidates, the need to leverage new and better tools and technologies that meet candidate expectations that rival their consumer and personal technology experiences, that shaped their journey to create and launch J&J's new platform and experience named 'Shine'.

    Shine puts the candidate at the center of the experience - providing increased information, transparency, usability to candidates, as well as driving increased satisfaction from both candidates as well as internal stakeholders. Sjoerd also shared some of the thinking that went behind developing the Shine platform, how and where to prioritize effort and focus, and what some of the early outcomes that have been seen since the new platform was launched.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or by using the widget player below:

    Thanks Sjoerd for sharing information about the J&J journey, and the lessons learned that any company can take direction and inspiration from as they move to modernize and improve their recruiting processes.

    Thanks as always to show sponsor Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com.

    Subscribe to the HR Happy Hour wherever you get your podcasts, just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe and never miss a show.

    Last, please take out HR Happy Hour listener survey.


    Celebrating diversity in the organization

    A few years ago a local (Rochester, NY area), wine shop decided to create a holiday season TV advertisement that featured many (possibly all) of the store's employees instead of actors or models or the owner of the store.

    Cool idea, right? Nothing like a local business sharing some holiday season greetings and good vibes with the added bonus of making their own employees happy and excited as well. I mean, how often has an accounting clerk or a cashier or a maintenance person get the chance to be on TV, and in local cable regular rotation no less?

    The ad, as many locally produced cable TV ads are, was pretty basic, and didn't really have much in the way of production values. It was essentially, a rapid fire series of close-ups of the individual members of the staff who each wished the viewers a 'Happy Holidays' or a 'Merry Christmas' or some such. 

    Employee after employee each getting about two seconds of screen time and sending out their best wishes.

    Pretty neat, right?

    Except the only reason I remember this entirely unremarkable local ad is that every single person, every staff member featured in the ad was a white male or a white female. About 20-odd faces flashed across the screen, each one looking more or less the same as the last. And seeing that many faces, in such a short time, and in the context of a local business wishing a 'Happy Holidays from us to you' kind of way left me thinking only one thing. Or perhaps asking one thing.

    Is the wine store for only white people?

    It was so obvious and clear from watching the ad, that I remember not believing that anyone who had looked at it prior to approving it for TV would have green lighted it to run. It was such a weird and awkward and almost off putting spot. I can't believe I still remember it, but I do. 

    What made me think about that weird, 'White people wine store' ad was this short piece I caught on the PSFK site, about cosmetics retailer Sephora's use of some of its own, real, employees in an upcoming ad campaign.

    Over 1,000 Sephora employees submitted video applications to be included in the new campaign called 'Reach Out and Gift', and from that group, 10 Sephora employees were selected. Have the mental image of the parade of 20-something white faces from the wine shop TV ad I described above when you take a look at this pic of the Sephora employees who were selected for the campaign:

    A pretty diverse, interesting, and for Sephora, representative collection of their team, and a reflection of the customers they serve. This image makes you think that everyone is accepted at Sephora, no one is excluded, and more importantly, that everyone is accepted for who they are. It is amazingly cool.

    You can read more about the Sephora employees that are participating in the campaign here.

    For organizations talking about diversity is certainly important. Creating a culture that values diversity is necessary.

    But truly celebrating diversity like the folks at Sephora are? That has to be to goal that the rest of us should shoot for.

    If I had a need to buy some makeup, I know where I'd be shopping.

    Happy Thursday.


    HRE Column: Wrapping up HR Tech, and Looking Forward to 2018

    Once again, I offer my semi-frequent reminder and pointer for blog readers that I also write a monthly column at Human Resource Executive Online called Inside HR Tech that can be found here.

    This month, I take a look back at the recently concluded HR Technology Conference and review some of the key issues, themes, and the implications for the future of HR Tech that I took away from the world's largest gathering of the HR technology community. In the piece,  take a look at some of the more interesting trends and themes in HR tech that we have been hearing about for some time now, and some newer ideas that have emerged in the last year or so. These issues, challenges, and opportunities will demand continuing focus for HR and business leaders in 2018 and beyond, and I imagine will be a big part of my planning for HR Tech in 2018 as well.

    I was really pleased with the energy, insight, and most of all the amazing group of HR leaders who attended HR Tech a few weeks ago, as well as our first-class lineup of speakers and exhibitors. I can't thank you all enough for making this last HR Tech the best event in our history.

    Moving forward, I am incredibly excited to get started working on HR Tech in 2018, and I will be sharing much of the concepts, ideas, and themes during the year on this blog, in the HRE Inside HR Tech column, as well as the HR Happy Hour Show.

    Having said that, here's a taste of the HRE piece:

    The HR Tech Conference held earlier this month serves almost as an annual report card, health check and starting point where HR technology will head in the next year, from the latest developments in mobile, analytics and cloud technology to a look at some of the technologies that are coming next, including artificial intelligence, augmented reality and even blockchain.

    Reflecting on everything that went on at the conference, here are some thoughts about what HR and HRIT leaders should really have top of mind as 2017 winds down and organizations begin planning for 2018.

    Cloud, Mobile, Analytics: Not "If?" but "When?"

    If you look back over the past few years of HR-technology-trends articles, you'd find that the migration of HR systems to the cloud, adoption and greater rollout of mobile HR solutions, and an increased focus on HR analytics were mentioned in just about every piece. As the 2017 HR Tech Conference clearly demonstrated, all these trends/predictions starting in 2010 or so have been (or are in the process of being) realized in most organizations and by most HR technology providers.

    The potential for increased HR innovations that arise from having a solid foundation of core HR systems is being realized by organizations of all sizes. And that is an important point as well. A quick check of the many cloud-based HR technologies that are specifically targeting and serving small- and mid-market businesses reveals that most innovative HR technologies are available to almost at any scale. And these so-called mid-market solutions have mostly been built from the ground up -- with cloud, mobile and analytics at their core.

    Wellness, Experience, Productivity

    During Josh Bersin's closing keynote at HR Tech, he talked about a couple of key trends that are combining to shape and direct more organizational attention and resources to employee and organizational wellness. The first is the idea of the overwhelmed employee: one who is barraged by a combination of incessant interruptions from email and smartphone notifications and apps, highly complex business systems and processes, and a general increase in working hours which all compound the challenge of achieving work/life balance. One of the strategies that HR leaders and organizations are increasingly adopting (and applying associated technology solutions to support these strategies) is more thoughtful and measurable programs to address and improve employee well-being...

    Read the rest at HR Executive Online...

    If you liked the piece you can sign up over at HRE to get the Inside HR Tech Column emailed to you each month. There is no cost to subscribe, in fact, I may even come over and re-surface your driveway, take your dog for a walk, rake up your leaves, and eat your leftover Halloween candy.

    Have a great day and Happy First Day of November!


    Halloween candy, ranked

    In preparation for the imminent arrival of everyone's favorite Great Pumpkin, your entirely unscientific, unresearched, incomplete, and 100% accurate ranking of Halloween candies:

    I know what you're thinking, a second 'Ranked' post in four days? Sorry, I forgot (kind of), that Halloween was this week. Er, today.

    Also, I am not wading into the 'fun size' vs. 'mini' vs. 'full size' candy bar controversy. We all know the answer to that issue. And finally, since I can't be at this all day, going to limit the list to my Top 20 - if I forgot one of your favorites, let me know in the comments.

    Here goes...

    20. Pixie Stix

    19. Mike & ike

    18. Mounds

    17. Reese's Pieces

    16. Nestle's Crunch

    15. Twix

    14. Twizzlers

    13. Nerds

    12. Sour Patch Kids

    11. Krackle

    10. Skittles

    9. Baby Ruth

    8. M&M's

    7. Snickers

    6. Clark

    5. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

    4. Starburst

    3. Milky Way

    2. KitKat

    1. Butterfinger

    As always, you can disagree with these rankings but of course you would be wrong. 

    Happy Trick of Treating!