Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


E-mail Steve
This form does not yet contain any fields.
    Listen to internet radio with Steve Boese on Blog Talk Radio

    free counters

    Twitter Feed

    Entries in HR Tech (105)


    The Top Three Reasons HR (or any) Tech Projects Fail

    I am in the final stages of prep for my and Trish McFarlane's SHRM Presentation tomorrow on HR Technology Implementations which means that lately I have spent more time thinking about technology projects these last few weeks than I have in a while.

    And while the presentation tomorrow won't specifically cover the reasons why projects typically fail, the idea of why HR (or any other enterprise technology) projects fail has crossed my mind more than a few times as we have prepped for the session tomorrow.

    So since nothing matters unless it is blogged about, and since I have been thinking a lot about my experiences (successes and failures) with HR and other tech projects, I offer up for your consideration the Top Three reasons that HR tech projects can fail. Again, this is based on my experiences over the years, not on any official research or survey data. But I guess in a way it is a survey of sorts. Just with a smaller sample size, just me. So n = 1. 

    Here goes:

    1. Scope Issues - The project starts out as something simple, even manageable, say a new Applicant Tracking System for the USA offices. But then someone realizes the new technology has new hire onboarding capability and even integrates with third-party content systems to serve up learning content and wouldn't it be great to include these functions in addition to the ATS? And oh, since we are at it, why don't we lump in the Europe and Asia Pacific offices as well? And then suddenly the simple, scope controlled project is now a little out of control. And in my experience expansions of project scope are almost never met with commensurate expansion of things like time, budget, and resources. So projects that were staffed and planned for X become inadequate when the project becomes X + 1  (or 2 or 3).

    2. Internal Resource Availability - This happens all the time. Let's say the project is the implementation of a new Payroll system, but many organizations will not dedicate the Payroll Manager 100% to the project, as she has her 'real' job to do. Sure, the project team has access to the Payroll Manager, but it is never enough, and the Payroll Manager is always getting dragged back into the day-to-day issues of her real job. So the project team has to wait around and waste time trying to figure out what they actually can get done. Pro Tip: find some way to backfill at least 50% of the job duties of important internal resources while the project is being implemented. Find a temp, find another less critical internal resource to step in, whatever. But so much time and money is lost on projects because expensive consultants and integration folks can't get access to the needed internal resources when they need them.

    3. The 'We have to do it this way' guy - This last one is harder to spot initially than items 1 and 2, but is no less destructive. This is the manager or process owner that simply WILL NOT COMPROMISE on his or her pet issues, specifically ones where the new system/process requires some flexibility. I am not talking about mission-critical or must-have bits of functionality, but rather small things like titles, labels, or how a particular process flow works. The 'We have to do it this way' guy uses these issues as kind of a wedge to try and derail the process and project overall. And once this guy starts to get some traction, he will try to recruit others to his cause, and suddenly the project team has to justify their approached and decisions about every last little thing.

    There are lots more ways that projects can run off of the rails, but these three are really the most common ones in my experience. Tomorrow at SHRM Trish and I will talk about these issues as well as a few others - hope to see some of you there!


    HRE Column: On Recruiting and the Technology Transformation

    Here is 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.

    I kind of liked this month's column, (I suppose I like all of them, after all I wrote them), but felt like sharing this one on the blog because it touches upon what has been in the past a pretty popular topic with readers here - the kinds of transformations that organizations can drive via the application of modern HR technologies.

    Here is an excerpt from the column, The Recruiting Technology Transformation:

    Technology continues to fundamentally transform how, where and when work gets done, and the ways that HR leaders can drive improved business performance. In the HR tech world, recruiting technology is helping to drive that transformation and is making the recruiting function perhaps the most transformed of all HR disciplines.

    This phenomenon was on display at a recent event I attended, HireVue’s Digital Disruption in Park City, Utah. At the event, numerous HireVue customers—spanning a wide variety of industries, including banking and finance, airlines, publishing and national retail chains—shared how technology has impacted and, in some cases, radically altered their talent-acquisition efforts.

    Just a few of the examples from the event reveal the potential benefits of adopting modern talent-acquisition technologies for organizations of all types and sizes:

    Educational and general-purpose publishing company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt adopted a three-pronged approach to improving its ability to identify, engage and hire inside sales staff. That approach resulted in increased quality of hire, faster time to fill their open sales roles and improved business results, which were measured in how many new sales-team members were attained.

    By redesigning the process to better identify the candidates most likely to succeed through a combination of a statistically validated online assessment, video interviews that replaced the former recruiter phone screens and consistently applied behavioral-interviewing techniques for the candidates who passed the assessment and video screen, HMH was able to show top-line and bottom-line ROI.

    The general lesson from this story is this: Applying modern tools and technologies to the talent-acquisition process, particularly for revenue-generating roles, provides HR and recruiting leaders with one of the best ways to help drive organizational results. In this example, HR could show how it was a significant contributor to sales and profits, and not just an administrative cost center....

    Read the rest over at HRE Online

    Good stuff, right? Humor me...

    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 wash your car or cut the grass for you if you do sign up for the monthly email.

    Have a great Wednesday!


    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 214 - Catching up with QUEsocial

    HR Happy Hour 214 - Catching up with QUEsocial

    Recorded Wednesday June 3, 2015

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Josh Schwede, EVP, QUEsocial

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the show, recorded live from the HireVue Digital Disruption Conference in Park City, Utah, Steve sat down with Josh Schwede, EVP from QUEsocial, named one of 2014's "Awesome New Startups for HR" at the HR Technology Conference. QUEsocial has created an innovative platform for delivering employer branding and recruiting content to an organization's recruiting team and employees, enabling organizations to ensure branding consistency, increase reach, and to ,monitor and measure results. Josh gave us an update of what has been happening since last year's HR Tech Conference, shared how some QUEsocial customers are leveraging the platform, and also shared his perspective on some of today's HR Tech trends.

    Additionally, Josh and Steve talked some Chicago sports - Blackhawks and Bulls mainly, and how (of course), just about anything you need to know about HR and Talent Management can be learned from sports.

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

    Check Out Business Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Steve Boese Trish McFarlane on BlogTalkRadio


    This was a fun conversation with one of the coolest guys in HR Tech - hope you enjoy the show!

    Remember: You can find and subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes and on all major podcast player apps on Android. Just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to add the show to your podcast subscriptions.


    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 212 - LIVE from Cornerstone Convergence 2015

    HR Happy Hour 212 - LIVE from Cornerstone Convergence 2015

    Recorded Wednesday May 13, 2015

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guests: Denise Domian, SVP Human Resources, Bon-Ton Stores

    Jason Corsello, VP, Corporate Strategy, Cornerstone OnDemand


    This week on the show Steve sat down live at the Cornerstone Convergence 2015 Conference in Los Angeles with Denise Domian, SVP of Human Resources from Bon-Ton Stores, a national chain of department stores with 275 locations and more than 26,000 employees to talk about some of the challenges facing the modern HR leader today, and how Denise and her team at Bon-Ton are leveraging new technologies and strategies to help meet these challenges. Denise shared some great insights on how a deliberate focus on company culture, linking culture to strategic actions, and creating an environment where employees are empowered to connect and collaborate has led to some substantial and positive business outcomes.  You can check out Denise's most recent piece on the Bon-Ton #LOVESTYLE blog here.

    Additionally, Jason Corsello from Cornerstone shared news of some recent and new Cornerstone OnDemand innovations to help enable organizations to gain more insights from their Talent Management data and to make more informed talent decisions based on making better predictions from their data. The next wave of Talent Management technology is all about how to create value and generate positive outcomes from their people data.

    Steve and Denise also commiserated on their shared love of T-accounts and Steve tried to get Denise to validate a Bon-Ton Stores credit he's been holding since 1997.

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

    Check Out Business Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Steve Boese Trish McFarlane on BlogTalkRadio


    And of course you can listen to and subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, or via your favorite podcast app. Just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to download and subscribe to the show and you will never miss a new episode.

    This was a really fun event and a really fun show. Thanks to Denise, Jason, and the team at Cornerstone for hosting the HR Happy Hour Show this week!


    Hating a workplace tech product is pretty common. But do you hate it enough to switch?

    This week I'm out at Cornerstone Convergence, which is talent management techology provider Cornerstone OnDemand's annual customer event. Cornerstone puts on one of the HR Tech industry's best (and most fun) events each year and it is one event I am sure to make time for each year. Aside, ask me about last year's Poison concert at Convergence - it was amazingly fun. 

    One of the data points that always comes up at these kind of events is customer retention rate, i.e., the percentage of customers that upon initial contract expiration, (typically after three years), decide to actually renew their contracts with the technology solution provider. At the Cornerstone event they mentioned a pretty high retention/renewal rate, somewhere north of 90%, (I can't remember the actual number and it doesn't really matter for the purposes of this post anyway).

    And Cornerstone is not the only HR Tech solution provider that is able to boast such lofty customer retention rates, I would guess that every single time I have heard a vendor, any vendor, talk about customer retention rates their numbers are similar - they claim their existing customer renew at a rate of 90% or better.  And since I have neither a reason to doubt any of the individual reports of extremely high customer retention rates, nor the existence of some kind of industry-wide handshake agreement where every vendor reports 90% and higher retention rates, let's assume that in fact this is the case, and that most customers do in fact, renew their software contracts at these levels.

    So what does that mean, or stated differently, why is a 90%+ retention rate important for the HR/Talent leader? I can think of three reasons, (although three will be easier to remember, so let's stick with that number for now).

    1. If you're actually in the market, (or soon will be), for a new ATS, LMS, HRIS, or any other kind of software that ends in an 'S', you'd better choose wisely, since these extremely high retention rates tell us that most likely you will be in a relationship with this new technology for quite some time. Take a little bit longer in your up front process, engage more folks in the technology evaluations, heck, maybe even earmark some more budget for bringing in some outside experts to help you navigate the selection process. Even in the modern age of SaaS technology, most enterprise software decisions tend to stay with us for a long, long time.

    2. We consistently underestimate people's aversion to change, even when presented with better alternatives. It has been estimated that in some applicaitions that a replacement technology has to be demonstrated as providing 9 times more value and utility than the existing solution in order for most folks to be willing to make a change. We don't like changing things as mundane as toothpaste brands or where we order coffee in the morning, and most of your workforce probably doesn't want you to change their workplace tools all that often, even if the 'new' ones are better. It's just too much hassle for the average, busy worker and manager to learn some new learning or recruiting or compensation tool. Said differently, they may not really like the tools they have now, but at least they know how to use them. 

    3. The ability to consistently deliver on promised future product development promises probably needs to be ranked higher on any HR technology software selection criteria your organization uses when evaluating competing technologies. This is the classic 'It's on the roadmap' stuff that you will hear often in the sales cycle or even after you become a customer. One of the most important challenges for providers is to balance the need for new product and feature development with their simultaneous need to support customers, fix bugs, and stabilize existing applications. How the provider can live up to promised future capabilities, particularly ones that are critical for your organization, becomes more and more important the longer the customer/provider relationship lasts.

    So take all that for what you think it's worth, I predict either if you agree or disagree, 90% or you (or more), will be back tomorrow for the next installment of this nonsense....