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    Entries in HR Tech (75)


    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 181 - Wellness for the Modern Workplace

    HR Happy Hour 181 - Wellness for the Modern Workplace (an update from ShapeUp)

    Recorded Monday, April 21, 2014

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Co-founder and CEO of ShapeUp

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve and Trish talked with Dr. Rajiv Kumar MD, Co-founder and CEO of ShapeUp, an online wellness platform for companies and health plans that leverages the power of a trusted social network to improve the health of large populations.

    ShapeUp is the leading global provider of clinically-proven, social networking-based employee wellness programs that help people exercise more, eat healthier, and lose weight. Founded in 2006 by two medical doctors, ShapeUp has pioneered an innovative approach to behavior change that leverages the power of social networking, gaming, coaching, and financial rewards to improve the health of large populations and reduce healthcare costs. ShapeUp's social wellness platform covers two million lives across 128 countries and is used by more than 200 employers and health plans.

    On the show, Dr. Kumar shared an update on the state of wellness and corporate wellness programs today as well as ShapeUp's approach and vision of wellness as a very social activity at its core. Additionally, we talked about the role of technology in the support of corporate and individual wellness goals. Mobile, gamification, wearables, and social concepts have transformed both the activities and the design of wellness programs in the last few years.

    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 on BlogTalkRadio


    Additionally, you can subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, or for Android device users, from a free app called Stitcher Radio. In both cases just search for 'HR Happy Hour' and add the show to your podcast subscription list. 

    This was a fun and interesting show, and I hope you check it out. Many thanks to Rajiv and everyone at ShapeUp for joining us this week.


    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 180 - Putting People First

    HR Happy Hour 180 - 'Putting People First' (Live from Ultimate Connections 2014)

    Recorded Thursday, April 10, 2014

    Hosts: Steve Boese, Trish McFarlane

    Guest: Cecile Alper-Leroux, Vice President of Product Strategy, Ultimate Software

    Last week Steve and Trish were able to attend Ultimate Software's Annual Connections User Conference in Las Vegas and sit down with Cecile Alper-Leroux to get an update on some of the exciting developments and happenings at Ultimate Software as well as talk about some of the ways that putting People First - in software design, in the approach to talent management, and how that leads to the best outcomes for both individuals and organizations is the key to sustained success.

    Ultimate Software, across their thousands of customers, supports over 15 million people records in the cloud. Cecile shared with us one of the primary considerations that Ultimate takes into account when building software for so many people - the almost radically different expectations people have in their relationship with any technology. People's personal lives are filled with technologies that are adaptive, responsive, fun, engaging, and are also simple to use. Those expectations and demands are now being placed on the technologies that we use in workplace as well. Cecile shared the key things to consider: provide user value, hook users in early with a great experience, and be useful and help them get their jobs done.

    We also talked about the ridiculous labor laws in France and how we all want to live there.

    Ultimate Software through their innovative technology solutions, focus on designing software experiences that place the individual's needs at the forefront, and from the deep experience that comes from over two decades of supporting their thousands of customers, have evolved to become one of the most important and influential HR technology solution providers in the industry today. 

    This was a really fun and interesting show and I encourage you to give it a listen.

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

    Listen To Business Internet Radio Stations with Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane on BlogTalkRadio


    Additionally, you can subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, or for Android device users, from a free app called Stitcher Radio. In both cases just search for 'HR Happy Hour' and add the show to your podcast subscription list. 

    This was a fun and informative show and I would like to thank Cecile and everyone at Ultimate Software for allowing the HR Happy Hour Show to be a part of Connections 2014. 


    The next important HR Tech acronym: CALO

    You already know all the big HR Tech acronyms - LMS, ATS, HRIS, SaaS, ERP, and on and on.

    But the next big HR and workplace technology acronym you should start to become familiar with, as it promises to offer more for individual and organizational productivity and performance than all acronyms that have come before, is probably a new one to you.


    CALO stands for Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes

    Just what does that mean? 

    Check the below from a piece on HBR titled, 'The Ultimate Productivity Hack Will Be Robot Assistants' :

    The underlying technology behind all of the advances in robotic technology mentioned above is Artificial Intelligence (A.I.).  A.I., often referred to as the ability of computers to think like humans, has been a main goal of many computer and cognitive scientists for the last sixty to eighty years. And one of the principle goals of A.I. developers has long been to help humans be more productive.

    The largest known A.I. project to date was instigated by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In 2003, DARPA contracted SRI International to lead a reported $200 million, five-year project to build a virtual assistant. The project consisted of up to 500 experts in machine learning, natural language processing, knowledge representation, human–computer interaction, flexible planning, and behavioral studies who were tasked with building a Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes (CALO).

    The goal of CALO was to become what the technology industry now calls a ‘cognitive assistant,’ – similar in function to what many of us think of as a personal assistant. This ambitious goal envisioned a software program that learns by ‘observing and learning from the past, acting in the present and anticipating the future.’ CALO would be able to assist its user with organizing and prioritizing information, mediating human communication, resource allocation, task management decisions, and scheduling and prioritizing.

    Read some of the goals of CALO again - organizing and prioritizing information, mediating human-human communications, allocation of resources, getting tasks completed, making decisions, etc.

    These are all things that you, and everyone in your workforce has to manage every single day.

    Unlike an LMS that an employee may have to check in to once a year, an ATS that they never see once they are hired, or an HRIS that they only access once or twice in a career, (if they move or have a 'life event'). 

    And don't get me started on the Performance Management system.

    But a CALO? A tool or technology that would actually help with organizing and prioritizing information and making decisions?

    Your employees would use that tool every single day, and all day long. And if it worked, it would actually help them in their jobs.

    I am not (yet) smart enough to know just how these CALO tools will enter the workplace, who will make them, how they will first find a way onto corporate platforms but I suspect that the smartest people working on workplace technologies are already attacking those issues.

    And I also suspect these CALO tools will have a much bigger impact and influence on worker performance than all the HR tech acronyms that have come before.


    From HR Exec: 5 Rules of Thumb on HR Tech

    In my most recent 'Inside HR Tech' column for Human Resource Executive Online, I took a look at some general rules of thumb for evaluating HR technologies and HR solution providers.  Here is a little bit of that piece, and you can find the rest of the column as well as subscribe to get the monthly Inside HR Tech column delivered straight to your Inbox.

    Here are five ideas and tips on what to look for and think about when evaluating HR technologies to get the most bang for your organization's buck.

    The one HR technology-related question I get asked most frequently is some variation of "Which vendors have the best solution for (insert your HR process area)?", or said differently, "Which solutions should I examine for my particular problem or area of need?"

    So for anyone who wants my official answer to any form of the question, "Which HR technology solution is the best?" here it is . . . . wait for it . . .  wait for it . . .

    The answer, (drumroll, please) is "It depends."

    The best solution for a given organization is quite likely different from the best solution for another -- even largely similar -- organization.

    Unlike many commodity purchases, the HR or workforce technology that is "right" for one organization is often highly variable and dependent on a number of company specific factors, which usually will be distinct and important enough to make selecting the best software a complex and difficult process.

    Since I can’t claim to know the "best" solution for your situation, I can try and help by pointing out a few (five to be exact) rules of thumb that are generally applicable in all HR-technology evaluation and selection processes. Hopefully, these can help you to make your own informed, and unique decision about software.

    1. There isn’t a "Yelp for HR technology" . . . yet.

    While there are some nascent attempts, (G2 CrowdTrustRadius), at establishing a large set of Yelp-like crowd-sourced user reviews for enterprise or HR technologies, the truth is that, in general, the HR software market is still a little hazy. Finding reliable, vetted, and unbiased or independent reviews and commentary on most enterprise technologies is as difficult today as it has always been....

    You can see the rest of the '5 Rules of Thumb' over on HRE Online, and once again, sign up for a monthly drop of HR tech advice and commentary from me, courtesy of your pals at HRE Online.

    Have a great March Madness weekend everyone!


    Making sense of all that data

    Quick shot, or rather a question for a snowy Wednesday which is this:

    Just how are HR and talent leaders at organizations going to make sense of what is already the dramatic increase in workforce data from all the new and disparate sources that are now or will become available?

    If you think the answer is the deployment of more software tools for creating charts, dashboards, graphics, or better visualizations of that data you might be right. Or at least partly right.

    But it could be that you have already spent time and resources on these kinds of analytics tools and still find that there is a gap between the raw data and the insights you need to derive from that data. Maybe more charts and graphs are not the answer after all. Maybe charts and graphs are not enough.

    But a new company called Narrative Science offers a hint about what the next step might be in data analysis technology with a solution they call Quill.

    Quill is designed to examine raw data, apply complex artificial intelligence algorithms to the data, extract and organize key facts and insights from the data, and finally present that analyses of the data in a narrative, natural language format to the end user.

    So instead of looking at another bar chart with a trend line or a scatter plot that leaves your mind sort of scattered, the Quill system presents a key set of interpretations, conclusions and even talking points for the users (and communicators) of the data.

    Take a look at the video below from Narrative Science to see Quill in action, in the context of an investor's portfolio analysis, and think about how it seems reasonable or possible that a similar data analysis and narrative overlay could be done on all manner of HR, talent, and workforce data (Email and RSS subscribers will need to click through)

    Pretty cool, right? And likely not that terribly complex once some underlying assumptions are put down.

    The financial advisor gets the 'right' talking points and conclusions based on the data and the investor's profile and goals, then he/she can spend more time talking about their go-forward strategy and less time just trying to figure out what the data means. And the advisor can handle more clients too, which is certainly good for the investment firm's bottom line. Surely this has a parallel to the front-line supervisor in any field that has a dozen or more direct reports to keep on track on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.

    But this kind of narrative analysis cuts out one of the chief problems of trying to implement a more data-driven decision making environment, which is answering, simply, the question of 'Just what is all this data actually telling us?'

    I am not sure whether or not Narrative Science has HR or HCM data analysis capability on the product roadmap for Quill, but I bet even if they don't, we will see this kind of capability in the HCM space sooner or later.

    Or maybe some enterprising HCM solution provider is already doing this, and if so, I hope they submit their solution to the Awesome New Technologies for HR process for HR Tech in October!