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    Entries in HR Tech (247)

    Tuesday
    Jan022018

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 308 - How Virtual Reality Will Change Workplace Training in 2018

    HR Happy Hour 308 - How Virtual Reality Will Change Workplace Training in 2018

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guest: Derek Belch, CEO & Founder, STRIVR

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve is joined by Derek Belch, Founder and CEO of STRIVR, a Palo Alto firm that uses innovative Virtual Reality technology for workplace training and improved performance.

    On the show Derek explained the key concepts of Virtual Reality, how it differs from Augmented Reality, and provided a framework for HR and workplace leaders to understand VR, and how it can be deployed in workplace and workforce training and learning contexts. 

    He also shared the story of his company STRIVR, from their beginnings working with collegiate football programs as well as other professional teams, to some of their current work on the corporate training and development space, including their massive partnership with Walmart,

    Derek did a great job of explaining VR, how the technology works, how it applies to training, the particular training scenarios where VR makes a great fit, and how HR and training organizations can get started with incorporating VR technologies into their training and development portfolios.

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

    This was a really interesting and enlightening conversation - thanks to Derek for joining us.

    Learn more about STRIVR at www.strivr.com.

    Subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, or wherever you get your podcasts - just search for 'HR Happy Hour'.

    Wednesday
    Dec272017

    An example of how 'good' user experience changes over time

    Quick shot for a 'I'm not really working but not quite on vacation either' Wednesday.

    Like many folks, I am dabbling with some new technology over the holidays and after messing around with a newly acquired device, the Amazon Fire Stick, (for those not familiar, the Fire Stick is a small device that plugs in to a TV's HDMI port to enable streaming content like Netflix, SlingTV, and my favorite, the NBA League Pass App).

    It's a cool, inexpensive, and highly capable little piece of tech. I do believe I am just days away from cutting the cable cord for good. It is really just the phone call I have to make that I am dreading at this point.

    But as I was setting up the Fire Stick, I couldn't help but notice the size, setup, and UX elements of the Amazon remote. Take a look at the pic below. The remote on the left is my current Spectrum Cable TV remote, and on the right, the Fire Stick remote.

    In case you're scoring at home, the Spectrum reomote has 59 buttons and is easily over twice the size and weight as the Fire Stick remote, which has a total of 7 buttons and a kind of tactile navigation wheel.

    Three quick observations on these two remotes, and what we might be able to apply to our own work and workplace tech decisions from thinking about how UX and tech expectations change over time.

    1. What we consider 'good' in terms of design and UX is a fluid, changing thing. The first time I got a hold of the Spectrum remote I am sure I was excited, happy, if a bit overwhelmed with all the functions. This remote could do 'everything' and I am sure I thought that the tradeoff in size, complexity, usability in order to do everything was worth it. Sure, most of the buttons are really tiny, are jammed too close together, but that's the price of a super-powered piece of tech. Eventually, you figure it out.

    2. The most important of the seven buttons on the Fire Stick remote is the little one at the top of the device with the microphone image. It's used for the remote voice command capabilities akin to how one issues commands to Amazon Alexa enabled devices. Think, 'Alexa, open Netflix'. Or 'Alexa, fast-forward three minutes'. Or, 'Alexa, play The Real Housewives of New Jersey' (that last may or may not have been the one I tested for this piece).

    I recently wrote about Alexa here on the blog, so I won't repeat all those takes again, but with Amazon reporting that the single most popular item on Amazon.com this holiday shopping season was its Echo Dotdevice, it seems certain that tens of millions of US households will be experimenting, learning, and becoming familiar with the power of voice-activated tech in 2018. These tens of millions of folks are also your employees, using your workplace tools and tech, and will begin to press for more and better voice capable tech at work. No doubt.

    3. Probably the obvious take on these two devices, their design, and how they make the user feel, but here it is. More is not better with UX and with tech in general. Better is better. I know the tendency, especially with workplace technology is to continue to add features, functions, processes, and in our example, buttons to the solution in order to cast the widest possible net. Tech providers are guilty of this, but so are organizations that issue 846 page RFPs for a Performance Management solution evaluation. And so many of the tech providers respond, especially for a large, Fortune 100 size customer, to add whatever features and functions that the customer claims they 'need'. This cycle spins and repeats over time, and that is how you end up with the 59 button Spectrum remote. Let's hope in 2018 both providers and customers alike will think a little harder about what they really need to get done, how their tools should support them and not overwhelm them, and provide employees with the simplest solutions possible that enable their success at work.

    Happy holiday week. Hope you are staying warm!

    Wednesday
    Dec062017

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 304 - LinkedIn, Talent Insights, and Data Science in HR

    HR Happy Hour 304 - LinkedIn, Talent Insights, and Data Science in HR

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guest: Dan Shapero, Vice President of Talent Solutions, LinkedIn

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, we welcome Dan Shapero, Vice President of Talent Solutions at LinkedIn for a discussion about data science, machine learning, and how new tools and technologies are providing information, insights, and value to HR and talent management and acquisition leaders to help them make better talent decisions.

    Data is increasingly being leveraged to help employers decide whom to interview and potentially hire for open roles, to have better understanding to answer questions like 'Where should we locate the new offices?', and how to best reward, develop, and manage talent in the organization. 

    Enterprise systems are changing - in the past they only stored information. Today modern tools and technologies help organizations better understand that data, glean insights from that data, and make informed decisions as the systems learn more about the data and about the business.

    Dan shared ideas on how HR and talent leaders can begin to adopt these new approaches and technologies in their organizations, how to start the process or journey to becoming a 'data-driven' HR function, as well as some of the new technologies and capabilities that LinkedIn has been developing in these areas.

    Additionally, we learned that Dan knows recent HR Happy Hour guests Dan Heath and Sjoerd Gehring and that Steve still has not launched his all NBA show Bounding and Astounding.

    Listen to the show on the show page HERE, or by using the widget player below:

    Thanks to Dan for sharing his time and insights.

    And of course, thanks to HR Happy Hour Show sponsor Virgin Pulse - learn more at www.virginpulse.com.

    Subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, or your favorite podcast app - just search for 'HR Happy Hour'.

    Monday
    Dec042017

    Alexa, what do I need to get done today?

    High, probably at the top of the list of 'Cool things I acquired in 2017 list' is the Amazon Echo, powered by Amazon's 'Alexa' platform.

    I talk to Alexa every single day. In fact, I probably spent more time with Alexa than anyone else this year. I probably ought to think about what that means. Anyway, back to the point. The single feature I use and enjoy the most is the 'Flash Briefing' or short news and information update that can be configured to have Alexa (via a slew of independently created 'skills' or sources), to give me a tailored, personalized update of news, sports, weather, meetings, and other updates that are meaningful to me. I probably use this feature two or three times a day. I know, I am weird. But I have become so hooked and almost dependent on Alexa that I even bought a second Echo device for the second floor of my house, so that Alexa and I would never be too far apart. Wow, that is really weird. But (again) back to the point.

    Last week Amazon announced the formal launch of the 'Alexa for Business' platform, that will enable organizations who place Alexa-enabled Echo devices in their offices, lobbies, and conference rooms to centrally administer these devices, provision user access to these devices, enable both public and private/custom skills to these devices, and finally, (and perhaps most interestingly), allow employees to access private/custom/proprietary skills on their personal Echo devices at home.

    Think about walking into a conference room and simply stating 'Alexa, start the meeting' to have Alexa fire up the connected A/V in the room, call the conference bridge number, provide the authentication to the conference call provider, and send out a notification to everyone on the meeting invite that the call/meeting has started. Really cool, (especially if you are as sick as me as having to enter about 27 numbers and codes to kick off a conference call), and according to the early Alexa for Business release documentation, really easy to set up.

    In addition to the meeting management stuff, Alexa for Business will be able to perform in a business/office setting the same kinds of tasks that millions of people are using Alexa for at home - controlling smart lights and equipment, getting Flash Briefings, setting reminders, managing To-Do lists, and even performing basic calendaring. I ask Alexa 'What's my next meeting? all the time.

      

    These use cases are all pretty cool, and are easily translated to workplace contexts as they are all simple and pretty straightforward. But do not underestimate how cool it would be to have Alexa lay out your day, your meetings, and your important 'To-dos' in a simple summary at the start of the day.

    But what is potentially more interesting is that Amazon has created a Skills developer kit and a set of APIs to enable solution providers, (like your HRIS provider), and individual organizations to create custom skills to enable Alexa-type access to things like sales reports, employee schedules, business travel itineraries, or even and update on the slate of candidates you have to interview for your open position on that day.

    It is not at all a stretch to expect that very soon, some if not most of the major HCM solution providers will begin to offer at least some support for Alexa for Business skills, as (and this is just like we saw with smartphones and tablets), as more and more employees adopt and begin to use these devices at home, they will want to use them for work. And also 'at home / for work' if that makes sense.

    If I were an HR/Talent pro thinking about or evaluating some new HR Tech tools I would definitely ask the providers that are vying for my business what/if any plans they have to incorporate Alexa, or voice UX more generally, into their technology and supported processes. 

    Because it is only a matter of time until your CEO or your Head of Sales comes to you to ask 'Why can't I do, (insert something they like/need to do here) on my Echo?'

    Happy Monday. Have a great week!

    Monday
    Nov272017

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 303 - Jeff Carr and the 'New' Zenefits

    HR Happy Hour 303 - Jeff Carr and the 'New' Zenefits

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guest: Jeff Carr, COO, Zenefits

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve is joined by Jeff Carr, COO of HR Tech provider Zenefits. Zenefits has had a pretty wild ride in only about four years, and today is at a much different place than just a year or two ago. Jeff was really open and honest discussing Zenefits efforts to correct mistakes made in the past, (and in fairness, under a totally different leadership team), to re-brand and re-cast the company products and strategies, and what might be in the future for one of HR Tech's most interesting companies.

    While I bet just about every HR, Payroll, and HR Tech professional that will hear this show has certainly heard the name 'Zenefits', you may not be as aware at how in the last 12 - 18 months the company has looked to, for lack of a better word, emerge from its own past. This was a really interesting conversation with one of HR Tech's most experienced leaders talking about what I think is an incredibly fascinating story.

    We also talked a bit about minor league baseball, Thanksgiving, and Steve once again teased his upcoming All-NBA podcast, 'Bounding and Astounding'.

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

    This was a fun and interesting show - thanks for Jeff for coming on the HR Happy Hour.

    Thanks to HR Happy Hour sponsor Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com.

    HR Happy Hour listener survey here

    Subscribe to the HR Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.