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    Entries in HR Tech (273)

    Wednesday
    Jul182018

    Succeeding with HR Tech, Five, Make it Six Things HR Needs to Know

    I did a Human Resource Executive Webinar on Tuesday titled 'Suceeding with HR Technology, Five Six Things HR Leaders Need to Know (and an HR Technology Conference Preview), and while it would be hard to share the information shared in webinar in full, I thought I would pull out the FiveSix 'Remember This' kinds of takeaway slides to share here, along with a little of the pithy commentary I dished out on the live Webinar.

    Also, if you head over to www.hrtechconference.com, you can probably access a recorded copy of the webinar when it posts in a day or two.

    (Email and RSS subscribers may need to click through to see the images)

    Number One: In the Pre-Contract stage of the project, here's my one thing you need to know/remember:

    Always. Be. Negotiating. Don't fall in love with the first demo you see or with the vendor that takes you out to the swankiest dinner at HR Tech. Play the long game if you can. You have just about all of the power before the contract is signed.

    Number Two: In the Planning stage of the project, here's my one thing you need to know/remember:

    We, all of us, humans primarily, are terrible at estimating how complex most undertakings actually are, and how long they will take to complete. Planning for HR tech projects is not immune to this phenomenon. Take your time, find some experienced implementers, challenge your assumptions, and be realistic about your organization's willingness, capability, and capacity for change when you set goals and milestones down. And it might not hurt to add another 15% for 'you never knows'.

    Number Three: In the Teambuilding stage of the project, here's my one thing you need to know/remember:

    One of the surest ways to limit your success with HR tech projects is to fail to devote the necessary resources for the needed time to the project, and get them some relief from their normal, day jobs. Almost every large project struggles with this to some extent. Getting a resource for 10 hrs/week does not automatically free that resource up from their normal duties, and you just may have added 20% workload to a key person you are counting on for the project.

    Number Four: In the Managing Relationships stage of the project, here's my one thing you need to know/remember:

    Your HR Tech project team will likely consist of a slew of different groups and organizations - core team, project sponsors, vendor staff, external consultants or SIs, and maybe even independent contractors. Managing the ownership, accountability, and communication across and among these different groups is so important, and a skillful and savvy project manager spends a ton of his or her time in this area.

    Number Five: In the Technical Considerations stage of the project, here's my one thing you need to know/remember:

    While many of the technical tasks have migrated from customer-owned to vendor-managed in the HR Cloud environment, most medium to large scale HR Tech projects have important technical considerations, chief among these are the integration needs from cloud solutions from different vendors, as well as the integrations from HR cloud solutions to legacy and sometimes on-premise downstream or upstream systems. And be mindful of the Planning Fallacy from a few steps ago when planning, scoping, and finding resources for your integration tasks.

    Number Six: In the User Adoption stage of the project, here's my one thing you need to know/remember:

    Most people don't like change. We like what we know, but maybe would not mind it if things were just a little bit better or faster or easier or more enjoyable. A good approach to user adoption is to couch and describe the change you are creating as the beginning of a movement towards something better, not necessarily a complete overhaul of systems, processes, and the way people work. We like 'better'. We don't always like 'different'. It's a subtle difference but maybe one that will make user adoption efforts and results more effective.

    Ok, that's it for my Top 6 things to remember. If I would have had more time on the Webinar I could have come up with more, but these are a decent starting point. We will be hitting all of these topics in much more detail at the HR Technology Conference in September - use my code STEVE300 to get $300 off the best rate available when you register here.

     

    Tuesday
    Jul102018

    HR Executive Column: Thinking about Design Thinking in HR

    I have been a little slack in posting links back to my monthly column over at HR Executive Online but fear not gentle readers, I have not abandoned this essential public service.

    So without further delay, here is the link to my latest Inside HR Tech piece at HR Executive - How to Make Design Thinking Work for HR.

    From the piece:

    Why are so many HR leaders talking about design thinking?

    Longtime readers might know that I founded and co-host with Trish McFarlane the popular HR Happy Hour Show, a podcast covering HR, HR tech, HR leadership and more. In the last several months, a number of the show’s guests—HR leaders from Red Hat, T-Mobile, General Motors and NBCUniversal, for example—have brought up a phrase that, even as recently as last year, I don’t recall hearing.

    That phrase is “design thinking,” and while you probably have heard the term, you might not have considered it from an HR or HR-technology point of view. Design thinking has been described as an iterative process that tries to understand a business problem, as well as who and what it is impacting. Those using this strategy challenge existing assumptions and approaches to solving a problem, and ask questions to identify alternative solutions that might not be readily apparent. Design thinking is a solution-based approach and usually prescribes a series of specific phases, stages and methods to help designers and business teams arrive at improved, user-focused solutions.

    Since I’ve been hearing so much lately about this idea, I thought it would be a good topic to explore for this column.  I’ll look at each of the typical stages of a design-thinking process, their application, and how we can leverage these ideas as we evaluate, deploy and manage the HR technologies.

    Empathize

    The first stage in the design-thinking process is gaining an understanding of the business or people problem you are trying to solve. This is different than trying to determine the list of detailed technical requirements for a new HR system or the specific elements that need to be included in a new course for first-time managers in the organization. Design thinking suggests that the designer or the project leader thinks deeply about the people who will be impacted by a new solution or process, engage and spend time with them to better understand their motivations and challenges, as well as develop a deep appreciation for any physical or environmental characteristics that are important to the solution. But the key to making this information-gathering stage successful is empathy, which can help designers and leaders to get past their own assumptions and gain insight into users and their needs.

    Read the rest of the piece over at HR Executive Online...

    And remember to subscribe to get my monthly Inside HR Tech column via email on the subscription sign-up page here. The first 25 new subscribers get a new set of steak knives. Well, maybe. 

    Thanks and have a great day!

    Wednesday
    Jun272018

    Making it easier for employees to get paid

    I caught some news last week from the small business payroll provider Gusto announcing the initial launch of a service called 'Flexible Pay', a service designed to give employees at companies using the Gusto payroll service the ability to choose their own pay schedule and get paid whenever they want for hours they have already worked.

    Think about how most shops run a typical Bi-weekly, hourly payroll cycle. The employee works and clocks their hours and OT for a 14-day period, often ending on a Friday. The employer (or their service provider), sums up all the hours, calculates gross pay, sorts out the taxes and other deductions, and issues a paycheck or direct deposit for the employee's net pay about a week later - usually the following Friday. So the work done by the employee is essentially loaned to the employer until the two-week collection period ends, and the week of processing time is over. And for lots of employees, ones who might be facing bills or other obligations that don't line up well with the employer's pay schedule, that delay in getting their pay presents a problem.

    They might look for a payroll advance, put more spending on their credit cards, or even seek out a high-interest payday loan - often because the one to almost three week 'float' doesn't work for them in their lives.

    So the idea that a payroll service provider like Gusto is making it possible for employees to have more choice in when they get paid for time already worked, while also making it available to employers, (Gusto is basically fronting the funds for the employer until the 'real' payroll runs), I think is one that is long overdue, and is needed and will be appreciated by lots of employees.

    A couple of disclaimers here - this service is really new, and so far only available to Gusto customers in Texas, (more states are on the way), Gusto did not ask me or compensate me at all to post about this, (in fact I am pretty sure they did not even contact me about it), and finally, there might be other payroll providers out there with similar products and services (ADP, Paychex, Ceridian, etc.), I don't claim to know that this is an offering that is unique to Gusto. So please let me if your company already offers this, and I will add a footnote to the piece. But regardless, this is a cool idea and I hope it catches on with more companies and payroll providers.

    I will leave with this image - a crude Google map of Las Vegas with location pins for Starbucks locations, (which seem to be everywhere), and for Payday Loan Companies. Can you guess which is which?

     

    Have a great day!

     

     

    Friday
    Jun152018

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 324 - HR and the Internet and Technology Trends for 2018

    HR Happy Hour 324 - HR and the Internet and Technology Trends for 2018

    Hosts: Steve Boese, Trish McFarlane

    Sponsored by Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, hosts Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane talk about the Kleiner Perkins Internet Trends Report for 2018 and the key tech trends that are impacting work and workplaces.

    The Internet Trends Report is published annually by VC firm Kleiner Perkins, led by Mary Meeker, and provides a massive overview of the most important internet, technology, and software trends, on a global level, and is read and cited by just about everyone in the technology space. The report covers e-commerce, social networks, digital advertising, technology at work, enterprise technology, and much more. It is must-reading for anyone who needs to be current with what is going on in tech.

    On this annual HR Happy Hour Show covering the report, Steve and Trish identify three major themes from the 2018 Internet Trends that we think will impact HR and work - personalization and consumerization, the on-demand workforce, and finally Artificial Intelligence.

    We hit each of the three topics, shared some thoughts on how HR and HR tech are responding to them, and how HR leaders can use knowledge of these trends moving forward.

    We also talked about the weather, (of course), the virtues of the Slip 'n Slide, and why Steve doesn't like to buy green bananas.

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

    This was a fun show, thanks for listening. Remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, or your favorite podcast app - just search for 'HR Happy Hour'.

    Thursday
    Jun072018

    Ending 'Upgrades' Once and For All

    About a hundred years ago (ok, it was not actually that long, just feels like it some days), I participated in my first, real 'Enterprise' technology project - helping to implement an Oracle E-Business Suite solution for a foreign division of a massive US-based telecommunications company. Even with that small, early scope, (the project continued for some years covering more and more countries), it was a pretty substantial piece of work.

    We needed DBA's to configure our servers, install the Oracle Applications, and do 'normal' maintenance like patching, load balancing, security, and cloning, (basically creating copies of application setups and configurations to create test, QA, and development environments). 

    We needed Analysts to figure out the business requirements, map these to the application functions, set up the apps accordingly, run tests, identify gaps, and train the end users.

    We needed Programmers to develop custom data loader programs and custom interfaces to other systems that the Oracle Apps needed to feed, or to be fed data by. And of course these programmers needed to develop custom capability that the business needed but the Apps, as least out of the box, could not provide. And don't get me started on all the custom reports that had to be built - even for a small implementation in one country initially.

    Add in to all this documentation, test plans, user process scripts, communication, change management - and the countless other things that need to be done in order, back then, to complete a successful implementation of traditional, (read on-premise), enterprise technology.

    And after all that work, all that time, resource allocation, investment and effort, after it was all done and the system was live do you know what we found? That by then Oracle had released a brand new, better, more capable and upgraded version of the Applications, and if we and the users really wanted the latest and best functionality we had to, wait for it - upgrade.

    But the problem was back then, and to some extent for many companies this is still true today, an upgrade was almost as much work as the initial implementation. The upgrade from one version of a large, on-premise, set of enterprise applications, (with customizations and interfaces), required the efforts of all those same groups of people mentioned above. Upgrades were really manual, required tons of validation and testing, and if the functionality had changed enough, also necessitated significant user training and change management efforts. Frankly, upgrades stunk. And so many organizations running enterprise apps on-premise avoided them as much as they could, preferring to stick with and maintain older versions, (with fewer features and capabilities), as the tradeoff. And that tradeoff has perpetuated. Way longer than most of us thought it might.

    Even in 2018, in this time when we like to assume that every large organization has moved their enterprise systems for Finance, HR, Operations, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, etc. to the cloud, many large organizations have not, and are still running versions of on-premise Enterprise solutions, as the cost, complexity, and resources needed to do a 'upgrade to the cloud' were just as massive and daunting as the old on-premise upgrades were back then. In fact, many of these cloud migrations are not upgrades at all in the classic sense - they are full-on re-implementations - huge technical and functional projects that as I said, many firms have continued to avoid or postpone.

    Sorry for the history lesson, but it's important for the news I wanted to share today.  

    Earlier this week, and in a way that particularly resonated for me given my history with Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle announced the Oracle "Soar to the Cloud" solution - an automated set to tools and processes to enable customers running older versions of Oracle Applications on-premise to migrate to the Oracle Fusion ERP in the Cloud solutions much faster than ever before, and with the assurance that data will be migrated, configurations will be applied consistently in the cloud, and even any customizations done on-premise will be addressed with a new library of pluggable Fusion ERP integration capabilities.

    If you want to deep dive into the nuts and bolts how this process will work, take a look at this video of the presentation made this week by Larry Ellison, Oracle CTO and Chairman, as he walks through the process. But even if you don't need r want to understand all the technical details - just remember this - the Oracle Soar to the Cloud program promises to make your organization's 'upgrade' to the cloud truly the last upgrade (in the traditional sense), that you will have to undertake.

    Once you make it to the Cloud - your organization can get the benefit of regular, continuous, and frictionless updates to your enterprise apps - making the ability to adopt new capabilities, remain compliant with new regulations, and move more quickly and innovate more rapidly than at any time in the past. 

    Your organization probably knows you want/need to be in the Cloud for these reasons and more.

    But if you are in one of the organizations that for one reason or another has avoided the cloud, avoided the dreaded 'upgrade' - this new Soar to the Cloud program might be just what you need to kick start those plans. 

    Learn more at Oracle Soar