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    Entries in HR Tech (208)

    Thursday
    Jan052017

    Over, Under, and Properly Rated #3

    My current favorite sports talk show is the Russillo and Kanell Show that airs nationally on ESPN radio. On the show, the hosts occasionally do a 'rated' segment where they categorize sports teams, players, and other aspects of sports and pop culture into one of three buckets. 'Overrated' for things they think are generally praised or valued more than they should be. 'Underrated' for the opposite - things that do not get enough attention or accolades. And finally 'Properly' rated, for the things that receive about the correct level of praise or derision.

    It is a fun segment, complete with sound effects, and in the spirit of having lots of 'real' work to do in this first week of 2017, I am going to steal borrow the idea for this site. So here goes, the first in what may be a series if I remember to do this again, of 'Over, Under, and Properly Rated' (SFB edition). Expect a mix of HR, workplace, Tech, sports, pop culture, and whatever else comes to mind.

    Overrated

    1. 2017 Predictions - Yes, I am a little biased since Trish McFarlane and I just did an HR Happy Hour Show titled 'There are no new HR predictions', but nonetheless, 99.95% of the 'predictions' pieces you see about HR or work or technology are 87.95% worthless, and more or less a waste of your time. Stop with the predictions and get on with the getting stuff done.

    2. Apple - leaving Apple on the overrated list again. Why? I just saw a Kickstarter project for a device to essentially replace all the MacBook ports that Apple decided you didn't need has been a runaway smash. What is happening with Amazon and Alexa reminds us (again), that the hardware is less important than the software and the platform. 

    3. Work/Life Integration - As yesterday's post about the new 'No email after 6PM' regulations in France suggest, I think the notion that most people want 'Integration' or 'Fit' between work and not-work may be finally unraveling, at least some. it could be that many, if not most people, don't want to bring their work home, or on vacation, or on Thanksgiving. It could be we want to work hard, (when we are working), and forget about work when we are not working. Just because a few pundits try and tell you that 'Balance' is the wrong term and concept doesn't mean you have to believe it.

    4. Company Culture - Important, sure. But not more important than Talent or Strategy. (A repeat from last time as well, I am going to keep beating this drum until, well, for a while longer anyway).

    5. The New York Knicks - Just lost their 6th in a row. Moving them from 'Under' to 'Over' rated. Another wasted season seems more and more possible. Time to trade 'Melo. 

     

    Underrated

    1. Amazon - Fun Fact! Amazon was my #2 underrated the first time I did this post last summer. Why are they on here again, and now at the top spot? Because all the interesting news I heard this week from the big CES show in Vegas has been about Amazon and their Alexa operating system. They are into everything - enterprise cloud services, content, drones, spaceships, and now they are set to dominate AI and conversational interfaces. When was the last time you heard anyone talk about Apple's Siri? 

    2. Electronic signatures - Been processing a ton of contracts, agreements, etc. lately and the lack of adoption of electronic signatures has been a major pain in the neck. I have had to print, sign, scan, save, then email I am not sure how many docs in the last month. So tedious. Let's all please move E-sigs up on the list of things to do in 2017.

    3. A basketball hoop in the driveway/backyard - Had the chance to play a little backyard hoops over the holidays. Man, I miss having a hoop in the backyard. Goal for 2017 is to get one. And a yard. 

    4. Email consolidation - In 2017, I have gone from 3 main 'work' email addresses and calendars down to 2. (I know I should only have one, but cut me a break). I already, three days in, have noticed a huge difference. AND, I cleared out my voice mail (finally). But please, don't leave me a voice mail.

    5. The Rose Parade - It's is still fun. It is still a great tradition. It is still what helps you get over your New Year's Eve hangover the next morning. I am there in person next year.

    Properly Rated

    1. Tech M&A - Yes, it is that time of year when companies start acquiring other companies, doing mergers, or making 'acqui-hires'. These events are almost always met with breathless and excited coverage and commentary from industry pundits and observers. But the thing is, M&A, and Tech M&A in particular, is about a 50/50 proposition, (at best). Maybe slow your roll on how wonderful the next big M&A deal is going to be before the new company business cards are even printed.

    2. Tesla - Probably not as influential and important (yet) as the insane amount of coverage they get warrants. They delivered 76,000 cars in 2016. That is 76,000 out of a market of over 17 million vehicles. Keep that in perspective.

    3. Ad blocking software - Is it just me, or are more and more 'free' websites failing to load if you have Ad Block software enabled? Ad blocking is now only marginally effective, and thus, 'properly' rated.

    4. The 'Process' - The mad scientist plan of former 76ers GM Sam Hinkie to rebuild the team by essentially losing almost every game for three seasons has swung from over, to under, and now has settled I think inot properly rated. But Joel Embiiid himself is probably underrated.

    5. Snow at Christmas - Yes, it's pretty. Yes, it makes it 'feel' like Christmas. But by December 26 it is just, for the most part, a nuisance. I am angling for Christmas on a beach somewhere next year.

    What do you think? Do I have it right? 

    Is this post itself over, under, or properly rated?

    Friday
    Dec302016

    VACATION REWIND: The secret to buying software

    NOTE: I am out of pocket more or less until the New Year, so I thought I would re-air a few pieces that I liked from earlier this year for folks who may have missed them the first time. Hope you are having a great holiday season and a Happy New Year!

    From May - The Secret to Buying Software

    Indulge me, if you will, with a short quote from The Book of Basketball:

    (Isiah Thomas, NBA legend with the Detroit Pistons):

    "The secret of basketball is that it’s not about basketball."

    Here’s what Isiah Thomas meant: the guys who have the best numbers don’t always make the best team. There is more to winning than just the raw talent (although that plays a huge role).

    What Isiah learned while following those Lakers and Celtics teams around: it wasn’t about basketball.Those teams were loaded with talented players, yes, but that’s not the only reason they won. They won because they liked each other, knew their roles, ignored statistics, and valued winning over everything else." 

    What does the 'secret' of winning basketball have to do with 'real' work and more specifically, enterprise software?
    It is that more and more the 'secret' of making the right software solution purchase decision for your organization has less and less to do with the traditional measurements - system features, fit-gap analysis, and on-paper capability; and has more and more to do with the your mutual vision for the future, and the ability to execute on that shared vision by your potential software provider.

     

    Solution capabilities, certainly at the enterprise level, are evolving and expanding faster than ever. With cloud-based software deployment, shorter enhancement and upgrade cycles, and the comparative ease for organizations who wish to adopt new these capabilities to be able to derive value from them - the actual list of capabilities or 'yes' responses to an RFP questionnaire matter less than ever before.

     

    No, what matters today, and will likely matter even more in the next 5 years, is your ability to assess a potential software providers ability to 'see' around the corner, to articulate an idea of what will matter most for work, workplaces, and employees, and present more than just a list of software features, but rather expand upon a vision of how they (and you), will navigate the next few years of a working world that will almost certainly look much different than the one we live in today.

     

    Think I am wrong about this? That 'features' matter less than vision?

     

    Ok, think about this.

     

    If say three years ago you went out to collect bids for a new enterprise-wide performance management system, you would have challenged your potential vendors to show you features like goal alignment, cascading goal assignment, proportional competency evaluation, the connection of performance rating scores to compensation plans, and more. You would have made final evaluations not only on these points, but also on how easily you could migrate your existing annual performance management process to this new system.

    Fast forward to today, where we are entering into a new world of employee performance management.

    Today, if you were again to collect bids for a new enterprise-wide performance management system you likely would be looking for features like real-time feedback, peer-to-peer recognition, the ability to do 'scoreless' reviews, and a connection of the performance tool not to your comp system, but to your enterprise collaboration tools.

    The main features you would be chasing would be very, very different.

    That's why the secret to buying software for the organization is that it isn't about the software - at least not as it exists at a fixed point in time.

    If three years ago your chosen vendor for performance technology had the vision, and the ability to adapt to the new world of performance management, then you likely would not need to chase another new solution to meet your (and the workplace's) changing needs. But if they didn't? And they were really only or at least primarily concerned with checking 'yes' to every question on the RFP?

    Then three years later you are left with a technology that can really only support yesterday's process.

    Don't get caught up on features. At least don't make features the only thing you think about when evaluating technology.

    Features are cheap. They are easily copied. And they fall out of fashion faster than you think.

    Vision?

    Much harder to come by. And much more valuable.

    The secret to buying software is that it's not about the software.

    Have a great weekend!

    Thursday
    Dec292016

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 270: There are no new HR predictions

    HR Happy Hour 270- There Are No New HR Predictions

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the show, Trish and Steve discuss why there are no new HR predictions.  Every year by January, there are a slew of articles, blog posts and social media discussions around HR predictions.  As usual, we're finding that none of the predictions are new.  They tend to be restated from previous years. This episode talks about that and what business leaders should be focused on instead.

    We also spent some time talking about what is coming up in 2017.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or by using the widget player below (email and RSS subscribers need to click through)

    This was a fun and informative show, we hope you like it! Thanks to show sponsor Virgin Pulse -learn more about them at www.virginpulse.com.

    Remember: Subscribe to the HR Happy Hour on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or your favorite podcast app - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to find and subscribe to the show.

    Thanks to everyone who listened in 2016 and Happy HR New Year!

    Tuesday
    Dec202016

    HRE Column: HR and AI - Five Things to Consider

    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.

    This month I took a look at the emerging technology field of Artificial Intelligence, or AI, and review some of the considerations and implications for HR leaders who are evaluating, selecting, and implementing new HR technologies that are based around AI.

    One of the major challenges for the developers of AI solutions is that these technologies can be seen as impenetrable, abstruse, cryptic, and more alarmingly, unfair or unethical. We (mostly), implicitly 'trust' many smart technologies like Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix to make the best, most accurate predictions of what content we will like or what products we want to purchase, even if/when we don't really know how these algorithms actually work, how they are configured, and how any original or baseline biases or inaccuracies inform them.

    In this month's HR Executive column I take a look at five fundamental principles of AI for HR leaders to consider. These principles or guidelines provide a starting framework for HR to begin to form questions, challenge solution providers, and assure employees that any AI technologies they deploy will be deployed ethically. From the HRE piece:

    As 2016 has been winding down you've no doubt seen or will see various published or online pieces such as "HR Trends to Watch for 2017" or "Hot Technologies for HR Leaders in 2017." I thought (briefly) of making this last Inside HR Tech column of 2016 such a piece. But then I decided that, rather than contribute to the chorus of prognosticators predicting "mobile will be big in 2017," I would instead dig in a little more to one trend or "hot" technology that most analysts and industry observers are pointing to in 2017, namely "smart" HR technologies. Whether it's called artificial intelligence, machine learning or predictive technology, the development of more sophisticated HR technologies that can evaluate and mine large data sets, make recommendations based on past data and "learn" or adapt over time to become even better at providing HR and business leaders with people-related decision support presents HR leaders with both an opportunity and a challenge.

    Just as some earlier HR-technology advancements failed to produce the desired business outcomes because they simply automated or made a badly designed processes easier to replicate (think about the first time you automated your dreaded annual performance reviews or placed your too-long, candidate-unfriendly application process online), the application of "smart" technology (or artificial intelligence) for HR also presents the very real danger of perpetuating many undesirable characteristics and outcomes of current processes. For example, if a "smart" tool that is meant to help HR leaders predict future high performers based on an assessment of the traits of current high performers has, at its core, a fundamental bias in how managers have rated these current high performers, then the "smart" technology may continue to perpetuate this biased evaluation tendency.

    What are some the guidelines or principles that HR leaders (and solution providers) should consider when developing and deploying these technologies for making HR and talent decisions? I've found what I think is a good starting point developed by the Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency in Machine Learning organization that I want to share. It offers five core areas to consider and questions to ask of these "smart" solutions that HR leaders can use to guide their research, inquiry and assessment of these tools. Briefly, the five elements and some recommended and related questions to ask solution providers for each area are as follows:

    Responsibility

    Above all, it is incumbent for HR leaders to ensure any artificial decision-support technologies are operating responsibly. Ask if there are visible and accessible processes for people to question or address adverse individual or organizational effects or impacts of an algorithmic decision system or design. And who will have the power to decide on necessary changes to the algorithmic system during the design stage, pre-launch and post-launch? Finally, can your solution provider make adjustments and changes that are determined to be necessary for the organization to address these kinds of concerns?

    Read the rest at HR Executive...

    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 scrape the ice off your windshield, hang up your Christmas lights, or return your unwanted presents on December 26.

    Have a great day!

    Thursday
    Dec152016

    PODCAST - HR Market Watch 3 - Can you correlate employee engagement to business results?

    NOTE: The HR Happy Hour Podcast Network is still going strong - wanted to share the latest episode of HR Market Watch with host George LaRocque that posted earlier this week. Enjoy!

     

    HR Market Watch 3 – Can You Correlate Employee Engagement To Business Results?

    Host: George LaRocque

    Guest: Chris Powell, CEO, Talmetrix

    Listen to the show HERE

    HR Market Watch puts a special lens on new and innovative HR technology from emerging and established technology companies. Join host George LaRocque, Principal Analyst and Founder of the #HRWINS. In this episode he is joined by CEO Chris Powell of Talmetrix, a tech firm helping employers discover the correlation between employee engagement, HR programs, and business results. George and Chris talk about some of the misconceptions around employee engagement, and how current market trends are helping companies of all sizes connect their HR data to business performance.

    Also, hear about some of the recent trends in talent acquisition and how small and medium sized businesses are driving big innovations in HR technology.

    You can listen to the show on the show page here, or using the widget player below, (email and RSS subscribers click through)

    You can subscribe to HR Market Watch, and all the HR Happy Hour Network Shows on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or your favorite podcast app - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe and never miss a show.