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    Entries in HR Tech (249)

    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.

    Wednesday
    Nov222017

    HRE Column: LinkedIn One Year Later

    Once again, I offer 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 take a look back at the Microsoft acquisition of LinkedIn which (although it seems like a lot longer), only closed officially about this time last year. It has been a pretty interesting, innovative, and fascinating year for the largest professional social network. Since LinkedIn is such an important and influential technology for organizations and individual professionals alike, it seemed like a good time to reflect back on the year and to speculate a bit on what might lie ahead.

    In the HRE Column, I dig a little bit into some of LinkedIn's recent product announcements, look at how the Microsoft angle is beginning to play out and how LinkedIn could evolve moving forward. I hope to have some execs from LinkedIn on an upcoming HR Happy Hour Show totalk about some of these ideas in more depth.

    Having said that, here's a taste of the HRE piece titled 'Betting on LinkedIn'

    I recently was invited to attend a quarterly product update from the folks at LinkedIn Talent Solutions, an online event where the product and marketing teams provide demonstrations and details about new product initiatives and capabilities that are (or are about to be) released. I get these kinds of invites from solution providers quite often, and admittedly do not usually attend -- either I am busy planning the annual HR Tech Conference or I simply don't get all that excited by incremental updates to existing platforms or solutions.

    But I made an exception in this particular case and watched this most recent LinkedIn update. The reasons why were twofold: I had some extra time; and I was interested in one particular update that LinkedIn planned to share information regarding the integration of LinkedIn information with Microsoft Word in the context of a user creating a resume.

    And, since Microsoft finished its $26.2-billion acquisition of LinkedIn about a year ago now, I figured it was an appropriate time to reflect on that industry development, as well as some new capabilities being added to the platform, the challenges the company faces, and what might be coming next.

    On its latest product update webcast, LinkedIn showcased two new initiatives that reflect its continued need to provide value to two distinct constituencies: HR and talent-acquisition professionals; and its rank-and-file members. Each obviously have very different needs and goals.

    The first enhancement for organizational users of its Talent Solutions products was a new performance summary report, which provides them with a simple but comprehensive overview of organizational activity and results on the platform. On one dashboard, HR and talent management professionals can see data such as the number of hires who were "influenced" by candidates viewing company profiles and content on LinkedIn prior to being hired; the effectiveness and response rates of candidate outreach; and most interestingly to me, the top five companies that organizations are losing and winning talent I can recall working at an organization where we were suddenly losing lots of talented sales reps over a short period of time, and had to scramble (and pull up lots of individual LinkedIn profiles) to figure out which competitors were poaching them. We would have loved to have had this information in one place.

    The other new capability -- and probably the more innovative development -- was the announcement of a deeper integration of LinkedIn data with Microsoft Word. For users drafting a resume in Word, information from other LinkedIn profiles is used to help craft a resume. This Resume Assistant asks them to provide a job role of interest and then surfaces examples from LinkedIn of typical work-experience summaries and skills descriptors

    Read the rest at HR Executive Online...

    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 re-surface your driveway, take your dog for a walk, rake up your leaves, and eat your leftover pumpkin pie.

    Have a great day and Happy Day Before Thanksgiving!

    Monday
    Nov202017

    Job Titles of the Future: Man-Machine Teaming Manager

    It's been ages since I have had a new entry in the extremely popular 'Job Titles of the Future' series, but over the weekend I came across an interesting report from tech consultancy Cognizant titled '21 Jobs of the Future: A Guide to Getting - and Staying - Employed Over the Next 10 Years'that more or less has the next 21 posts in this series all in one report. With so much interesting source material (thanks Cognizant!), I had to bust out a new post for the series.

    Then entire report is really interesting, and I imagine I am going to re-visit it again for future installments, but I thought today I would call out one really interesting future job from the list of 21 - a job that I can see playing a large role in the future of work and too, the future of HR.

    The job title of interest is 'Man-Machine Teaming Manager' and I will share some details from the 'job description' for this theoretical role as laid out by our pals at Cognizant.

    The key task for this role is developing an interaction system through which humans and machines mutually communicate their capabilities, goals and intentions, and devising a task planning system for human-machine collaboration. The end goal is to create augmented hybrid teams that generate better business outcomes through human-machine collaboration.

    As a man-machine teaming manager, you will identify tasks, processes, systems and experiences that can be upgraded by newly available technologies and imagine new approaches, skills, interactions and constructs. You will define roles and responsibilities and set the rules for how machines and workers should coordinate to accomplish a task. This involves designing flexible experiences that meet workers’ expectations, while providing a simple and intuitive interaction with machines (translating consumer behavior to business users, as well as to machines, for instance). Ideal candidates will be passionate about advancing human-robot cooperation strategies in a dynamic business environment.

    Lots of the more enlightened 'robots are taking away the jobs' commentary and predictions have arrived at a similar conclusion, that the future of work will be much more about people and robots/machines/algorithms working together, with each contributing their unique and hard to copy strengths. If you did in to the job responsibilities for the Man-Machine Teaming Manager role, (and kudos to Cognizant for writing this report in the form of a bunch of new-age job adverts), the first one talks about the manager needing to identify and describe the business functions and capabilities that are uniquely possessed by people and the ones that would be better performed by machines.

    It seems to me, if you took this conceptual job, and instead of 'people' and 'machines' being the groups that the manager had to better combine as teams and collaborators, and just described it in today's terms of cross-functional teams of people, then in many ways you would be describing the role of an HR leader or Chief Talent Officer.

    Figuring out strengths, capabilities, gaps, and the best ways for diverse groups of talent to combine and connect and collaborate in order to achieve desired business outcomes seems to be one of the most important roles in any organization, and one that should be owned and championed by HR and Talent leaders. So if the Cognizant report is right, and I have no reason to nay say it, then in the near future more of the talent and the collaborators will be some form of technology or robots or algorithms.

    That doesn't change the essential need, purpose, and importance of the role - organizations need leaders that can assess, understand, support, and put in place systems and processes that enable all the talent in the organization to work together to produce the best possible outcomes.

    Hopefully, that role will be filled by people for some time to come.

    Hopefully, they will be HR people.

    Have a great week!

    Tuesday
    Nov142017

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 302 - Tim Sackett and Talent Acquisition Technology

    HR Happy Hour 302 - Tim Sackett and Talent Acquisition Technology

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guest: Tim Sackett

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve is joined by Tim Sackett, President of HRU Technical Resources, popular writer and speaker on all things Talent Acquisition and keynote speaker at the upcoming Recruiting Trends and Talent Tech Conference.

    On this show, Tim shared his perspectives on how technology continues to change the Talent Acquisition function, how roles for sourcers and recruiters are impacted, and some of the keys for corporate talent acquisition leaders to make the most of their technology investments.

    Additionally, Tim talked previewed his upcoming keynote at the Recruiting Trends and Talent Tech Conference, (November 28 - 30, 2017 in Palm Beach, Florida), how to balance the 'people' side of recruiting with the technology, as well as the one single area of Talent Acquisition Technology that Tim thinks more corporate leaders should be investing in today.

    Finally, we talked about innovation across the board in HR and Talent Tech, the role of technology in candidate experience, and Steve teased his NBA podcast, tentatively titled 'Bounding and Astounding'.

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

    This was a really fun show with a long time friend of the HR Happy Hour Show - thanks Tim for taking the time and we hope to see lots of HR Happy Hour listeners at the Recruiting Trends and Talent Tech Conference later this month.

    Reminder: HR Happy Hour listener survey here.

    Thanks to show sponsor Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com.

    And finally, subscribe to the HR Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, or wherever you get your podcasts.