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    Entries in HR Tech (257)


    PREVIEW: My spot today at #SHRM13 on Systems of Engagement

    Shameless self-promotion alert...

    Today I will be presenting at the SHRM Annual Conference a new talk called From Transactions to Engagement: Harnessing Social Tools to Transform HR at 4:00PM CT in Room N228 (for folks who are reading this and might be at the Conference.

    And for both the people that might be at the event and come to the session, as well as anyone else interested in this kind of thing, I have posted the slides I will be using today here:


    Also the references, notes, and links for the slides are summarized in a document and posted here.


    The shift from HR technologies that are primarily developed to support process automation, accurate record-keeping, and to assist organizations remain in compliance to one where the majority of HR and workplace tools are centered around people, their connection to each other, and to the organization, and to create and innovate while in process, is certainly in its early stages. But it is a process and journey than many progressive organizations are taking and that is supported by a wide and growing range of amazing technologies.

    But I think this presentation is less about the specific technologies themselves, (although I will talk about quite a few of them and share some examples), and more about the changing expectations, challenges, and opportunities that social, collaborative, and mobile technologies are presenting to HR leaders today. Changing the focus and mindset of what workplace, HR, and talent management technologies have been traditionally used for, and unlocking the promise of what the new social and engagement-focuses tools are offering is what I want to emphasize today.

    So hopefully if you are at SHRM today, you will consider dropping in to the session. 

    And as a bonus - I have a bunch of HR Happy Hour T-shirts to give away to folks in the audience.

    See you at the session (hopefully some of you!)


    Software is Eating Human Resources

    It is pretty apt timing that this piece, 'Software Is Eating Marketing', was posted on the Inc. blog just one day after the conclusion of the HR Technology Conference, the three-day annual gathering of HR Technology solution providers, HR leaders and practitioners, and the collection of press, analysts, investors interested in the space. You'll like it

    As myself and others have more frequently posited, (here on this blog most recently just about a week ago), the function, practice, and skills needed in Human Resources in the future will look, feel, and act more like traditional marketing ones, and less like traditional HR.

    And, as the recently concluded HR Technology Conference continues to reinforce, the future of HR will be powerfully influenced and in some ways driven by technology - not just the traditional kinds of HR Technology that are necessary and routine, but by a continually evolving and advancing set of new technological innovations that promise to ensure that the most savvy HR professionals of tomorrow will have as a key competency a familiarity, comfort, and deep understanding of technology.

    The Inc. piece, about the influence of technology and software on marketing, could have just as easily be written about technology and Human Resources. Take a look at a few paragraphs from the 'Software is Eating Marketing' piece, with 'Human Resources' substituted for 'Marketing' as in the original piece, and tell me it doesn't read just as tellingly:

    Within the $1 trillion Human Resources industry, the impact of software eating Human Resources has now reached the board room.  With the explosion of digital Human Resources, it is clear that technology is radically transforming the Human Resources function and the role of the Human Resources professional. 

    The repercussions of social, mobile, video, Big Data, CRM, cloud and other disruptive forces are impacting all aspects of business, but particularly Human Resources. As a result, Human Resources leaders and agencies now carry the burden of understanding technology’s impact on their business, the entire customer experience, and leading innovation within their enterprises, not simply following a course set by their IT department. 

    In much the way Apple disrupted the music and phone industries with smart industrial design and clever software that shielded users from complexity, technologists are building sophisticated systems with interfaces that are as simple for Human Resources and designers to manipulate as their iPhones. 

    If you think the last few years were disruptive, imagine how much the Human Resources industry will be transformed in the next three years!

    Even with the sort of excessive repetition, those sentiments from the original piece about the growing role and increasing importance of technology on marketing make just as much sense and reflect one of the most significant industry trends for Human Resources as well.

    It's a simple logical progression really. If HR = The New Marketing, and Marketing is being consumed by technology, then one could plausibly argue technology is eating Human Resources.

    And just as the smart marketing professional knows that he or she needs to embrace these changes, so to does the smart HR and Talent pro.

    But you already know that right, I mean you're reading this, which I'd gather indicates you are one of the small, (but growing), ranks of HR pros that get the fundamental changes and incredible opportunities that a real understanding and appreciation of technology and software present to both your organization, and to your professional development.

    It is a great time to be in the HR Tech space, I think.


    Native Languages: An HR Technology Conference Review

    This week the 15th Annual HR Technology Conference was held in the great city of Chicago, and once again the event brought together, in a way and at a scale that is unrivalled in the industry, the diverse and ever-widening community of HR leaders, practitioners, solution providers, analysts, press, bloggers, and everyone-that-doesn't-fall-into-one-of-those-categories types that have an interest in the role of technology in the workplace.

    And as has been pointed out again and again, no matter what kind of work you do, whether you're an information worker in a massive global firm, someone on the retail front lines, a small business owner that needs to know how to get the most out of your team, or even a solo artist looking for your next gig - technology plays a role in how you find work, (and often, how work finds you), how you find people to help you, how your work gets seen and judged, and perhaps, hopefully, can help you to do your work even better than you imagined possible.

    That last part, technology that helps people to do their best work is the ultimate goal, I think, and one that is shared by both solution providers and practitioners alike. And not all successful HR Technology products and projects have to be flashy and exciting and cutting-edge, (although those are the ones we like to talk about the most). No, sometimes technology that simply takes a mundane but essential workplace process and makes it more efficient, or that automates what used to be manual and dreary, or one that simply gets out of your way to let you concentrate more fully on your real work, and less on the other 'stuff' that stubbornly tries to distract you - these too are important, necessary, and in many ways often more impactful than the latest new social-mobile-local-big datafied thingy you just saw at the show.

    And at the Conference, we get to see, hear from, play with, and talk to the folks from all manner of solution providers - ones that are chasing the newest and latest; ones that are dependably playing in the middle but still really important ground since most employees have a pesky desire to get paid correctly and on time and have their benefits coverage be current and accurate; and many that are doing some of both - continuing to innovate and grow from a reliable base, and providing customers the opportunity to move at their own pace.

    As has been said often and correctly by many others, (examples, here, here, and here), the HR Technology Conference is the one place where the entire industry comes together for three, (four if you count HRevolution, which I do), days to learn, share, connect, brag, and ultimately, to also try and accomplish one of the goals of the technology products themselves - to do their jobs better, no matter what role they play. And the best thing about the Conference, since it draws solution providers from every segment of the market, is that both the HR Director from the 200 person company and the Executive Vice President of Human Resources from a 50,000 employee multi-national can both find a myriad of technologies suitable for their circumstances to review, colleagues from peer companies to compare notes with, while both taking advantage of access to the leading independent analysts and thinkers in the industry.

    From my perspective, the event was fantastic, and I was especially glad with the HRevolution-style session that I co-presented with Trish McFarlane on Wednesday for two reasons - one; the session was so well-attended since it was near the end of the program, and two; showed the real potential and power of the community of people that were gathered. At one point in the conversation an attendee offered an idea for a cool new social capability she would love to see offered in her current solution, other attendees added to her ideas and gave some clarity, and by the end of the discussion, some 'product' types were taking notes and brainstorming about how to build that capability in their tools. It would not surprise me at all to see someone announcing this feature in their product at the Conference next year.

    I will end by repeating what I think was the most succinct statement and message that I heard over the course of the event that reminds and reinforces the value and importance of what the show is all about, an observation made by Steve Miranda, SVP of Applications Development at Oracle. Steve said,

    'Technology might now be a second language to us, (the attendees of the Conference), but it is a native language to the next generation of the workforce.'

    And that simple observation points us forward, not only to thinking about how we can take the things we learned this week back our organizations, but also how we will have to prepare for the future of our workplaces, ones that will rapidly transform into ones where the halls, real or virtual, will be almost completely filled by native speakers of technology.

    These natives will not remember a world before smartphones, tablets, on-demand apps, access to their information as and when and on what device they choose, and the ability to share seamlessly, connect constantly, and do it all without pausing for training or even reading the instructions. They will expect their workplace tools to speak their native language.

    While we all will want to get there, the starting points and paths will be different for all organizations.

    But one thing is for certain, you will know how to start and with whom you should travel on the journey from your connections and learnings from the HR Technology Conference community.

    It was a great show once again - kudos and thanks to Bill Kutik, David Shadovitz, and everyone at LRP - the work they do each year to deliver this event is monumental and appreciated.


    #HRTechConf (un)session Preview - Social Tools in the Organization

    Today at 9:00AM Central time at the HR Technology Conference, I will be co-presenting along with Trish McFarlane a session titled: #HRevolution : How Social Tools Can Empower a Global Organization.

    The session, about how organizations are leveraging both public-facing social networks and platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, as well as behind-the-firewall tools like Yammer and Sharepoint, in HR, Recruiting, and Talent Management processes; will be conducted in classic HRevolution 'unconference' style - as a facilitated discussion among and by peers and colleagues in the industry, with the goal to open the lines of communication and share lessons learned, challenges, and goals with each other.

    The HRevolution style of facilitating presents some risks of course - if attendees are shy or reluctant to share openly with the group, then the session presenters are under the gun to some extent, and there's nothing worse than a interactive session with no interacting.

    So attendees of our session tomorrow are expected to play an active part - sharing their knowledge, discussing their approaches in bringing social technology to their workplaces, and even challenging some of the widely held and often repeated assumptions about social technology and its role in the workplace. 

    In addition to the conversations that will happen in the room at HR Tech, we also encourage anyone following the #HRTechConf hashtag on Twitter to engage with us as well.  The hashtag for the session is #UNSESSION and the basic questions we will raise in the room will be tweeted out on my user name @SteveBoese as follows:

    Q1 - What social recruiting success stories can you share? #unsession #HRTechConf

    Q2 – What collaboration tools are you using and getting positive results from? #unsession #HRTechConf

    Q3 – How can social  technology encourage recognition in the workplace? #unsession #HRTechConf

    Q4 – How can social tools help drive innovation in the organization? #unsession #HRTechConf

    Q5 – How can social tools fix, improve, or blow up existing processes? #unsession #HRTechConf

    We will be checking the backchannel throughout the session for questions, answers, comments and for general feedback from the Twitterverse.

    Trish and I are really looking forward to the session, and if you are at the HR Technology Conference we hope to see you there, and if not, we hope you will join in the #UNSESSION discussion on the backchannel.


    #NEXTCHAT: Is HR Tech Really Making Our Jobs Easier?

    Note: Today at 3:00PM ET, I will participate in SHRM's We Know Next #Nextchat, a Twitter conversation that SHRM has created to continue to explore important issues in the workplace. Below is the 'preview' post I wrote for today's #Nextchat.

    There is no doubt that HR Technology plays an increasingly important role inside our organizations today. Whether simple, in-house developed tools for tracking employees in a very small organization, more complex and comprehensive ‘enterprise grade’ systems in use by most large organizations, or any of the myriad of newer HR technology solutions that are deployed via the web, in a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model - the influence and importance of workplace technology continues to grow.

    But making sense of this fast-moving and changing market can be tough for the HR pro that has about a thousand other worries on their plate, and it can be easy, tempting, and expedient to only think about technology solutions as a kind of band-aid, or worse, as a necessary evil, deployed only to ensure essential processes like Payroll and Time Tracking get carried out correctly. And while today’s savvy HR professional knows there are a growing number of areas where new -- and existing -- solutions offer them, and the organization, fantastic opportunities to increase efficiency, gain better insights on their talent, and help leaders, managers, and employees make better decisions, it still can seem like a long climb -- and possibly an insurmountable one -- to get where they really want to be.

    For several years, I taught in an HR Master’s degree program conducting a kind of seminar, or overview, of HR Technology, a pretty wide and deep subject, that’s getting more complex with each passing year. While we don’t have a 13-week semester together to talk and learn from each other about the state of HR Technology, we will try to hit some of the more important questions, ideas, and concepts in the HR Technology space today.

    I’d like to see that the chat not be about specific solutions, really. Simply shouting out one product name or solution provider that you like or use, while it might make sense for you, often makes no sense at all, or doesn’t fit well in another organization. Rather, I think it will be more useful and beneficial to talk about the reasons behind why certain decisions were taken and certain projects were pursued, and to share more universal tips around getting a great return on your investment and supporting and promoting user adoption. That way we can focus on what matters more to HR professionals, and how to better think about, understand, and hopefully utilize HR Technology solutions in our organizations.

    I am looking forward to the chat on August 15, and I hope you will be able to join in!


    Please join @weknownext on August 15 at 3 p.m. ET for #Nextchat with Steve Boese (@SteveBoese). We’ll be chatting about HR Technology and will want to know your thoughts on the following questions:

    Q1. What is ‘HR Technology’ anyway? What does HR technology encompass, and how is that changing?

    Q2. What are some of the key considerations when making an investment in HR technology?

    Q3. What are some ways HR can realize the expected benefits of technology investments?

    Q4. How can the HR professional become better educated on the current HR technology market?

    Q5. What are some of the leading-edge developments in workplace technology that the HR professional should understand?

    Q6. What single HR or recruiting technology has made the largest positive impact in your organization?