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    Entries in HR Tech (223)

    Monday
    Aug172009

    Nowhere to hide from technology

    Two weeks ago while driving through the countryside of Central Pennsylvania, USA  I happened to pull off the highway for a dinner stop in a sort of run-of-the-mill little town, the kind of little town that anyone that drives the major interstate highways in the US has seen hundreds of times.

    A gas station, a couple of fast food restaurants, and a hint that if I carried on just a bit further down the access road maybe some small houses or trailers, and beyond that I'd bet farms and the sort of vast nothingness typical of large sections of middle America. 

    Definitely the kind of place to stop, refuel, maybe grab a bite to eat, and put in the rearview and instantly forget.

    When I walked in to the McDonald's for the mandatory road tip junk food dinner, I ran smack into this:

     

    The only way for job seekers to apply for a job in this little McDonalds in the middle of nowhere was via this online kiosk system. Now it could be that this particular McDonalds has the pulse of the local candidate pool, and is well aware that their target applicant is tech savvy, and will have no problems navigating the online process so moving to an online method is an intelligent strategy.

    Or more likely the regional or corporate office has decided that an online process is more efficient, less expensive, and results in more actionable intelligence for those in McDonalds management.

    But to the job seeker who walks into that McDonalds in hopes of landing a job, the motivations behind the decision to go to an automated process don't really matter.  They are forced to accept this, and either comply with the process if they want to be considered, or head on down the road to the Arby's and try their luck there. 

    And for (mostly) part-time jobs filled by teenagers and students this is probably perfectly acceptable. The staff on duty when I walked in did not have much to say about the online application kiosk, I am sure they thought is was strange that someone was even asking about it.

    To me the lesson that I take from the online job application kiosk for a tiny McDonalds in a tiny town in Nowhereville, USA is this one:

    You can't hide anymore from technology if you want to particpate in the modern economy.  This has many levels:

    The job seeker in this McDonalds had better know how to type on a keyboard, and follow basic computer commands.

    The college grad trying to break in to finance, marketing, IT, or HR had better have a solid LinkedIn profile, familiarity and skills searching for jobs online, and the ability to demonstrate technical acumen once they join the workforce.

    The HR professional trying to find ways to reduce costs and improve administrative processes better be very familiar with the capabilities of their HRIS (if they have one) or with the latest developments in the HR Technology marketplace (if they don't).

    The recruiter that needs to find, engage, and ultimately hire the best talent for their positions better know how to source, and engage potential candidates with increasingly sophisticated multi-media tools, better be on social networks and adept on how to best leverage them to meet their recruiting objectives.

    And the HR leader in the position of having to continually justify expenditure and prove return on HR programs had better have access to and understand analytical tools to effectively measure the business outcomes of their efforts.

    These are just a few examples, I am sure there are many more, but the key point is, no matter where you find yourself on the scale, from entry level job-seeker in rural Pennsylvania, to VP of HR at a Fortune 500 firm, you can't get away from the technology.

    Heck, even your Mom is on Facebook.

     

    Wednesday
    Aug052009

    HR Tech Chat - Integrated Talent Management

    The monthly HR Tech Twitter Chat is set for tonight, Wednesday August 5th at 9:00 PM EDT.

    A quick review of how these Twitter 'theme' chats work:

    At 9:00 Bryon Abramowitz of Knowledge Infusion or myself will officially start the chat with a quick welcome message. Folks who are participating are asked to Tweet out their name and role so that we can all get better acquainted. 

    An example would be 'Hi, I am Steve Boese, HR Technology Instructor at RIT in New York - #HR_Tech'

    We will then get the discussion going around this month's topic - Integrated Talent Management.

    Some questions that could be explored:

    1. What's driving organizations to pursue these projects?

    2. Are they succeeding?  Why or why not?

    3. What vendors and solutions seem to offer the most interesting and compelling solutions right now?

    4. Where is the market heading?

    5. What should HR practitioners be thinking about in the planning and execution of these projects?

    These are just a few ideas, in reality the conversation will go where the group takes it and that is most of the fun of the chats.

    Some Tips for Chat participants:

    • You participate by Tweeting with the hashtag '#HR_Tech' included in your update (usually at the end of the Tweet)
    • Follow the flow of the conversation by tracking all Tweets with '#HR_Tech' using one of the following
      • Tweetchat - http://tweetchat.com/room/HR_Tech, you will need to sign in using your Twitter credentials, but this gives a nice overlay to the chat and will automatically append the hashtag to your updates
      • Tweetgrid - www.tweetgrid.com. Allows you to not only monitor the chat, but also your 'normal' Twitter stream and/or other search terms.  Takes a few minutes to setup but it is pretty neat.
      • Tweetdeck - If you are already using Tweetdeck just set up a new search column for the #HR_Tech hashtag. 
      • Twubs - I have not used this site yet, but I have heard many folks say it is pretty nice for following a 'theme' chat in Twitter. http://twubs.com/hr_tech.

    These chats can be really interesting and informative, but honestly they would be greatly enhanced if we get some more 'non-Tech' HR folks interested and participating.  So if you are an HR pro and have some questions or comments about Talent Management technology, or quite honestly any HR Technology, it is a great opportunity to corner at least a dozen HR Technology professionals at one time.

     

    Hope to see your #HR_Tech Tweets tonight!

    Wednesday
    Jul082009

    What is the meaning of Hard Core HR Professional?

    That was the question posed by an anonymous reader who found his or her way to this blog after hitting 'search'.

    It is a pretty good question, and I don't think they found the answer here, at least not a complete answer.Flickr - valentin.d

    From my perspective as an HR Tech guy, 'Hard Core' HR would certainly involve staying current on the latest tech trends and developments, strongly advocating for and implementing new tools and technologies to streamline processes, improve talent management, and enhance organizational communication and collaboration.

    But most of all it would mean challenging the status quo, pushing the technology envelope in HR, and trying new things even if they make your 'traditional' HR colleagues uncomfortable. 

    Start an internal blog, claim your company's Yammer domain and get the HR staff signed up, post a 'Why its great to work here' video on YouTube, create a free Wiki for posting frequently asked HR questions, use Rypple to get feedback from staff on HR policies and programs.

    Maybe those are not really 'Hard Core' steps, but if your HR department is still relying on blast e-mails, a boring intranet, and the hidebound annual employee survey, then 'Hard Core' really is not needed yet.

    'Medium Core' will probably do for a start.

    What do you think?

    What is the meaning of Hard Core HR Professional?

    Tuesday
    Jul072009

    HR Tech Chat - HR and Collaboration

    This Wednesday, July 8 at 9:00 PM EDT Bryon Abramowitz and I will be hosting the third installment of the Twitter #HR_Tech chat. This time the theme is 'The Role of HR in Internal Collaboration Projects'.

    With the increased emphasis on internal collaboration using tools like wikis, blogs, microblogs, and internal social networks there is both a challenge and an opportunity for HR departments to take on a leadership role in organizing and leading these initiatives. We plan on discussing this and hopefully some good insights can be shared on how HR can truly be effective in these projects.

    But just what is #HR_Tech chat you ask?Flickr - Kamoda

    It is a Twitter 'themed' chat. Folks participate by sharing their thoughts, comments, and questions on the topic and append the hashtag #HR_Tech to all the Tweets. This makes the overall stream of conversation reasonably coherent, and allows the uses of tools like Tweetchat or Tweetgrid to assist in following the conversations. Amybeth Hale just posted an excellent overview of themed chats on her Research Goddess blog if you would like a better description of the idea.

    At any rate, I hope to see many HR and HR Tech folks in the chat on Wednesday and look forward to a great discussion.

    Monday
    May042009

    Two HR Technology Solutions - One Theme

    HR Technology has become a deep and richly varied discipline.  It encompasses so many diverse technologies and processes, that trying to keep 'current' is definitely a challenge.

    Last week was a busy one, and I thought it would be interesting to give a quick overview of two of the  technologies and solutions I was discussing and trying to learn more about.

    Collaborative Technology

    Neighborhood America - I had a great call and demonstration of the Community Platform ELAvate from Neighborhood America, a company based in Florida that provides solutions for both external, customer oriented communities, and internal, employer-oriented communities. The market for community platforms is a crowded one, with companies such as Jive, Telligent, Tomoye (my current vendor partner for my next class), and several others.

    The ELAvate solution offers all the features that are becoming 'must-haves' in this market, things like rich user profiles, discussion forums, blogs, content rating and tagging, and many others. Increasingly, organizations are looking to these platform solutions in their quest to improve employee collaboration and communication, and to harness internally some of the energy and momentum that has shifted to popular external networking sites. Where Neighborhood America stands out from their competitors in this space is with their new Reveal module, an idea generation, review, and rating component that allows customers or employees to propose, comment, and vote on ideas. These idea generators are very popular in the consumer space, (Dell and Starbucks are two notable examples), and can be an effective way to harness the creativity and innovation of an organization.

    I was very impressed with Neighborhood America, and want to thank Ron Duquette and Lori Burke for taking the time to show me the platform.

     

    Recruiting/ATS

    Avature - I was fortunate to get a demonstration of the Avature Recruiting CRM product from the nice folks there.  The Recruiting CRM product essentially applies classic customer relationship management concepts, (campaigns, sourcing, pipelines, and relationship building) to an organization's candidate population. This solution is a significant departure from traditional applicant tracking systems that are primarily used to create and post job requisitions, and collect specific applications for those positions.  Traditional ATS are often designed with the functional step by step process in the forefront, and not designed around the candidate and building and managing a relationship with said candidate.

    The features that I saw were very impressive, things like mining social networks like LinkedIn, easy import of contacts from various source systems, and multiple candidate communication channels including integrated SMS messaging.  It was immediately clear that the Avature Recruiting CRM can't really be compared to 'traditional' ATS, as the Avature solution mostly enhances and augments the functions of the ATS.  Certainly organizations that find themselves in highly complex, competitive, and high volume recruiting situations would likely be wise to take a look at Avature. Thanks very much to Mike Johnson at Avature for the demonstration and to Susan Byrnes for arranging the introduction.

    Theme

    While these technology solutions support completely different business processes (employee collaboration versus candidate relationship management), they do possess a common theme.  That is, fostering connections between people for the ultimate benefit of the organization. In the case of Neighborhood America, the platform aims to enhance creativity and innovation by facilitating employees connecting to each other.  For Avature, the goal is to connect prospects and candidates to the organization for mutual benefit. 

    Systems that facilitate connections and relationships, rather than simply automate transactional business processes are, I think, the most interesting developments in HR Technologies, and definitely one that I plan on researching further and incorporating into the HR Technology class.