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    Entries in HR Tech (265)


    Shameless Promotion Warning: Catch the HR Happy Hour Show Tomorrow Night

    Over the last year or so I have tended to shy away from posting that often on the blog here about my other little project, The HR Happy Hour Show (Thursday nights at 8PM ET), but this week's special guest, and the topic are so important to me that I feel that no amount of shameless promotion will be, well, too shameless.

    For this week on the big show, HR Technology Conference Co-chair, columnist for Human Resources Executive magazine, and leader of the best LinkedIn discussion group for HR and HR Technology professionals, and occasionally referred to as the most interesting man in the world, Bill Kutik will return for his annual appearance on the HR Happy Hour Show.

    You can listen to the show tomorrow night at 8PM ET/5PM PT on the show page here - on the listener call-in line of 646-378-0186, or using the widget player below:

    Listen to internet radio with Steve Boese on Blog Talk Radio


    You can also follow the conversation backchannel on Twitter using the hashtag - #HRHappyHour

    We will be talking about the upcoming 14th Annual HR Technology Conference set for October 3-5, 2011 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. This is a can't miss event for HR leaders, professionals, and the HR Technology community.  So we will preview the event and make sure you understand what you need to know if you are planning your trip to Las Vegas, or if you have not made the move and booked your place, we'll make sure you have the info you need to make the right decision.

    We'll also get to touch on into some other topics, like the state of the HR Technology market, the ways social networking has changed our industry, and even the best ways to get yourself in a little trouble while in Las Vegas.

    Tune in to the show tomorrow, Thursday August 18 at 8PM ET to get the lowdown from the man himself, Mr. Bill Kutik.



    Small Business HR Technology - What's Changed in Two Years?

    I got a super question in the email yesterday from a reader asking if I had any advice or recommendations for the best, or at least most interesting HR Technology solutions for the small business.

    It is a great topic for sure, and as I was trying to craft some kind of thoughtful response, I turned to the wise wizard of Google to help spur a few ideas by typing 'small business HR Technology' into the 'please tell me what I need to know box' and hoped for some inspiration.Jasper Johns #6 - nothing to do with HR Technology, I just like it

    Of course there were a few sponsored results on the top of the search results, but much to my shock and surpise, the 3rd organic result was a post I had written about Small Business HRIS system over two years ago - 'HR Technology for the Small Business - Core HRIS'.  While it was neat to see one of my posts show up pretty high on page one of the results, it also made me think that two-plus years is an eternity in the technology space, particularly for solutions that are targeted at smaller organizations and even sole entrepreneurs. I took a quick look at the post from 2009, and besides thinking, (this is boring), that it likely is really out-of-date, and thin on depth for other solutions and resources besides Core HRIS that can potentially assist small businesses with HR and recruiting challenges.

    So what has changed in the last two years?  What should the small business, I am thinking under 100 or 150 employee type firms mainly, be thinking about in terms of solutions and resources to meet their HR and Recuiting challenges?  Of course the effects of mobile and social have both grown tremendously in the last two years, but what else? 

    Rather than do what I (lamely) attempted two years ago, and list out 5 or 6 HR Technology solutions that I recommend for the small business, I want to put the challenge out to the readers and to the solution providers to tell me what solutions should be on the small business owner's radar screen. 

    If you are an HR or Recruiting pro in a small business, what tools and technologies have you used that are helping you solve your business challenges?  Please share the names/links in the comments.

    And if you are a small business HR Technology solutions provider - please feel free to describe and pitch your solution in the comments - you never know, in a few days this post might start showing up on the first page of Google search results for 'small business HR Technology', and it might not be a bad thing to have your name and link in the comments.

    So what do you have to recommend?

    Come at me, Bro


    Relax, your 401(k) bounced back - time to make plans for Las Vegas in October

    This post was more or less completed over this past weekend, and I fully intended it to run yesterday. But after the bloodbath across global equity markets on Monday, it seemed a bit ridiculous to run a piece on Tuesday morning with a pitch to attend not one, but two events in Las Vegas this October. Sure, they are both fantastic, can't miss type events, and yes, I can offer you a really attractive discount to attend one or both of these events, but let's be honest - was anyone on Tuesday going to think seriously about approaching the boss for some travel budget, or consider a little additional personal investment in their professional development on such a disastrous financial day?

    But then, perhaps shockingly, the markets rebounded yesterday, and while certainly the uncertainty surrounding US and global economic conditions are likely to persist for the time being, the sting of Monday's sell off has been assuaged at least somewhat, and I figured I'd better make my case quickly this morning, since who knows what might happen when the bell rings a couple of hours from now.

    So here are the facts, and once I lay them out it will be clear what the only logical conclusion will be for you, the Human Resources or HR Technology professional at which to arrive:

    1. The 14th Annual HR Technology Conference is set for October 3-5, 2011 and will be held in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Resort. This event continues to be the pre-eminent event in the world of HR Technology, and in fact, rivals (and likely surpasses), any mainstream Human Resources conference for its sheer number and depth of exceedingly outstanding sessions, the scope and breadth of the solution providers that exhibit in the Expo hall, and the opportunity to rub elbows, break bread, and engage with the sharpest and savviest thinkers in the world of Human Capital Management.  

    2. If you skip this event, you will lament your decision for the remainder of 2011, and will almost certainly begin scheming planning to attend in 2012. Why put yourself through a year of regret?

    3. At no other event can you attend presentations from executives from the most important, innnovative, and exciting technology providers in the space, see case studies from innovative organizations like Facebook and Groupon, and even get the opportunity to hear from me, your dedicated servant not once, but twice during the course of the event, as I have the privilege to co-present a session with the HR Ringleader, Trish McFarlane, as well as participate on a HR and Social Media panel moderated by the HR Capitalist, Kris Dunn.

    4. If you move fast, (or really before September 19th), you can use the discount code STEVE11, (all caps), to receive a $500 discount off the published registration price. Again, the conference information and registration details can be found here. And you should really take advantage of this opportunity. Truly.

    But wait!  There's more!

    If you act now you can double your learning experience in Las Vegas this October!

    Here's how:

    The 4th HRevolution conference for Human Resources and talent professionals will be held on October 2, 2011, one day before the HR Technology Conference kicks off. HRevolution has partnered with the HR Technology Conference to present the latest in what has become well known in the HR community as a challenging, engaging, informal, and boundary stretching program of facilitated conversations that is sure to enhance and support your HR Technology experience. With sessions from leaders from Zappos and Glassdoor, as well as some of the leading voices in HR and social media today, the HRevolution - Las Vegas is the perfect way to get your HR Technology Conference experience started. And thanks to the partnership with HR Tech, all attendees of HRevolution will receive a special, top-secret discount code (even better than STEVE11), that will give you the best value for HR Technology that you can find.

    So here is what I really think you ought to do:

    1. Register for the HRevolution event on October 2nd. You can get your tickets here.

    2. Then take your HRevolution discount code and register for the HR Technology Conference here.

    3. Book your room at Mandalay Bay or at any one of the dozen nearby Vegas hotels offering rooms at half the price.

    4. Get ready for the best learning and networking experience you will ever have.

    Take my word for it, or better yet, ask anyone that has attended HR Technology or HRevolution, you won't regret it! 


    Workday 12 - Working for you

    If you have any interest at all in Human Capital Management software then by now you are familiar with Workday, a provider of Enterprise Resource Planning solutions to mid-size and large organizations.  Founded in 2005, by industry legend and pioneer Dave Duffield, and former PeopleSoft Vice Chairman Aneel Bhusri, Workday has experienced early success and remarkable growth, leveraging the Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery model to push innovation and new capability to market and in the hands of its customer base faster than it’s traditional on-premise deployed competitors (SAP and Oracle/PeopleSoft) can match.

    I don’t need to repeat the Workday story again here, but the general narrative is this: by building a modern, next generation ERP/HCM solution from scratch, taking advantage of SaaS deployment to rapidly iterate and deploy new features and capabilities, and lastly (but perhaps most importantly), by giving mid-size and large global customers a real choice outside of the ERP trinity of SAP, Oracle E-Business Suite, or Oracle PeopleSoft), Workday has become the most interesting company in enterprise technology in the last 5 years.

    Recently Workday released the latest version of the suite, Workday 12.  The team at Workday was nice enough to give me a briefing and demonstration of a few of the new features in this latest release.  And there are lots of new features in the HCM and Talent Management areas.  But during the demonstration one new feature in particular, called ‘Faceted Search’, stood out for me, and I think provides some insight on what has been one of the traditional failures of big, enterprisey technology solutions, and perhaps gives us a glimpse at what a better and more flexible enterprise solution landscape might look like.

    With Faceted Search, Workday provides the ability for line managers, project managers, HR leaders, talent planners - pretty much anyone with the responsibility for finding, assessing, and deploying the ‘right’ people to the ‘right’ roles, projects, and assignments; to flexibly and with a high degree of personalization locate, tag, and take relevant actions on a group of resources. These groups can be created on the fly, in real-time, and shared as needed and desired across the organization.

    One use case might be for an HR Talent Planner to run an advanced search for all Director level employees that are high performers, but have compensation below the average for their peer group.  

    Screen 1 - Search results with corresponding user-defined tag

    The talent planner can immediately create a custom ‘tag’ or grouping of the selected employees, e.g., ‘Retention Risk - Directors’, and from there with one-click a number of actions can be launched for the new talent pool’  - start a development plan, initiate a one-time bonus, or add to a project resource list, etc.  

    Screen 2 - Launching a targeted action on behalf of newly defined Talent Pool

    This is cool and noteworthy not just because of the slick user interface and the powerful functionality, but because it allows the talent planner to make the system adapt to the way he/she needs it to work, and not the other way around. Identifying the target population, creating the search, modifying the search results, augmenting the results with descriptive meta-data (the tag), and finally taking specific and targeted actions based on this brand new construct (the Retention Risk - Directors group), supports the talent professional in their needs and the needs of most organizations to better understand their talent, to deploy that talent faster and more efficiently, and to adapt to changing conditions and requirements.

    Look, I am not so naive to know that for many organizations the exceedingly hard work of performance management, compensation planning, and talent assessment would all (or mostly) need to be in place before they could fully leverage this kind of powerful capability to turn the information into action.  But, I do think that by allowing more user control of the experience, the definitional data, and with the ability to rapidly and broadly share and socialize these user-created constructs, that organizations will have more opportunity to take advantage of these kinds of advanced and powerful capabilities.

    There are numerous reasons why (for most users) traditional enterprise systems suck.  Having to change the way you want to work to adapt to an inflexible, rigid process and structure is certainly chief among said reasons. Rigiditiy and repeatability is great when the process is paying bills or calculating quarterly taxes; it isn’t so great when the question to be answered is how to find, deploy, and reward the ‘right’ people to the ‘right’ place at the ‘right’ time.  The answer to that question changes every day, and tools like Workday’s Faceted Search are a step towards providing solutions that can help talent professionals come up with the right answers.

    Thanks very much to Leighanne Levensaler and the team at Workday for the briefing last week.



    Deliver the Wow

    Cleaning up my trusty travel backpack from the last several weeks of traveling to events like HR Florida, HR Technology, and this week HR Southwest, and I found a small slip of paper in one of the pockets that said simply, 'Deliver the Wow'.flickr - wiedmaier

    The phrase sounded familiar, but I could not remember why I jotted it down.  I dug into one of my vendor-branded notebooks from one of these trips (my favorite swag),  and discovered the source of the 'Wow' quote.  

    At the HR Technology Conference during one of the vendor 'shootout' sessions, (where vendors are asked to demonstrate live their solutions to several common and important talent management processes), one of the vendors, (I honestly can't remember which one), was running through the steps and functionality around performance management and appraisal processes.

    The demonstration highlighted the application's ability to assign and rank the importance of key competencies to a given role, and allowed the manager to evaluate the employee on their degree of demonstrated mastery of the identified competencies.  It was solid, if not spectacular functionality, pretty much all the performance management solutions provide that kind of capability today. 

    But what caught my attention was that in the demonstration of manager assessment of employee competencies for a role in a Customer Service position, one of the specific competencies that was being rated was called 'Deliver the Wow'.

    Tucked neatly right alongside some standard competencies like 'Demonstrates Integrity' and 'Customer Focus' was this sort of out of place seeming competency called 'Deliver the Wow'.  It seemed to me that it really did fit though.  So many of the traditional competencies that get assigned in performance management processes are really hard to measure and assess effectively and objectively.

    How exactly do you rate someone on 'Ethical Behavior?' By noting the employee did not steal out of the till 98% percent of the time?.  By taking careful inventory of the supply cabinet to make sure no one nicked a ream of paper for their kids middle school book reports? I guess we just assume most people are behaving ethically if we don't catch them not behaving ethically and leave it at that.  But when performance management processes force the manager to give a numerical or some other ranking on an 'Ethics' competency, then what really justifies a 3 or 4?  It is kind of an all-or-nothing thing I think, and then it becomes sort of irrelevant.

    But something like 'Deliver the Wow', that has some potential. The successful demonstration of delivering 'Wow' moments, whether to external or internal customers seems easier to assess, and likely a better mark of differentiation across employees in a given role. How does the manager know which employees are really successful in 'Wow' delivery? 

    Well, they probably already know. There probably is a paper trail of 'Wow' moments. Unsolicited email testimonials from enthused customers, internal or external (LinkedIn?) recommendations from colleagues and partners, or even special recognition at holiday time from vendors (warning, do not use for folks in Purchasing). It is not so easy to 'know' about focus, ethics, and other more nebulous concepts.

    In fact, Delivering the Wow is probably a competency, if you are a believer in identifying and assessing these kinds of things at appraisal time, that should be on everyone's performance plan. 

    The HR Technology Conference vendor shootouts are really all about the solution, and this particular solution, like all of them, was tight, capable, and effectively demonstrated the required functionality. But to me, the most interesting aspect of the demonstrations was 'Deliver the Wow', and it to my recollection was not mentioned by the presenter or anyone in the audience. 

    The technology on display was fantastic, awesome even.  But 'Delivering the Wow' is more awesome. 

    Any solution you buy for Performance Management these days will let you evaluate any competency you like, but not all of them will make it easier for you to Deliver the Wow.

    That is if you are trying to measure for Wow in the first place.