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    Entries in HR Tech (228)


    HR Technology Presentation - BNHRA, April 25

    This coming Saturday, April 25, 2009 I have the great pleasure of presenting an overview of my HR Technology class to the Buffalo Niagara Human Resource Association's (BNHRA)  student chapter.

    This seminar will provide an overview of the fundamental technologies that support essential HR processes, review the increasingly important field of Talent Management technologies, and lastly discuss the emerging impact and influence of 'Web 2.0' technologies and platforms on HR Technology.

    In preparing for the presentation, I decided to give mind-mapping a try to get the rough outline of the presentation organized, and to see how the topics 'flowed'.  I used a site called MindMeister, and below is the MindMap I created for the April 25 session.  In the lower right corner of the image below, there is a small icon that can be clicked to see the full map. Or you can click anywhere inside the image, hold down the mouse button, and drag around on the MindMap to see the details.


    Anyone who takes a look at this, please feel free to let me know what you think about the outline.  Is it too much content? Not enough? Did I leave something out, or does a particular topic call for more emphasis?

    I really look forward to the presentation to the students, and thanks to the BNHRA for inviting me.


    Twitter, Ralph Nader, and the other 97%

    I plead guilty to the charge of contributing to the hype, buzz, hyperbole, or whatever term you care to use surrounding the astronomical growth of Twitter.

    I have spent way more hours than I care to calculate tweeting and reading tweets.

    I have written probably 10 or so blog posts about Twitter, (and for a little blog like this one that is quite a bit).

    Twitter has been a great resource for me, (and quite fun at times I admit).  But I feel the need to point out a couple of things about Twitter that I think are relevant and important.

    Yesterday the internet monitoring firm ComScore released a report on Twitter usage that indicated approximately 4 million folks in the United States accessed Twitter in February 2009, which was a 1,000 percent increase from a year ago.

    Wow, incredible. 

    Did you also know that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates non-farm US employment to be about 137 million?

    For the math challenged, that amounts to less than 3% of the people employed in the US visited Twitter in February.  (Actually the real percentage has to be lower, there is no way all of the 4 million Twitter visitors are all employed, but the precise percentages are not the important thing).

    You know how much 3% is?Photo - Mike Licht

    That's about how much of the popular vote that (kook) Ralph Nader received in the 2000 US Presidential Election.

    3% is an incredibly small percentage, but just about the perfect size for an effective echo chamber.

    For the HR professional and the HR Technologist, this is an essential statistic  that bears attention.  The vast majority of experienced, capable, and effective HR practitioners are not on Twitter, don't care how many followers you have, are not versed in the art of crafting Tweets to increase the likelihood of the 'retweet', and don't know who Scoble or Brogan or Kawasaki are.

    That does not make them less intelligent or valuable to the organization.

    Sure 4 million people are on Twitter.  But HUNDREDS of millions are not (at least yet).

    And they run HR departments, own small and medium size businesses, and makeup the VAST majority of the working population.

    Look, I said before that I think Twitter is an awesome and powerful platform, but it is not the end-all, be-all that is going to solve HR's pressing issues.  It is what it is.

    And right now it is about 3%.


    (Now hurry up Twitterfeed, and pick this up so it gets to Twitter so that someone will actually read this)



    HR Technology, Amtrak, and Priorities 

    Last week Amtrak announced it would spend $9.4 Million on HR Technology, specifically for what it is calling 'Employee Information Management'. Notably, the $9.4 Million is significantly more that will be spent on 'Customer facing' type initiatives like CRM and an improvements to the passenger information systems.

    Full details on the Amtrak projects can be found here.

    Of note in the article is how Amtrak feels its HR Technology is 7 to 10 years behind other similarly sized organizations, and that significant cost savings can be realized by the introduction of automated processes and the use of Employee and Manager Self-Service. A key component of the project is the E-learning portal to help define and deliver needed development content to the employee.

    It does beg the question of how did Amtrak allow the critical HR Information Systems to get so out of date and how can such a large organization still be so reliant on manual and paper-based HR processes to such an extent.

    I don't claim to know the inner workings of the Amtrak IT strategy, but since they are earmarking $9.4 Million for HR Technology, and only about $6 Million on the CRM and passenger systems combined, it does seem apparent that the HR systems have been neglected and underfunded.

    So it is good and refreshing to see such a significant investment on HR Tech, the key systems to help employees manage their infromation, learning and development, view competency information, and hopefully become more engaged and productive in their careers.

    Maybe Amtrak is finally seeing that a great CRM and a fantastic passenger information portal are not the only critical systems in an organization.  Because truly, it is the employees that have to serve the passengers, deliver excellent service, and make the crucial decisions to execute the strategy.

    And employees can't do any of those things at their best if they are busy filling out HR forms, waiting days for HR information, and chasing down data that should be readily available.

    So Cheers to Amtrak for making a commitment and investment in HR Technology and in their employees.



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