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    Entries in HR Tech (216)


    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 270: There are no new HR predictions

    HR Happy Hour 270- There Are No New HR Predictions

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the show, Trish and Steve discuss why there are no new HR predictions.  Every year by January, there are a slew of articles, blog posts and social media discussions around HR predictions.  As usual, we're finding that none of the predictions are new.  They tend to be restated from previous years. This episode talks about that and what business leaders should be focused on instead.

    We also spent some time talking about what is coming up in 2017.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or by using the widget player below (email and RSS subscribers need to click through)

    This was a fun and informative show, we hope you like it! Thanks to show sponsor Virgin Pulse -learn more about them at www.virginpulse.com.

    Remember: Subscribe to the HR Happy Hour on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or your favorite podcast app - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to find and subscribe to the show.

    Thanks to everyone who listened in 2016 and Happy HR New Year!


    HRE Column: HR and AI - Five Things to Consider

    Here is 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 took a look at the emerging technology field of Artificial Intelligence, or AI, and review some of the considerations and implications for HR leaders who are evaluating, selecting, and implementing new HR technologies that are based around AI.

    One of the major challenges for the developers of AI solutions is that these technologies can be seen as impenetrable, abstruse, cryptic, and more alarmingly, unfair or unethical. We (mostly), implicitly 'trust' many smart technologies like Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix to make the best, most accurate predictions of what content we will like or what products we want to purchase, even if/when we don't really know how these algorithms actually work, how they are configured, and how any original or baseline biases or inaccuracies inform them.

    In this month's HR Executive column I take a look at five fundamental principles of AI for HR leaders to consider. These principles or guidelines provide a starting framework for HR to begin to form questions, challenge solution providers, and assure employees that any AI technologies they deploy will be deployed ethically. From the HRE piece:

    As 2016 has been winding down you've no doubt seen or will see various published or online pieces such as "HR Trends to Watch for 2017" or "Hot Technologies for HR Leaders in 2017." I thought (briefly) of making this last Inside HR Tech column of 2016 such a piece. But then I decided that, rather than contribute to the chorus of prognosticators predicting "mobile will be big in 2017," I would instead dig in a little more to one trend or "hot" technology that most analysts and industry observers are pointing to in 2017, namely "smart" HR technologies. Whether it's called artificial intelligence, machine learning or predictive technology, the development of more sophisticated HR technologies that can evaluate and mine large data sets, make recommendations based on past data and "learn" or adapt over time to become even better at providing HR and business leaders with people-related decision support presents HR leaders with both an opportunity and a challenge.

    Just as some earlier HR-technology advancements failed to produce the desired business outcomes because they simply automated or made a badly designed processes easier to replicate (think about the first time you automated your dreaded annual performance reviews or placed your too-long, candidate-unfriendly application process online), the application of "smart" technology (or artificial intelligence) for HR also presents the very real danger of perpetuating many undesirable characteristics and outcomes of current processes. For example, if a "smart" tool that is meant to help HR leaders predict future high performers based on an assessment of the traits of current high performers has, at its core, a fundamental bias in how managers have rated these current high performers, then the "smart" technology may continue to perpetuate this biased evaluation tendency.

    What are some the guidelines or principles that HR leaders (and solution providers) should consider when developing and deploying these technologies for making HR and talent decisions? I've found what I think is a good starting point developed by the Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency in Machine Learning organization that I want to share. It offers five core areas to consider and questions to ask of these "smart" solutions that HR leaders can use to guide their research, inquiry and assessment of these tools. Briefly, the five elements and some recommended and related questions to ask solution providers for each area are as follows:


    Above all, it is incumbent for HR leaders to ensure any artificial decision-support technologies are operating responsibly. Ask if there are visible and accessible processes for people to question or address adverse individual or organizational effects or impacts of an algorithmic decision system or design. And who will have the power to decide on necessary changes to the algorithmic system during the design stage, pre-launch and post-launch? Finally, can your solution provider make adjustments and changes that are determined to be necessary for the organization to address these kinds of concerns?

    Read the rest at HR Executive...

    Good stuff, right? Humor me...

    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 scrape the ice off your windshield, hang up your Christmas lights, or return your unwanted presents on December 26.

    Have a great day!


    PODCAST - HR Market Watch 3 - Can you correlate employee engagement to business results?

    NOTE: The HR Happy Hour Podcast Network is still going strong - wanted to share the latest episode of HR Market Watch with host George LaRocque that posted earlier this week. Enjoy!


    HR Market Watch 3 – Can You Correlate Employee Engagement To Business Results?

    Host: George LaRocque

    Guest: Chris Powell, CEO, Talmetrix

    Listen to the show HERE

    HR Market Watch puts a special lens on new and innovative HR technology from emerging and established technology companies. Join host George LaRocque, Principal Analyst and Founder of the #HRWINS. In this episode he is joined by CEO Chris Powell of Talmetrix, a tech firm helping employers discover the correlation between employee engagement, HR programs, and business results. George and Chris talk about some of the misconceptions around employee engagement, and how current market trends are helping companies of all sizes connect their HR data to business performance.

    Also, hear about some of the recent trends in talent acquisition and how small and medium sized businesses are driving big innovations in HR technology.

    You can listen to the show on the show page here, or using the widget player below, (email and RSS subscribers click through)

    You can subscribe to HR Market Watch, and all the HR Happy Hour Network Shows on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or your favorite podcast app - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe and never miss a show.


    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 269 - Health and Benefits Trends for 2017

    HR Happy Hour 269 - Health and Benefits Trends for 2017

    Hosts: Steve Boese, Trish McFarlane

    Guest: Jonathan Rende, Chief Research & Development Officer, Castlight Health

    Listen HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane are joined by Jonathan Rende, Chief Research & Development Officer at Castlight Health, a leading provider of benefits technology solutions to talk about important benefits issues, trends, and opportunities for 2017. With inevitable but hard to predict change facing HR and benefits leaders with the ACA regulations, the potential for different regulations emerging with a new administration, and the continuing need to provide effective, transparent, and engaging benefits programs - 2017 is shaping up to be a challenging year for HR and benefits leaders.

    Jonathan also shared his insights on the importance of guidance, i.e., technology and programs to help employees make better decisions about their benefits elections. New approaches, many of them borrowed from the consumer marketing and commerce space are being applied to employer benefits for the first time, and the results for employees are positive and exciting. Almost 3/4 of employees don't fully understand their benefits, and in 2017 HR and Benefits leaders are challenged to bridge this understanding gap for their workforces, and provider better decision support, content, and access to their benefits programs and offerings. 

    We also had an important Orlando Magic update, and Steve admitted to liking Benefits almost as much as he likes basketball.

    You can listen to the show here, or using the widget player below (Email and RSS subscribers need to click through)


    This was a fun and interesting show, thanks to Jonathan and the folks at Castlight Health.

    And thanks to our sponsor Virgin Pulse - learn more about them at www.virginpulse.com.

    Finally, remember to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or your favorite podcast app - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe and never miss a show.


    Learn a new word: The Feature Factory

    Quick shout-out to John Cutler writing at the Hackernoon site for this outstanding piece (and the source for today's 'Learn a new word' submission - The Feature Factory.

    What is a 'Feature Factory' in the context of a software development function?'

    From the piece on Hackernoon, '12 Signs You're Working in a Feature Factory' to get an idea -

    I’ve used the term Feature Factory at a couple conference talks over the past two years. I started using the term when a software developer friend complained that he was “just sitting in the factory, cranking out features, and sending them down the line.”

    How do you know if you’re working in a feature factory? (SMB Note: there are 12 signs in the post, I am just going to grab two of them here, but you really should read the entire piece)

    3. 'Success theater' around "shipping", with little discussion about impact. You can tell a great deal about an organizations by what it celebrates.

    7. Obsessing about prioritization. Mismatch between prioritization rigor (deciding what gets worked on) and validation rigor (deciding if it was, in fact, the right thing to work on). Prioritization rigor is designed exclusively to temper internal agendas so that people “feel confident”. Lots of work goes into determining which ideas to work on, leaving little leeway for adjustments and improvisation based on data. Roadmaps show a list of features, not areas of focus and/or outcomes 

    Really, really good stuff for project managers and development teams to think about.

    Why should this matter for readers of Steve's HR Tech?

    I can think of two reasons straight up.

    One, it is worthwhile to think about your current and potentially future providers of HR technology solutions in this context. Does your provider talk about their product roadmap for the next year or two in the same way you run down your holiday shopping or grocery list? Do they talk about the future as simply the container in which they will 'ship' more features and gadgets? Or do they discuss their plans and directions using your challenges and your desired outcomes as the context in which they are organizing and planning to deliver new solutions? I know I have written about this before, but it is worth repeating - almost any provider can build the capability you need if they think they have to. What is much more important for your long term success with a tech provider is if yours and their visions of the future are in alignment, and the methods, pace, and you feel confident in the manner in which you will both grow and evolve to be better prepared to succeed in that future. That is what is really important. Not just "shipping."

    And the other reason that this idea of the 'Feature factory' is important? Because in late 2016 it is pretty likely that all but the very smallest organizations have in-house IT and development teams themselves, and these teams are comprised of folks that both do not want to work in an environment that could be described as a feature factory, and at the same time have lots of career options that don't include your organization. As HR leaders, it is probably worthwhile from time to time to check in with some of your really important, hard to find, and harder to replace tech talent types and see how they really think and feel about the organization's development climate. If you are treating these talented and in-demand folks too much like cogs in the machine, chances are they won't want to stay in that machine for too long. They will see your shop as a skills and resume builder stepping stone to somewhere more interesting, more fun, and more challenging.

    Ok, that's it from me. Tip your servers.

    Have a great weekend!